Understanding the Electric Skateboard and its Remote Control
The control center of an electric skateboard is the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC). It requires the use of a remote control to manipulate this central unit. While many individuals tend to focus on the specifications and prices when purchasing electric skateboards, the significance of the remote control is often overlooked. A superior remote control goes beyond simple functions like forward, backward, and braking; it provides valuable information such as motor temperature, speed, or the ability to switch wheel sizes. In the realm of electric skateboards, the remote control is akin to the soul of the board.
How Electric Skateboards Work
In the 1990s, Louie Finkle pioneered the first electric skateboard, catapulting it into public consciousness. Today, electric skateboards serve as an alternative to fuel-based vehicles. These boards are powered by dual or single-drive motors, with some even featuring four-wheel drive. The power source is a battery that supplies control outputs to the motor through the ESC, which users manipulate via the remote control.
Components Inside an Electric Skateboard
- Processor: Similar to a computer or smartphone, each electric skateboard contains a small processor, acting as the brain of the operation. It connects the battery to the motor and the built-in controller on the board, known as the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC).
- Electronic Speed Controller (ESC): This controller measures the throttle's position on the board, allowing acceleration, deceleration, and braking through the remote control.
- Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver: Both the remote control and the ESC feature Bluetooth modules for mutual communication. They continuously exchange information, enabling the ESC to recognize and transmit any movements of the remote control's throttle to the motor in milliseconds. In some cases, the ESC may also send data to the remote control, displaying information such as speed, distance, and battery level on a small screen.
Types of Electric Skateboard Remote Controls
- Thumbwheel: The most popular type of electronic skateboard remote control features a wheel located at the top. To move the skateboard, users slide the wheel forward for acceleration and pull it backward to brake. This mechanism is commonly referred to as a "thumbwheel," and it dominates 99% of electric skateboards.
- Trigger-style Remote Control: Some remote controls incorporate a dead-man trigger that serves as a safety switch. Users must perform two actions to accelerate: first, pull the trigger with the index finger, and then apply pressure with the thumb for acceleration. This dual-action setup prevents accidental acceleration and is typically found on more expensive electric skateboards.
Considerations when Choosing a Remote Control
- Latency: Lower latency, indicating how quickly the electric skateboard responds to movements on the remote control, is preferable. Humans easily notice delays, so a few milliseconds can make a significant difference.
- Ergonomic Design: Given that users hold the remote control throughout the ride, opting for a design that is both convenient and ergonomic is wise. Trying out different models to find the most comfortable one is recommended.
- Durability: Ideally, look for a remote control with a robust outer shell to protect it from impacts and falls, ensuring optimal functionality over an extended period.
- User-friendly Features: Basic remote controls offer buttons and a throttle for speed control. However, when venturing outdoors, additional features become crucial. Knowing the status of the electronic board's battery and understanding your riding speed can be advantageous. Some electric skateboards even come with their mobile applications, allowing synchronization between the remote control, board, and smartphone for detailed riding insights.
In conclusion, the electric skateboard's remote control is not merely a device for maneuvering the board; it is an integral component that influences the overall riding experience. Whether choosing between thumbwheel or trigger-style controls, prioritizing low latency, ergonomic design, durability, and user-friendly features will contribute to a more enjoyable and seamless ride.