Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

General topics and discussions about the VESC and its development.
gderou
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Joined: 16 May 2017, 16:35
Location: Paris

Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby gderou » 16 May 2017, 16:48

Hi All,

I have been looking for a replacement controller for my e-scooter recently (Minimotors Speedway II if that is relevant).
The controller that was built-in seems to be a common chinese-built one, and seems to work properly (at least from my point of view, but I have not used anything else…). I activated the regen brake (that was available but not activated - see https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 30&t=88252 for more details).

Is there any reason to upgrade to something like VESC ? I have been looking for the advantages of VESC, and I understand it gives much more control on what is happening inside the controller but what would it translate too in terms of power / control / safety ?
I am having trouble converting the feature list from http://vedder.se/2015/01/vesc-open-source-esc/ to actual user-side features.

Looking at the features, it seems it can properly drive a 500W motor from a 48v battery (the ones I have), but I guess that would require a proper (water-resistant) casing and adequate cooling - am I right ?

Thanks for your help

linsus
Posts: 34
Joined: 24 Apr 2016, 10:20

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby linsus » 17 May 2017, 12:38

To put it short;

It depends who you talk to. I personally think the VESC is great and have invested alot of free time in my e-boards.
If you think its fun to tinker, customize and prepared to invest some time etc. the VESC is like a wet dream.
If you just want a controller to just fill the purpose of running your scooter and can't be bothered with the above, maybe get something else.

Just my 2 cents ;)

gderou
Posts: 7
Joined: 16 May 2017, 16:35
Location: Paris

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby gderou » 17 May 2017, 13:57

Of course I am willing to play with it ! (I wouldn't be here otherwise). So, if I were to test VESC, that would need a lot of time spent on understanding how things work, hacking (potentially breaking things)… I am OK with this, provided that in the end, there is something that can be superior to what I have now (to be realistic, I need my scooter everyday to commute to work).

So apart from the added flexibility and hacker-friendly device, what can be achieved that cannot with the default controller ?
For instance the FOC feature: I undertand that it reduces the noise of the motor (that is nice, but certainly not a game-changer) but does it change anything on a bdlc hub motor ?

benjamin
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Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby benjamin » 17 May 2017, 14:05

I cant tell exactly how other controller behave because I don't have one of each, but a few things I can think of that you controller probably can't do are:

* Instead of an on/off brake, you can add a second throttle on another ADC pin and use it as an adjustable regenerative brake.
* If you prefer one throttle and still want an adjustable brake you can use a button to change the throttle to an adjustable function while holding the button.
* Running FOC the motor will become more quiet and you can also gain some efficiency.
* You can configure ramping and throttle curves (will become available with the VESC-Tool release and the new firmware).
* After each ride you can see how many watt hours and amp hours you have used to figure out the capacity fade of your battery.
* You can configure speed limits, torque limits and all sorts of things.

There are also tons of features for programmers/hackers, but these are a few things that regular users will notice right away.

A 500w 48V motor should work fine without any additional cooling, but if you want to ride in the rain you have to protect the PCB from water.

gderou
Posts: 7
Joined: 16 May 2017, 16:35
Location: Paris

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby gderou » 17 May 2017, 14:21

@benjamin: thanks ! I would certainly love to try it then. For the regen brake, rather than adding another throttle, I would prefer a user-defined brake intensity profile (so that it is not too strong and sudden).

I am a little worried about the cabling (I have this control device https://fr.aliexpress.com/item/LCD-Disp ... 89099.html).
I would definitely need a water-resistant box.

Are there any good supplier of VESC (I don't feel like building my own !)

linsus
Posts: 34
Joined: 24 Apr 2016, 10:20

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby linsus » 17 May 2017, 14:58

Not sure what you refer to when saying "user defined", as values(such as current) related to throttle and brake are pretty much put in by the user when configuring the VESC, you can experiment alot with these values before you find "the sweet spots" if thats what you mean.

Also a feature I think Ben forgot to mention is the Cruise Control, not sure how applicable that is to a scooter but it sure is nice on a longboard.
The ability to have a step off strategy to your battery is nice as well, I'm unfamiliar with your setup but it's quite handy if you dont run any BMS f.e.

Regarding supplier, there are several that sell pre-assembled, older verisions of the VESC, I would recommend waiting abit for the release of the newest verision if you're not in a hurry. Alot of improvements I'm sure you can read about here in the forums etc.

gderou
Posts: 7
Joined: 16 May 2017, 16:35
Location: Paris

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby gderou » 17 May 2017, 15:13

Thanks again. I will wait, there is a lot to catch up on the forum anyway.

By user-defined, I meant that I would like a progressive brake (to avoid any violent change in acceleration - that is what I get now - I touch the brake lever and the full regen brake it triggered) and the curve should probably depend on the conditions (speed mostly) - but that would of course need to be adjusted and depends on the firmware capabilities (but that shouldn't be too difficult to add to the firmware if needed).
That would be nice to add a second all-or-nothing input (the second brake lever) so if I slightly press both levers, the braking is stronger than one only.

In terms of setup, I have:
- a motor
- a battery with BMS
- a LCD controller with one speed throttle
- 2 brake levers (with a switch used to trigger e-brake and brake lights)

Additional things but I don't think they are connected to the controller (rear leds, headlight, buzzer).

hexakopter
Posts: 86
Joined: 24 Dec 2015, 15:24
Location: Germany

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby hexakopter » 17 May 2017, 15:26

benjamin wrote:* Instead of an on/off brake, you can add a second throttle on another ADC pin and use it as an adjustable regenerative brake.

That is really already possible in the current firmware with HW 4.12? I was thinking that it isn't supporter jet, so my plan was to wait for the new firmware and then try to implement it by myself.

linsus
Posts: 34
Joined: 24 Apr 2016, 10:20

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby linsus » 17 May 2017, 15:33

I see, well. I think most people use the custom nunchuck together with the VESC with the e-boards.

To explain it briefly, It has two pushbuttons and a joystick that takes an analog value to define an intervall at which you want to accelerate or break. Meaning putting the brake to the bottom(joystick down) would apply max break current condition. What defines that intervall in terms of current is up to you. But if you're looking for a function where you can break with diffrent amounts of "force" on demand, the short answer is yes, it's possible with the VESC. Not sure how your break levers operate but in theory a potentiometer giving of diffrent resistance values with the flick of the joystick(think RC-remote), is the simpler solution for a lever to operate.

gderou
Posts: 7
Joined: 16 May 2017, 16:35
Location: Paris

Re: Newbie - what are the advantages of VESC for an electric scooter

Postby gderou » 17 May 2017, 15:41

My brake levers are just switch - all or nothing. But I would like a progressive braking. So 2 digital input, and a progressive braking as output…


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