netNF Electric Longboard Part 4

The Rideable Prototype

After some experimentation I gave up on the radio control(RC) servo library for controlling my Longboard’s Electronic Speed Control(ESC).

My new longboard controller uses the following parts

  • Netduino 3 Wifi
  • Generic wireless wii nuchuk
  • generic Arduino protoshield

I reused the initial protoshield and only had to shift the PWM output to the ESC from pin 8 to pin 7.

FEZ Panda III Protoshield for longboard with RC Servo for testing
Protoshield for longboard RC Servo test
public class Program
   private const double PulseFrequency = 50.0;
   private const double PulseDurationMinimum = 0.05; // 1000uSec
   private const double PulseDurationMaximum = 0.1; // 2000uSec
   private const double WiiNunchukYMinimum = 0.0;
   private const double WiiNunchukYMaximum = 255.0;
   private const int ThrottleUpdatePeriod = 100;

   public static void Main()
      Debug.WriteLine("devMobile.Longboard starting");

         Debug.WriteLine("LED Starting");
         GpioPin led = GpioController.GetDefault().OpenPin(PinNumber('A', 10));

         Debug.WriteLine("LED Starting");
         WiiNunchuk nunchuk = new WiiNunchuk("I2C1");

         Debug.WriteLine("ESC Starting");
         PwmController pwm = PwmController.FromId("TIM5");
         PwmPin pwmPin = pwm.OpenPin(PinNumber('A', 1));

         Debug.WriteLine("Thread.Sleep Starting");

         Debug.WriteLine("Mainloop Starting");
         while (true)

            double duration = Map(nunchuk.AnalogStickY, WiiNunchukYMinimum, WiiNunchukYMaximum, PulseDurationMinimum, PulseDurationMaximum);
            Debug.WriteLine($"Value:{nunchuk.AnalogStickY} Duration:{duration:F3}");

      catch (Exception ex)

   private static int PinNumber(char port, byte pin)
      if (port < 'A' || port > 'J')
         throw new ArgumentException();

      return ((port - 'A') * 16) + pin;

   private static double Map(double x, double inputMinimum, double inputMaximum, double outputMinimum, double outputMaximum)
      return (x - inputMinimum) * (outputMaximum - outputMinimum) / (inputMaximum - inputMinimum) + outputMinimum;

The nanoFramework code polls the wii nunchuk for the joystick position every 100mSec and then updates the PWM duty cycle.

By convention the ESSC PWM frequency is 50Hz (a pulse ever 20mSec) and the duration of the pulse is 1000uSec(minimum throttle) to 2000uSec(maximum throttle), note the change of units.

After converting to the same units there is a pulse every 20mSec and its duration is 1mSec too 2mSec. Then converting the durations to the active duty cycle percentage (for the PWM SetActiveDutyCyclePercentage) the duration of the pulse is 5% to 10%.

I need to re-calibrate the ESC for these durations and ensure that reverse is disabled. Then tinker with the brake (braking percent & percent drag brake) and acceleration(initial acceleration low, medium, high, very high) configurations of my ESC to make the longboard easier to ride.

Next I will look at configurable throttle maps (to make it easier for new and different weight users), then using one of the wii-nunchuk buttons for cruise control (keeping the throttle steady when riding is difficult) and how the software reacts when the connection with nunchuk fails

NetMF Electric Longboard Part 2

In part 1 I got the wireless WiiChuck working with a plug n play setup using a SeeedStudio Grove base shield, Wii Chuck adaptor, modified 5CM cable and FEZ Lemur. The FEZ Lemur is limited to a 5VDC supply which wasn’t going to work so well with the 6VDC output of my HobbyKing HK150 ESC without some extra electronics.

GHI Electronics also sell the FEZ Panda III which has a 6VDC-9VDC voltage range and more processing power which would be useful for my next project a dual motor longboard with traction control and anti lock braking .

I also figured vibration could be a problem for the plug n play setup so I built a custom shield for my wireless Wii Chuck dual motor longboard control using an Arduino protoshield, and a Wii-Nunchuck breakout board. The shield provides a solid mount for the wireless Wii chuck dongle and power for the NetMF board from the output of the ESC.


FEZ Panda III Protoshield for longboard with RC Servo for testing

FEZ Panda II Protoshield for longboard RC Servo test

I tested the shield wiring using a Radio Control (RC) Servo so the scope of disaster was greatly reduced. (The red jumper wire is supplying 3v3 to the servo for testing)

using System;
using System.Threading;
using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware;
using Toolbox.NETMF.Hardware;

public class Program
   private const int NunchukYMinimum = 0;
   private const int NunchukYMaximum = 255;
   private const int PWMPeriodMicroseconds = 20000;
   private const int DurationMinimum = 1250;
   private const int DurationMaximum = 1750;

   public static void Main()
      WiiNunchuk Nunchuk = new WiiNunchuk();
      PWM pwm = new PWM(GHI.Pins.FEZPandaIII.PwmOutput.D6, PWMPeriodMicroseconds, DurationMinimum, PWM.ScaleFactor.Microseconds, false);


      while (true)
         // Reads all values

         Debug.Print(Nunchuk.AnalogStickX.ToString() + " " + Nunchuk.AnalogStickY.ToString());

         uint duration = (uint)map(Nunchuk.AnalogStickY, NunchukYMinimum, NunchukYMaximum, DurationMinimum, DurationMaximum);

         Debug.Print("Duration " + duration.ToString());
         pwm.Duration = duration;


   private static long map(long x, long inputMinimum, long inputMaximum, long outputMinimum, long outputMaximum)
      return (x - inputMinimum) * (outputMaximum - outputMinimum) / (inputMaximum - inputMinimum) + outputMinimum;

I then connected the setup to my longboard ESC and it worked. (need a right angle connection for FEZ Panda III power)

Longboard with FEZ Panda III board based controller

Longboard with FEZ Panda III board based controller

The proof of concept software worked, the next step is to add throttle mapping and failure mode handling e.g. loss of communications with the Wiichuck.

Electric Longboard First Assembly

My next project an electric motor powered longboard.

DIY longboard

Electric Longboard Parts

Bill of Materials for this project (Prices as at Jan 2014)

  • Single Motor Mechanical Electric Longboard Kit USD223
  • Turnigy Aerodrive SK3-6364-245kv Brushless Outrunner Motor USD70.68
  • HobbyKing 150A High Performance Brushless Car ESC USD68.99
  • ZIPPY Flightmax 5000mAh battery X 2 USD31.99 each
  • HXT4mm Battery Harness 14AWG for 2 Packs in Series USD2.43
  • HXT 4mm Gold Connector with Protector (10pcs/set) USD4.44
  • Netduino 2 Plus (may replace this with a Netduino) USD59.95
  • Grove Base Shield V2 USD 8.90
  • Grove Nunchuck Adaptor USD2.90
  • Wireless Nunchuck NZD25.00
  • Moose 9.5×42 Longboard Flush Mount Deck Green Stain NZ57

Initial trials of the Wireless Nunchuck have not been very positive. As the Netduino device starts the connection to the handset is dropped. Need to do some more investigation to see if I can get this to work otherwise I will have to use a wired Nunchuck.