What began as a fictional idea in the imaginative world of the writer, M.K Joseph, and popularized by Back to the Future film franchise has become a representation of our collective self-adulation of a restless, fast-paced postmodern world.
This is the foundation of the buzz around hoverboards. While we are still waiting on the dream of a self-hovering board, we would always make do with the self balancing scooters that are nicknamed hoverboards.
Hoverboards are self-controlling two-wheelers that mostly run on batteries. It is fun to use and mostly great for commuting, and as long as conversation about fast transportation is ongoing, the place of hoverboards in it cannot be exaggerated.
Now, as much fun as it is to drive the hoverboard, you need to understand how it works and practice well to ensure you don’t hit the ground badly.
So, What’s Inside A Hoverboard And How Does It Work?
Hoverboards have sensors which help them to stay balanced. The board’s sensors are what picks up signals on how the rider leans and which the rider is headed.
The clever thing about these self balancing boards is that, when the sensors detect the direction a rider leans, the electric motors spin will in turn spin the wheels to move in the very direction. So, what you do, as a rider, is to basically shift your weight in your desired direction and you will see your hoverboard moving towards that direction.
That pretty looks like it’s reading one’s mind, right? The components inside a hoverboard allows it to perform this function.
A hoverboard has distinguishing components which is like the standard expectations of every hoverboard. You will find the following in a hoverboard:
1. A Battery Pack
The battery component is the powerhouse of your hoverboard. This means that without the battery, you can’t ride your hoverboard.
Hoverboards use lithium-ion batteries which are between 36 and 42V. Lithium-ion batteries can be seen in electric rideables. That’s primarily because they’re lightweight.
They also have a high energy density, which gives more mileage per charge in small packages. This is very important. Hoverboards are expected to be lightweight so as to get the best from climbing. They are made to glide in slopes and terrains, the lightweight they are, the better it serves that essence.
Lithium-ion batteries are also useful for hoverboards because they discharge slower when compared to other types of batteries. Even if you leave your overboard unused for quite some time, gathering dusts and all, you won’t find it problematic coming back to an almost fully charged hoverboard.
Apparently, it becomes extremely difficult to operate, balance, or move forward or backward — literally anything — without the hoverboard battery pack.
PS: How long your hoverboard battery lasts depends on the exact type of battery it uses, as well as a couple other factors. You can find out all about those factors here in this article.
2. Main Logic Board
The main logic board of a hoverboard is also referred to as the motherboard. That’s because it does the type of work the motherboard in a computer does. Hardly is an electronic device unequipped with one.
As with the brain, the entire function of the hoverboard is processed and controlled from there. When the logic board receives information from the gyroscopes (explained soon), it will begin to process that data. It is the interpretation it gives from this process information that it gives back in commands to the motors so they can take specific actions.
Consider for a moment the different riding modes that the hoverboard has. The riding mode you are switched on to is controlled by the main logic board. Every other important or distinguishing part of the hoverboard like the LED lights, the power consumption, speeds, and other actions are controlled and sent from this specific component.
When it is time to with to the turning on or off unit, the on/off power button sends the signal to the logic board. The logic board simply links all the other pieces of the hoverboard together.
3. 2 Gyroscopes
Like the motherboard, the gyroscopes are also very important features of the hoverboard.
The hoverboard has two gyroscopes from which it receives information on its tilt and acceleration feature. In other words, there are two motors in the hoverboard, and it has one in each wheel. This affords the two wheels to move independently from one another and accelerate at different speeds.
It also allows you, as a rider, to be able to turn. If not, that won’t be possible and that’s where the fun of the ride is lurked in.
These gyroscopes are also what feels the level of the earth. Each wheel works with sensors which helps to read the speed (rpm). This allows the hoverboard to be able to tilt whenever you are riding. It is this kind of information that the gyroscopes receive and process for action.
The wheel is not just a wheel, neither is it an inconsequential part of the hoverboard. They have tremendous value just behind the scene.
4. Pressure Pads
There are pressure pads on the hoverboard, and there are two switches on each side. They are that area on top of your hoverboard. It is where the rider puts the feat.
The switches on each side of the hoverboard are used to detect how you move on it. Underneath these pressure pads are two different rubber pieces. They work in consonance with the gyroscopes as switches.
When you step on top of the hoverboard as a rider, the pads are pushed into two rubber triggers. That breaks the infrared LED sensor and that’s the signal it gives to the logic board that a rider is on it and begins balancing.
When you lean forward, it lets the front switch be pushed down. There is a break between an infrared LED and an infrared sensor. If sensor continues to detect light, the motherboard will signal the motors to remain still.
Immediately the light is interrupted because of the switch being pushed down your weight or movement, the board signals to the motor to then spin in your preferred, particular direction.
So, if you are turning left, the front switch on the right activates, this sends information to the right wheel to move forward. Also, if you are turning right, the back switch on the left side activates, sending information to the left wheel to move backward.
5. Remote Control
Just a quick mention here, as it is not really a core part. However, with consistent new inventions, some hoverboards come with a remote control.
What the remote does is to give you the ability to lock down the hoverboard when it is not in use. It can also regulate the modes for your hoverboard that helps in the usage in view of your current approach to it. One of such is having a beginner’s mode.
In view of these important parts and explanations given above, you realize quickly that every hoverboard is built in a way such that each of its wheels possess its own gyroscope and speed sensor.
Those are placed just below the hoverboard’s frame where you would place your feet. Once that happens, the gyroscope sends data to the logic board which determines whether your ride will be tilted ahead or backward.
When there is no movement or tilting, the infrared LED sensor which is underneath your foot placement does not send any data to your board. Due to this, there is no movement, nor does the motor run.
Interestingly, every wheel responds to its own gyroscope for it to make any turn. If you want to turn left, you move the right leg ahead. That moves the right wheel and keeps the motor of the left wheel off. This is the same for a right turn. If you want to turn right, you move the left leg ahead. This moves the left wheel and keeps the motor of the right wheel off.
Required Components To Build A Hoverboard
Aside these major components listed above, there are also several other components that hoverboards are equipped with. All of them also have a function in how it works and operates. There is, of course, a more extensive list of components required to build a hoverboard from the scratch up.
These components are:
- Pressure pads
- LED lights
- Charging port
- Power switch
- Two infrared sensors
- Control board
- Gyroscope (2)
- Steel frame
- Central pivot
According to Shah, if you plan on building your own Hoverboard, the major items you would need to construct it are:
- A Logic Board
- Two Wheels
- Two Gyroscopes
- A strong Frame with central Pivot (preferably steel)
- Two Motors, Two IR Sensors
- Two tilt/speed sensors
- A Power Switch
- A Plastic Shell
- A Battery pack
- Charging port
All these components must apparently be used together for the hoverboard to work. Every individual part plays a critical role in how you can be comfortable in standing on a hoverboard and effortlessly glide around on it.
In conclusion, whether you are building a hoverboard of your own or buying a new one, endeavor to keep at basic hoverboard safety tips and precautions. Make sure your “little toy” is of great quality, always wear your safety gear, and never treat it as a skateboard.