A Race-Remote Project

As most of you are fully aware, remote options for the DIYer essentially suck. Fortunately, out on the web, some very capable people have refined some projects that make creating your own badass remote possible… but not very accessible.

I designed these remotes for my board the 3SK8esk8 based on the firefly and Feather Smart remote project found on electric-skateboard.builders forum. Hats off to solidgeek and StefanMe for their incredible work on the code and electronics. I hesitate to say that my evolution of their design is accessible, but it might be to folks that have a different skill-set. Also, I added what I believe to be a few upgrades.

So, you don’t need a 3D printer for this and I found a way around PCB for advanced prototyping thanks to Adafruit. They conviently make a custom protoboard for the Feather M0. It saves a lot of wires and solder-points. I’ll post some pics of the custom proto-shield that I designed later.

The thumbwheel/trigger that I used is designed by a military contractor for use in aviation and with heavy machinery. It’s pretty serious and expensive. It has a very high impact and water resistance rating and a repeatable-use rating over 3 million. Also, it’s really plush, my thumb loves it. It only comes in 5V, so I had to work a little electrical-engineering magic to get it to work with the Feather M0 which only comes in 3.3v.

I made both a thumb-wheel and trigger model because that’s what people want. The handcrafted bamboo enclosure isn’t just pretty. It’s ergonomic and it has a higher impact resistance rating than concrete which might come in handy for obvious reasons. I poured 1/8 inch of epoxy over the OLED. It’ pretty rugged now. I had tried finishing the bamboo with acrylic but that made it feel like plastic. Instead, I sanded it down with 1500 grit sandpaper and rubbed in some pure tung-oil with citrus solvent. This finish allowed my sweaty meat-hooks to breath a bit more, and it has a nice citrus scent:) Fine gun grips and cutlery handles are finished this way. Why not an esk8 remote? Now you can pistol-whip fools that owe you money with it.

The OLED display has a few menus with all kinds of info like speed, ride distance, both remote and board battery-level, current, temp, connection and more.

The antenna did not need to be externalized, but I like its dorky look. And the oversized, orange wrist lanyard isn’t just shameless promotion. It will help to keep you from getting shot by the poh-lice. Also, it comes in handy when trying to fish the remote out of deep pockets and backpacks. But, no, I’ve never put it around my wrist.

Because the Feather M0 comes with a li-po jack I used a 250 mah lipo pack. It was just too convenient not to. I realize this is a controversial matter and want to mention that I think it might be best to ride with an external power-source for the remote all-together. When I’m being battery-negligent, I ride with my remote hooked up to a 5000 mah power-pack in my pocket by way of USB cable.

I added BLE for smartphone connectivity (which was stoopid-easy) and made a custom proto-shield for the receiver as well.

Right now I’m making these for the boards that I sell and for friends. I’m going to do a short run of these this summer for general DIY purposes. If you’d like to trade your first-born for a remote, check them out at 3SK8esk8.com .

I’d love feedback and suggestions for further improvements or dream-features. Happy riding!!


You ride speed vents?

Nice remote :grin:


Just a single axis on the thumbwheel? Some found the multi axis thumbwheel in the @waji remote strange

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This 3sk8 was obviously inspired by the Nordemeyer special.

Nice remote.


Just single axis. That is my preference. I have ridden with the photon by @waji. His remote is very nice but the thumbstick is cheap and very basic. I wouldn’t use it on a vehicle. It’s meant for RC cars and video games.

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Speed-vents are my favorite wheel. Especially the baby blue.

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Cool :slight_smile:

What ESC is that on your store? VESC 6?

It is VESC 6. I buy them in bulk from a Chinese supplier that hasn’t really expanded into the English-speaking market. They are one of the more compact models that I have come across with a heatsink, and currently, they are testing really well.


Nice. Can you open one up and show us pics? I’d love to see what’s going on in there.


Very nice!

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Totally, I’m doing a few builds this week. I’ll take plenty of pics.


They are really nice, the styling is beautiful, thoughtful explanation around the design process.

I am pulling the resistance on this!


This man is after your heart with his custom 3sk8 build

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Here is a pic of the parts for the transmitter and one of finished receivers with the ESC that I’m working with if anyone is interesd. The total parts list costs about $150. It’s worth mentioning that if your ESC has a poor 5V power supply (as many do) you need something called a low-current power-supply installed in the power/ground lines on the receiver. They cost about $7.50. My ESC has a solid 5V supply so I didn’t include it in my build.

A list of parts for the receiver:

  • Adafruit Feather M0 board (part# 3176)

  • Adafruit Featherwing Proto-board for Feather M0 (part# 2884)

  • Adafruit 5V booster for the thumbwheel (part# 3661)

I swear that I don’t work for Adafruit.

  • UFL adaptor with UFL antenna (optional, you can just solder a length of wire to the antenna hole on the board, but Adafruit included a pad for the UFL connector. So why not?).

  • Monochrome 128x64 OLED screen. These can be found all over Amazon. Buy the ones with 4-pins. Two 1k resistors are required to install the screen.

  • Any 3.7 v lipo battery will work except that if you don’t buy a lipo from Adafruit you have to reverse the polarity, or something will smell like burning.

  • The tactile buttons are standard issue and can be found on Amazon.

  • I used a latching pushbutton and installed it on the back of the remote. It’s a lot nicer than the slide-switches that I tend to see used. This can also be found on Amazon.

  • If you’d like to make a vibrating remote you need a 1k resistor, a 2N2222 transitor and a tiny disc vibrator. Again,These things are all on Amazon. Generally you can only buy them in bulk.

  • To make the voltage-divider circuit to bring the 5V signal back down from the thumbwheel you need a 10k and 20k resister. You may as well buy a kit with all the above listed resisters on Amazon.

  • Even though the Feather M0 comes with a micro-usb port, I add a micro-USB port that extends to the exterior of the enclosure with a neoprene gasket. It helps seal things up and makes it easier to access the charging port.

  • Lastly, check out Ruffycontrols.com for the thumbwheel. I use the single-hall MSA series here. You can make some selections for the accuator such as elastomer or plaster thumbpad. They have two different force level springs. I like the 70N for thumbstyle and 140N for the trigger-style. Also, choose the 5V model.

When it comes to enclosures… get creative. Ducktape would get the job done just fine or you can get fancy and press your own vaneer like I did.

I’ll do up a parts list for the receiver soon and post build picks.


I’ll press your veneer…

Great job on the remote dude. Looks awesome!

Great work man!

Love the customization options on those thumbwheels.

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I absolutely needed to have the blue in-lays:)

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I know you did. That’s why I like your style.

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It’s probably this vesc right?

That’s the one.