Category Archives: Learning Experiences

Hack Tragedy!

In classic pre-deadline efficiency, I’ve spent the last two days finishing EVERYTHING before I travel home and can’t work on this stuff anymore. This push culminated, tonight, in my determined wiring up of the motor controller for what would be my electric Roman Chariot.  For now, it’s still just the electric roman chariot Project, and after tonight, it’s even further from getting done.

After two hours of careful soldering with the World’s Most Broken soldering iron, and only a few inches of solder to work with, I had it finished, everything connected as it ought to, and with that gleaming spark in my eye, I plugged in the last few connections and lightly brushed the +36V cable against the contact.  Now a real spark could be seen in my eye, reflected for a split second from the battery terminal.  I mean the batteries sparked, a whole lot at that brief connection, way more spark than I expected.  That meant a lot more current was flowing than I expected, and should have been a warning signal to me that my circuit was off.  

But after two days of COMPLETION I forged boldly forward because I had to see if the throttle worked.  This time I plugged the motor in fully, and twisted the throttle, and.. the motor didn’t change speed at all, but the throttle, in my hand, started smoking.  Not just a little, a whole hell of a lot.

I took several moments to observe my throttle, still smoking, in silence.  When something dies so spectacularly, it’s clear: there’s no going back.  My throttle is toast.

 I will have to wait a whole week until I get back and until I can find another throttle for this scooter, to make any more progress on this.  eit!!


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Filed under Electrical Fascination, Learning Experiences, Project Updates

Electronic Scooter Hacking

I’m learning.  I’m converting an electric scooter I found to a horseless electric roman chariot, for personal transportation, of course, and I’m making the motor controller work today.

I was lead to believe that I could treat my scooter throttle like a big resistor, a big potentiometer.  TURNS OUT that mostly they’re hall effect sensors that give you a varying voltage (0-5V in, 1-4 out).  I didn’t find a lot of info on this on the internet, but thankfully Geo filled me in on some of the details, and I used my power supply and voltmeter to figure out the rest.

So, my circuit is getting modified (in the direction of simplicity, awesome) and will not involve a 555 to PWM the motors to the tune of a throttle’s varying resistance.  I think maybe this is helpful information to publish! More Roman Charioteering to come!


I also found this website informative:


Filed under Electrical Fascination, How Stuff Works, Learning Experiences, Project Updates