Picture of SITWAY
You are never to old to learn and try new things. I think one of the best days in my life was the day I discovered the Instructables web site. It opened up a whole new world to me. This is my third instructable . I really enjoy building anything that I can ride on or get in to.
I bought an Arduino Uno and was planning on building a balancing Robot. I was really impressed with the Balancing Skate Board that was published by Xenon John. It had most of the code that I would need to build a balancing something. That something evolved from a Robot to a Sit Down Segway clone, which I named the SITWAY. I want to at this time thank John for all the help and patience he showed me in building and testing this ible.

This is my second project involving a discarded electric wheel chair. The motors have great torque and are very reliable. They use 24 volts and have great range using two U1 type garden tractor batteries. You can't go any cheaper than that. 

The build went pretty smoothly. Thankfully Xenon John pitched in and helped me modify his code to work with my wheel chair motors.
After running all the tests I felt were needed I elected to have a young neighbor take the first ride. It turned out to be a real blast. So far eight or ten people have ridden it, the youngest being 12, and the oldest 81 (me). The training wheels limit the speed by limiting the forward tilt. I plan to keep the rear training wheels on permanently because I don't need a lot o speed going backwards.

The SITWAY appears to be pretty safe, but it does not have all the built in backup systems that a real Segway has, I have only tested it on my smooth driveway at this time. I have driven over small objects, and it still stayed stable..Any one can learn to drive it in about 5 or10 minutes. With all the testing and driving we have done I have yet had to charge the batteries. The original wheel chair had a published range of 20 miles.. HAVE FUN!!!

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the name is as good as the product

aida.cambas27 days ago

as you say: we are never too old to get amazed! Congratulations! Great project! Instructables also opened a new and extraordinary world to me!

Really crazy..!

I wish my grandpa was a maker too!!

that's clever, how does it stay up though?

JLUIS885 months ago

If anyone is experiencing problems communicating with the Sabertooth could be the use of the SaberSerial.print instruction. You can try with SaberSerial.write instead. It happened to us...

Great Instructable!

Altcoinsguide6 months ago

Wonderful project, and what a wonderful workshop you have!

incognito02886 months ago
great Instructable! ! I was happy to see you guys wearing a helmet. keep up the good work, can't wait to see your next project.
charlie826511 months ago


Great Instructable! I have made a similar segway type unit using wheelchair motors. I cannot get it to balance by its self. Can you tell me what PID parameters you used to get yours to balance?

Thanks Charlie

anooooos11 months ago


Awesome work sir!! I am really happy to see you putting your experience for such innovative work & sharing it with people.
I am trying to build a self balancing scooter for my son, But here in India I am not able to find Sabertooth 2X25. So trying to figure out a way using high power transistors (2N3055) to drive motor. Will share the details once I am through with it.
I wanted to know how is the motor connected to the wheels. If possible please share the images of motor connected to wheels & also the specifications of the motor.
Once again thanks for sharing.

The motor and wheel are all in one unit from a powered wheelchair. There is also a gearbox included in this mechanism which means the motors spin quickly but the wheels turn slowly (but with a lot of turning force). If you can find a powered wheelchair to look at you will see what I mean.

Thank you very much sir!
XenonJohn1 year ago

Hi all,

The analog output IMU's are proving to be very hard to find now. I have finally managed to get a self-balancer working with a DIGITAL IMU that is easily available from Sparkfun. I have used snippets of code from all over the web to get it to work. I posted an Instructable on it here, with Arduino code, in case it helps anyone who is unable to obtain one of the older IMU's. Have tested it on my self-balance skateboard and it works fine.


pabz961 year ago
hi we Ecuador mechatronics students interested in your project we design and the programming code as we need for a project grade so beneficent a donation
I built a stand up segway based off this code and everything works except that when it goes forward, it will eventually slow down and not keep a constant speed although I'm still leaning forward. any ideas on what values I can modify to fix this?
N_Settle912 years ago
Mickydee I'd like to thank you and Xenon John both for two great instructables. As an Electrical Engineering student the Sitway seemed like an awesome project. I still have to build my frame, but i have all my electronics wired up on a test board to work out the code before building the frame. For those who are looking for a replacement for the sparkfun 5 dof IMU I have found one, the balance point isn't quite the same but it is almost plug and play with your code. Here is the IMU I am using
Have just added a link to that IMU to my Instructable. Thank you very much for finding it. Many people are having trouble getting hold of analog IMU's so this will help them a lot.

eyhseow1 year ago
Dear Mickydee

I have just bulid the hardware for self balancing electric skateboard using Arduino Uno to control with 5DOF IMU (IDG655 ADXL33). I have encouter some problems: -
1. When I tilted the scooter too much, it will fly off. Is there any code in the program to prevent the scooter from flying off if it is tilt too much?
2. When the scooter fly off, it took quite a bit of time to ‘recover’ to it balancing position if I were to tilt it to the opposite direction. Anywhere in the code where I can change to have the scooter tilt back faster?

I am using code from XenoJohn from instructables website. Please help.

akeonly2 years ago
After half an hour reading your instructables, I have to say you're awesome in Thai. สุดยอด!
seadoogsx2 years ago
Hi Mickydee,
Sparkfun IMU Part # SEN-11072 is retired now 03/18/2013. I'm very appreciated if you have other to replace it. Thanks
rlarios2 years ago
Nice job, sir ! I read the book about the development of segway which was very descriptive with all aspects of it. There's a lot of work on something like this and I can only say that you are awesome !
mickydee (author)  rlarios2 years ago
Thank you very much. I appreciate your thoughts. This is a great community, and every one seems to work together. This is my first attempt at a self balancing project, and I owe most of my success to Xenon John and his balancing skateboard and his software.
seadoogsx2 years ago
Hello Mickydee,
I read your project and very impressive to me. Today is 03/14/2013. I can not find 5 degrees of freedom IMU from SparkFun. I already have wheel chair motor, Arduino Uno, Sabertooth 2X25 etc... Can you help me, where can I find 5 degrees of freedom IMU or something replace it. And the code to work with.
Thanks, have nice day.
mickydee (author)  seadoogsx2 years ago
Xenon John has researched this problem and says that Sparkfun is now stocking a replacement IMU Part # SEN-11072. He says that it will work perfectly with the existing code. I am going to order one and try it out.
Good luck on your project. I am working on an improved machine and it should be ready soon
startree2 years ago
so very cool!! I need to learn about arduino so I can make stuff like this - especially for my aging parents. They'd be way too proud to use a wheelchair but this might just be the thing...
(removed by author or community request)
It's disappointing to see comments like this in Instructables. Surely you can see that it's for people who rise to challenges, technical or otherwise, and enjoy sharing the journey.
I know, I was just making a joke. I realize now that it was not a nice comment to post. sorry about that.
I am a disabled vet. I tried to do some camping / hiking with my wife and daughter on several occasions and have been demoralized with having to have to two carry me back - literally! I am not ready to throw the towel in and go with a power scooter or wheel chair. I am currently trying to build my own Segway Clone and have everything except the Sabertooth Motor controller which is another issue and the matter of money. This "Sitdown" idea of a Segway will actually be very helpful in my case. I still concider myself young, but have a spinal injury that has forced me from standing (let alone hiking or going out to the state parks which I love). This "Sitdows" SgWay Clone is an awesome idea , Thank You Mickydee! Awesome Job!
Have just built a segway clone with a unicycle seat on it and handlebars.

One issue with a seat is that if you fall off because it tips forwards, you can just jump off forwards and end up standing on ground, holding handlebars low, below the level of your waist, with the rest of the segway behind you. So far so good.

Problem is, as this happens, the seat punches you in the back!

This maybe why regular Segway does not have a seat. Good example of why you have to eventually build something to find these sorts of things out.

Maybe I need a very well sprung long-travel telescopic seat mount.................

mickydee (author)  joegeek3 years ago
I think the Sabertooth is worth waiting for.I looked into building my own controller and found that the parts would be almost as much as buying the Sabertooth. Plus you get the many choices of input , from PWM (for RC control) to the adjustable serial input used by this project.
REMEMBER this is not a full fledged Segway with all it's back-up circuits, so it will not be as stable in rough conditions such as the woods or trail riding.
It is a fun project though and can give you hours of fun building, testing , and riding.
Thanks for the comment
Your joke is funny, but joegeek has a point that it is good for disabled people.
You obviously are young enough to not have back problems.
Why is the motor driver so expensive, and why can't you use one under $30 like the official motor shield?
mickydee (author)  4lifenerdfighter2 years ago
These motors draw around 15 amps at peak. Even if you use the 350 watt Chinese motors you will have the same problem. The cheaper shields will only tolerate around 2 amps. Also the Sabertooth has so many options that make your life easier. I thought about building my own drivers but the parts alone would cost almost as much.
If you are going to build this I would suggest you bite the bullet and buy the Sabertooth.
mahsa arian2 years ago
realy good
Congrats on being a finalist!
Great job - You've also inspired me (69) to post some of my projects!
I also have a wheelchair I got at a garage sale with very similar wheels and motors to yours and would like to construct a "Sitway". However, when I turn the wheels there's about 5 degrees of "slop" before they engage the motor/gearbox, and I'm thinking that there's no way it can maintain stability with that much slop. Do your wheels have that much slop?

mickydee (author)  esotericeric3 years ago
I have some "slop", but not as much as you are experiencing. Mine seems to achieve a stable balance.
I built this thing as a low cost project, and that is the reason for using the used wheelchair . If you want to get tighter balance you should use a chain drive system.
I have thought about repacking the gear box with heavy grease to smooth out the
gear lash. I plan to rebuild mine using a chain drive system and larger wheels.
This was my first attempt at building a "self balancing" vehicle, and am learning as I go. It's a fun project. Go for it. You wont be sorry
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