Hoverboards, otherwise known as self-balancing scooters, use the rider’s own momentum and bodyweight to offer control to the onboard motor. Some riders, however, would prefer a remote-controlled motor or motor driver, such as a brushless DC motor (BLDC), to juice their hoverboards. These motors have become popular in recent years, as they allow for remote control via a Raspberry Pi-enabled controller.

Why Swap Out the Hoverboard’s Motor Driver?

The most popular hoverboards use the body’s balancing mechanism in order to allow for precise control. Some users, however, prefer the option of remote control via a third-party and the motor’s built-in commutator. Here are some reasons why this would be done.

Benefits of Swapping out a Hoverboard’s Motor Drive

Remote Control

The biggest reason why users would be looking to control the hoverboard motor with a motor driver is the option for remote control. Once the hoverboard motor driver, and in some cases the motor itself, has been swapped out to a model that eschews the self-balancing mechanism in favor of a standard DC circuit, it can be wirelessly connected to any number of third-party remote control devices. This means you can stand on a hoverboard and control it via one of these remote controls or, in some cases, a smartphone app.

Hoverboard Robots

Another benefit to changing up the motor and/or motor driver is the ability to create hoverboard robots. Modern motors and motor drivers can be connected to a wide range of third-party devices, including many popular Raspberry Pi single-board computers. With a bit of programming know-how, you could actually make a robotic hoverboard that follows predetermined paths. These robot hoverboards can also be programmed to avoid common obstacles. Beware, this requires a fair amount of knowledge before you take the plunge.

Speed Hacks

Some people have a need for speed. Swapping out a hoverboard’s motor or driver can allow riders to bypass the product’s built-in safety systems. The end result? A much higher top speed, as many hoverboard motors are dampened by firmware so that the board can qualify for UL safety certifications. As a word of caution, we do not recommend hacking a hoverboard’s motor to achieve a higher top speed, as this will certainly void the warranty and could lead to dangerous accidents.

How to Change a Hoverboard’s Motor Driver

Hoverboards come in many different shapes and sizes, each with its own maintenance requirements. In other words, there isn’t one catch-all process to inform DIY enthusiasts how to switch out the motor or motor drive. If you are looking to go with a sensorless BLDC motor, however, there are some steps you can take to make the installation procedure go as smoothly as possible. Make sure you brush up on how to take apart your hoverboard’s wheels before you get started.

Difficulty: Varies

Time Required: Varies

Total Steps: 3, though can vary

Tools Needed: Screwdriver, soldering iron, and related tools

1 – Do Your Research

Preparing a hoverboard for a motor swap can be a time-intensive process, due to the sheer amount of research involved. Take your time to find the right DC brushed or brushless motor that will integrate nicely with your make and model of your hoverboard. As a tip, there are many online stores throughout the Internet that stock these kinds of motors and drivers.

2 – Find a Good Guide

If you are new to the world of DIY hoverboard hacking, you are going to want to find a good guide to follow along with as you complete the installation procedure. Make sure the guide is specific to both your hoverboard and the third-party DC motor you have purchased. This guide should cover the installation procedure itself, and also offer tips and tricks regarding third-party control options.

3 – Make Use of the New Motor

Once you have successfully transferred out the sensor-based motor with your brand-new sensorless model, it is time to decide what to do with it. You can purchase a third-party remote controller, or a Raspberry Pi circuit, each with its unique uses. Be sure to check your hoverboard motor controller for compatibility with the available firmware connected to your remote controller, Raspberry Pi motherboard, or related third-party accessories.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverboard

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaCukBg4Hj8

https://hackaday.io/project/158256/logs?sort=oldest

https://docs.odriverobotics.com/hoverboard

https://www.raspberrypi.org/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311916.2018.1524537

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q2295505

Controlling a Hoverboard Motor With a Motor Driver FAQ

Is a brushless DC motor (BLDC) better than a brushed DC motor?

Sensorless BLDC motors are generally thought to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient than brushed motors. Brushless motors offer longer life, a smaller size, and lower weight.

What type of motor is used in a hoverboard?

Though all hoverboards are different, most products include a sensor-based brushless motor system. The components vary depending on the make and model, however.

Do hoverboards have motors?

Yes. All hoverboards include a sensor-based motor of some type. These motors are typically located in each wheel, but the location may vary.

Do hoverboards read your brain?

No. Hoverboards operate via a self-balancing sensor-based mechanism. In other words, they use a rider’s body weight and body position to offer control.

Can hoverboards ride in grass?

This depends entirely on the wheel-size. Wheels that are 6-5-inches wide do not do so well on grass but excel on smooth surfaces. Be sure you have a high-quality hoverboard battery to take on trickier terrains as well.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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