I while ago I was contacted on the forum by Amy from Spintend to review their new motor controller, the 75V 100A single ESC single with internal IMU BMI160 module.
Disclosure, the Ubox was send to me free of charge in trade for writing this review. But I did tell Spinted that I would write an honest review no matter what the outcome was.
Now you may wonder, why did Spinted ask me to write a review? Well I designed my own self balancing single wheel electric powered skateboard, better known by the name Funwheel. No I’m not Fungineers, but I do work together with Fungineers to sell, build, troubleshoot and enjoy the Funwheel!
So yeah you can say I have quite some experience in building, setting up and riding the Funwheel or similar balanced vehicles. In the past I have used varies Vesc to power my Funwheel. Some of them worked and some didn’t.
What did I receive from Ubox?
The ubox itself and the accessories it comes with are all well packed and placed in a anti-static bag for protection. The box was filled up with some bubble wrap to make sure it survived the trip from China to the Netherlands.
So what’s in all those little anti-static bags?
The Ubox itself off course, a latching button with LED and wires with connectors for every output/input port the Ubox has to offer. That is something I really liked! I have had numerous Vesc that did not include any cable so I always ended up buying a dozen different connectors to get everything up and running.
Firmware: based on 75V300A VESC (I will come back to the software later on)
Voltage: 75v(16S safely)
Current: 100A continuous (The duration depends on the temperature around the product, heat dissipation and air circulation）
Ports available: PPM,UART(adc1/adc2),Canbus,Hall sensor,TypeC usb and a hidden SWD port
FET PN: FDBL0150N80
Full aluminium housing with mounting holes and optional fan mount
12v output for cooling or lights
Power button type: latching button
Without integration of Bluetooth and 2.4G hz receiver
12cm 12AWG phase wires with 4.0mm female bullet connector, 10cm 12AWG battery cable with XT90 male connector
Like I mentioned before I will be using this Ubox to power my Funwheel. Since this is a balancing vehicle the vesc has to be good. Good in a way that it can control the motor smoothly. I have used some cheap vesc before that had problems controlling to motor, something you won’t notice on a longboard or bike but makes it unusable for balance vehicles.
Since the Ubox has got an integrated IMU (|IMU is a gyroscope that can measure angles) makes the Ubox ideal for balance vehicles. Having an integrated IMU sets free the UART port so you can still use a Bluetooth module to modify settings, read your battery status and some other features. The Ubox does not come with a Bluetooth module. Since I will using I device called REScue (Bluetooth and Front/ear LED controller module in one) it didn’t really bother me.
Because of the build in IMU Spinted offers two versions of firmware for the Ubox on their website. I had some troubles with detecting correct motor values using the Ubox IMU firmware. So I decided to install Surfdado 5.2 firmware (this is specially written for balance vehicles/onewheel). With this firmware the motor detection went perfect. After that I set up the vesc for the Funwheel and it was time to install the Ubox in the Funwheel!
Installing the Ubox in my Funwheel
Installing the Ubox in my Funwheel was a breeze. Since there is a lot of space in the funwheel, and the Ubox slim dimensions I had no trouble fitting it. The latching button is a 16mm, which was a perfect fit for the Funwheel. As you can see, lots of room left for other stuff to be mounted.
I did not use the mounting holes of the aluminium Ubox casing but some double sided tape. This for the simple reason that I designed the Vesc box before I even heard of the Ubox and I didn’t feel like printing a complete new vesc box
There is no forced cooling in this vesc box, and I won’t be mounting a cooling fan on top of the Ubox. So I’m really curious what temp. The Ubox will reach while pushing it. There are some people who are having trouble with thermal cut off on some cheaper vescs.
Powering up the Ubox
Another neat feature when powering up the ubox is the fact that the latching button has got a led in it that tells the status of the vesc. WIth previous vesc I had the problem that I did not know when the vesc was ready to go. With the ubox the led turns red when the button is pressed. Once the Ubox is ready to go the led turns solid green. It’s a really simple thing but man I love this feature!
How does the Ubox perform
Like said before I’m running the Ubox in a Funwheel. To tell a bit more about the performance we need some numbers like cell count, hub motor type, rider weight but also Vesc settings.
So here is some information about my setup
- Funwheel frame
- Funwheel stompies
- 12s2p Samsung INR18650-30Q
- Floatwheel Hubmotor
- Rider weight, 96kg
- Rider length, 195cm
Vesc firmware and settings
- Surfdado’s 5.2 firmware
- For complete settings and software please send PM
- Current settings
Now that we know the basic numbers I can tell you a bit more about how the Ubox performs for me in an Onewheel/Funwheel vehicle. I can be really short about it but it performs simply lovely!! The Ubox makes the hub motor run real smooth which gives a lot of confidence. My amp settings are pretty high. Having installed the Ubox in a closed box it has no cooling beside the aluminium heatsink case. The max. temperature reached with this setup (in 21degrees Celsius ambient temperature) after 10km of riding is 40 degrees which is below the cut off temperature. During this 10km ride I pushed it quite hard with some long and short steep hills.
All in all I’m really impressed by the looks, quality and performance of the Ubox.
What is next ?
The Ubox is a HV vesc, now I’m running it on 12s which is far below the max. voltage the Ubox can handle. In the near future I plan on building a new and bigger battery. This will be 15s or maybe even 16s. This should lower the Amps and make the Ubox even run colder.
Other that that I will occasionally post some updates over here on how the Ubox is holding up.