Hackaday Prize semi-finalist, Xenon John had recently participated in the Hackaday competition with the MediCycle which is a dangerous one-wheeled machine. He has also worked on other self-balancers including the skateboard design. He has now designed a self-balancing scooter inspired by the famous Raleigh Chopper bike of the 1970’s.Through his experience, John learnt that light weight, fun and more like a bicycle design are the main objectives for his new project.
John preferred an Arduino Mega 1280 over the 2560 as they were available for as low as $16 the price of a Uno. The Arduino features several hard wired serial ports, one of which John plans to use to transmit motor control commands to the Sabertooth 2 X 25 amp motor power controller, and another port to deliver data to the serial-LCD display module. The deadman switch and steering buttons when applied will connect the individual Mega pins to the ground. The deadman switch ensures safety, if you lose control over it, the power supply to the motors stop after half a second. Digital Pin 12 is connected to an LED. The LED glows as soon as the bike starts and disappears after a few seconds when the machine starts balancing itself.
The potentiometer located on the left handlebar is a Twist-grip 5K Ohm potentiometer made by Magura and is generally used as throttles for electric scooters. Turning the handle makes the scooter leans slightly forwards and it starts moving. Springing the handle back will cause the scooter to lean slightly backwards and slow down. The self-balancing scooter makes you feel as though you are on a Segway.