Snuffles: Retired, Revisited, Reloaded

Propositio Prima: It is wholly possible to put together an extremely powerful and efficient personal electric vehicle using common hobby-grade equipment for under $400 in total. Depending on the requirements of the individual, this amount can be drastically less.

Propositio Secunda
: The best way to learn about something is doing it.

Propositio Tertia: Boston sidewalks suck ass.

This could be the start of something... uhh....

It was certainly the most fun impulsive build I’ve ever completed. What began as a desire to mount a giant brushless motor on something, anything, turned into a foray into the world of exotic power systems, electric vehicles, battery technologies, and electronics engineering. After I finally learned how to control the motor’s power, it became a great local transportation device. However, after a month of operation, I’ve decided to pull the plug on Snuffles.
Read more “Snuffles: Retired, Revisited, Reloaded”


Snuffles died today. But only for a little while, as I just need to jiggle something to the right position and glue it there.


I was crossing a street while on the way to, of all places, the bike shop to get a big U-lock so I can actually start using the thing as a campus and town vehicle. While cruising across the street, the ESC suddenly reset.


Now, brushless controllers play a setup tone through the motor, using it as a speaker. This means the motor suddenly applies power in random directions, maybe more than one direction at once. Either way, the rear wheel locks up and I almost fly off. After a few power resets and poking, the ESC wouldn’t even play the setup tone, meaning there was no control signal at all, but the main power relay still latched, so it is getting battery power.


Fortunately, Snuffles is small enough to kick scoot and limp back to home base. I’ll find out the problem later.

Snuffles testing

Over the past 24 hours or so, I have learned a few things.

One, giant outrunners are insanely powerful.

Two, this one is far too powerful for a small frame like the ElectricX2.

Three, I need a running start before jumping on or else the motor will torque so hard as to wheelie backwards and throw me off. That or I need to lean across the handlebars, Motocross style, so the most leverage possible is exerted againt the motor. This, however, looks really retarded.

Snuffles, so far, is completely uncontrollable and is a monster. This is a good thing, as it was the original design goal, but I have yet to tame this monster. I have a few days to practice, though!

Chinese engineering

So I got the battery charger today. In typical Chinese engineering fashion, it has no documentation and inconsistent parts and features.

Can I make a left turn on the green light too!?


I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand what the heck it’s doing, and just take its little flashing lights for face value.


It also comes with two fuses, but with no fuse holder or any other visible sign of a fuse. It also seems to be ultrasonic-welded together, with no screws, so if I ever have to replace a fuse, I seem to need a sledgehammer.


Here’s hoping it works and never breaks (yeah right). I will not hesitate in sledgehammering it open at the first sign of trouble.