Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 1
Written by Staff
20/02/2020
Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO

We have just finished the latest prototype of SOLO and now its time to put it into action. And guess what! We choose to test it with a real product: an Electric Scooter.
We just bought a second-hand TAKIRA scooter right from Amazon and try to boost it by using SOLO prototype. We had no idea of what could be inside it: what type of electrical motor, the internal spacing, the typology of batteries… We knew literally nothing except the maximum electrical power it can sustain (around 150W).
But we were confident SOLO will be versatile enough to accomplish this task. We figured the type of the motor will be either a simple Brushed DC motor or a Brushless DC motor by the cost of the Scooter (100 Euros). Since SOLO supports both types we were ready to start the hacking.

In the next steps, we will guide you through it step-by-step.

 

The hacking

So here we go! We received the package, unpacked and saw the scooter inside for the first time. For the price paid, it looks quite good!

Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 2
Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 3

Just to make sure everything worked fine, our brave guy Milad turned it on and played a little bit with the throttle. The back wheel was spinning nicely and smoothly! Time to hack this thing.
Milad prepared the place for opening a couple of screws and make some mess. The first piece to open was the footrest plate, which came off pretty easy. ere is what we found inside:

Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 4

Basically like any other Electric Scooters or in general any traction vehicle there are 3 vital parts :

    1. CONTROL UNIT: this part will be in charge of controlling the speed/torque of the motor, battery level monitoring and so on. It is the brain of the system.

 

    1. BATTERIES: we found two series ACID batteries of 12 volts each, powering the motor with 24V.

 

  1. Electrical MOTORs: the motor is in charge of generating the electromotive force, which will be converted into torque force and enable the motion.

After opening the control unit part, we realized it contained a brushed DC motor, since there were only two wires coming out of it (in case of Brushless or AC induction motors there would be three or more wires coming out).

After understanding the situation, Milad took out the original control unit of the scooter: it was a simple brushed DC motor driver 24V 15A. Quite high power (possibly exaggerated) for such a small-sized driver. Let’s see what SOLO can do in there!

Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 5

The next step was to take out the original control board and all the sockets and associated wires, just to make some space for SOLO. We had to be careful not to overlook any details or crack anything or we could have destroyed the whole machine…

For SOLO to be operational we needed 3 main things:

  1. The wires for the batteries to supply power to SOLO
  2. The two wires from the DC motors to be connected to the output of SOLO (pins “A” and “B”)
  3. The throttle output and inputs to get feedback from the position of the throttle and to increase or decrease the speed of the scooter as the user rotates it proportionally

To give you a better understanding of the whole system you can consider wiring and connections through the diagram below.

Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 6

In the first steps, we just ignored the throttle part because we wanted to test the spinning of the motor with SOLO. I set up SOLO with some potentiometers instead of using the throttle:

Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 7
After putting SOLO on DC motor mode with the Closed-Loop Torque control feature enabled (don’t worry about the jargon! In this blog, we will explain what is the difference between Torque and Speed control and why Torque control was used here), With SOLO we could successfully control the DC motor: increasing or decreasing the amount of generated Torque by the motor using an analog potentiometer as you can see in the following video:
To then use the real throttle of the scooter was pretty straight forward. This scooter uses hall effect enabled throttle which at the output has an analog voltage up to 5V, exactly like the potentiometers we used:., So I just took the potentiometers out and connected the Throttle wires as below:
Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 8
  1. The Black Wire: To “GND” of control inputs of SOLO
  2. The Red Wire: to “+5V” output of SOLO
  3. The Green wire: to “SP/TRQ” Input of control inputs of SOLO as can be seen

Here you can see how SOLO is controlling the scooter with its original Throttle:

The final step was to finally put back all the wirings together and leaving SOLO inside the room made by removing the original control board.
Boosting your electric scooter with SOLO 9
Done! After putting back the footrest plate the scooter is ready to be tested outside!

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