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Skatey 800 Upgrade

OK. This is what I have to start with. Batteries are new(ish). 3 x 12V Lead acid 12Ah. Even when brand new, the range on those battery’s was less than 2km on flat terrain. Original Skatey documentation claim a range of 26km. I know I’m never going to get to that, but if I could get to, say 10-12km it would be awesome.

Here’s my thinking and the challenges that I forsee in no particular order

Brushed motor
Lead-Acid Batteries
I suspect that seeing as the range is rubbish even with new batteries, that there is some problem with controller / remote / motor.

I want to improve this board for as cheap as possible. No point in spending $200 on something that is always only going to be worth $50. That said, it’s pretty worthless at the moment, so my thinking is if I can spend a few bucks making it better, it will make a good starter toy for my son (16 years old) and get him interested in us building something better together.

So can anyone help me with troubleshooting where exactly the problem may lie. As it is, everything does work, just not for very long. Individual part for this old tech aren’t expensive, but if I had to replace everything, it becomes a bit silly.

Please throw some ideas at me. I’m a Civil Engineer and pretty decent handyman. Also into Marine Reef tanks and building Raspberry-Pi based controllers for them, so the tech doesn’t really scare me. I may just have to learn more about the details of this stuff. I also don’t like the idea of a throw-away society, so like to keep old stuff running - even if having to update it. But I like to do the research up front and have a solid plan.

Thanks in advance guys

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Hi and welcome again!
I‘m not familiar with that board, but as you said they have a brushed motor it wouldn’t work with a vesc as far as I know they just support brushless motors.
Those new batteries are wired in series or parallel? 12V seems a bit less for operating voltage, so I guess in series?
If I remember right @Dareno might have had some contact with those boards before, maybe he can help you in a way.

Pretty sure Vesc does work for brushed motors. Guessing it only want two leads, plus and minus?
Should be the “DC” mode. and you only connect two of the phase wires. Should be a youtube thing somewhere.

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Thx for clearing this up @linsus

In series. The motor is 36V 800W.

Yes. The brushed motor has just 2 wires.

So, if I get a decent-ish Vesc controller, I can use it on the brushed motor and then still use it on a brushless if I go that route in the future.

Can you guys suggest some brands of Vesc and remotes please.

Sorry to say, but this has “throwing good money after bad” written all over it. I get why you want to, but I think it’s going to be an uphill struggle. That said, I hope you can find a way to achieve what you want.

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oh wow! I’ve seen a lot of variations of this board under different brands but this is the first time i’ve seen a classic single chain drive.

I’m curious how reliable a vesc based controller would be under load with a brushed dc motor.

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Yeah. I have that feeling as well, but I have to do the research…

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Agreed. Replacing any major components isn’t going to help much besides spend dineros. VESC alone is $50 and will have ZERO impact on range. Chances are the range moles here are elsewhere. Fix what’s there is the best thing to do

Things to do that cost little but will help.
Replace or rebuild chain ( derust, lube, fix dents)
Rebuild motor ( brushes, bearings)
Replace wheel bearings
Check tires for leaks.
Replace bushings, if any

If you wanna spend $, get a 10s lipo battery. Controller will take it for a long time. That’ll help a lot

This is definitely not true. There are mechanical Gremlins. Also lead acid sucks big hairy monkey balls

Motor! Brushes! Don’t know why I didn’t think of that before. Stripping the motor to check them is easy and quick. And free

I’ll start there and report back

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Nevermind the 10" pneumatics. They suck efficiency right out the window even if weverything else is perfect.

None of the boards I had like this had decent range unless the battery trays were literally packed full of vertically oriented cells.

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I suppose cheap road tires would help quite a bit that’s true.
I just don’t see the motor controller being anything but maybe 10 maybe 20% of the overall losses.

Either way making everything else perfect is really the first logical step. Then replace the biggest power suckers

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After cleaning up the drivetrain, I think that a vesc and a 10s lipo pack would make a huge improvement. A flipsky 4.12 can cost like $50, but you would also need a new remote, so like $80 total. Then $80 for batteries, and its a somewhat cheap fix.
Also, I’ve run an old razor dirt bike brushed motor on a vesc before. You just need to connect the motor phase wire to the two outer wires from the vesc. Using a vesc and some lipos turned that bike from a useless piece of garbage into an absolute beast.

Update

I pulled the motor apart and went through bearings and brushes etc. All seem good to me. Brushes can’t have more than 2mm wear off them. Bearings both feel smooth and well lubricated. No glaring problems that I could see.

Took the chain off and cleaned and lubricated. Slight surface rust on chain, but nothing stiff. Chain does not seem to have significant stretch when tested on sprocket.

Went through all battery connections and all seemed good. Getting 39.8V at the battery plug. Did a quick connect of the motor direct to the batteries (bypassing the microcontroller) and the thing chooched like a Hot Damn! Once my vision cleared from the sparks. I figured we should be in business.

Now it starts getting sketchy.

Connected all up including the Microcontroller. Turned on remote and… nothing. Battery in remote is good. Microcontroller light coming on. Getting re-assuring beep. Nothing. Fiddle with things in sthe remote I don’t understand and eventually I get the wheel turning (board is upside down for safety sake). So I figure a test is in order. Turn the board right side up and climb on an it goes backward very slowly. No forward.

I noticed that the silver bands made for safety on the handle of the remote are jankey to say the least. Sometimes working and sometimes not. Changing the 3-position speed switch onside the remote made no difference to anything.

My gut feel points to remote being an issue - exactly how big of one, I’m not sure, but I feel I should start with replacing it.

Any recommendations? Can I just replace / upgrade remote? Or should I upgrade to VESC one time?

Remember, it’s a brushed motor

800W 36V Lead-acid battery system.

Most of the cheap esc have a controller that is paired with it and you are unable to change the remote unless it is the same much like how the meepo and other cheaper eboards. The old reliable is a 2.4ghz remote. Cheap ones can be found from a lot of places for around $30. I personally would change the esc and the remote

Makes sense.

Can you recommend a decent / middle of the road ESC and remote combination that will work with the 36V Brushed motor combination? Experience has taught me the cheapest is never the best.

Preferably a vendor that will ship to South Africa lol

Any vendor should be able to ship to South Africa just more expensive.I would probably suggest hobby king for the remote and I would get a vesc so you have control over settings so for that I would go with flipsky even though they are not as reliable.