DIY - WiFi Controlled RGB Illuminated Skateboard

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About: I'm an IT professional, maker, hobbyist, really like to make different things with kids and play/test with them in a spare time.

This project was made do change the boring LED illuminated wheels on skateboards, e.g. penny board cruisers, that produced in series. Such boards has 3 LEDs in the each wheel that emitting the same light when you riding. I decided to create the custom solution with WiFi controlled LED lights. To achieve this I designed solution with hardware and software parts. Software part is the similar to the previous project that I have used, with lots of advantages, like autonomous (WiFi AP) mode with autoplay loop. There is no need to say a lot about software and copy the same information, it described in details in this instructable created by me. Hardware part is exclusive, so let's focus on it in details.

Pros and cons for such solution are listed below.

Pros:

• Doesn't require to break or change the construction of the skateboard

• Could be mounted/removed to/from the skateboard in less than 5 minutes

• Quite easy to make it, could be done in less than one day, including the 3D printing and PCB cutting

• Fully customisable effects for LED illuminated Wheels with WiFi control and more

Cons:

• There is no obvious cons in this solution, only water puddles on the road could bring some troubles, but after drying - everything will back to normal.

Supplies:

• 1 x Penny board, better to get with transparent wheels

• 1 x Wemos D1 Mini

• 40 pixels (4 x 10 LEDs pieces) of the high pixel density WS2811 LED stripe, e.g. 144 pixels/m like this one

• 4 x M3x6mm screws

• 4 x M3 locking nuts

• 6 x springs from the broken gas lighters

• 1 x 1mm thick, small piece of the fiberglass PCB board

• 2 x basic wood pencils, HB is fine, but harder is better.

• 2 x flat Lithium battery with at least 2Ah capacity, 18650 also fine, if you have a room on deck where you can mount them

• 2 x voltage regulators, e.g. AMS1117 with 5.0V output, could be purchased here

• copper wires

• 3D printer

• soldering iron with supplies, screw driver, drill, drill bit with 0.5mm in diameter, files and etc

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Step 1: 3D Printing and Cutting

• 4 x Wheel LED Holder

• 2 x Contact Holders

• 4 x Wheel spacers

We have to deliver electricity and control signal to the wheels, somehow, so we have to cut from the copper plated PCB fiberglass, 4 x contact plates, sizes of that could be found on the attached to this step image. Gcode (.nc) file is a file that could be used with CNC router and 10˚ milling bit, in this case cutting the PCB board will take less than 2 minutes. If you decide to make it with the help of the drill, you have to cut inner and outer contours, other two contours have to be cut on 1/2 of the thick, just to split the tracks.

Step 2: Wiring and Code

Electric part of this project has 2 voltage regulators, with 5V output and 800mA current, which are cheap and perfect for powering 2 axels with LEDs and Wemos board.

On this step you can upload the sketch and data files to the Wemos board, connect the led stripe directly to your Wemos board and have a look how all of that works. This will be also helpful to test electric part in next steps.

Please Once code uploaded, take any device with WiFi, find the access point "MyPennyBoardxxxx" where xxx is the last numbers of your MAC address, connect to it with the password "11223344" which is set in the Secrets.h file.

Note: Please note that by default, I've set the password to "11223344", please change it the second line of the Secrets.h file.

Open the web browser on the connected device and type the http://192.168.4.1 in the address line, you have to see the web page, something like on the attached image.

Step 3: Assembling the Electric Brushes Holder

To get power and signal delivered to the wheels, we have to assemble the holder of the electric brushes. Make sure that springs are moving free with no jams and resistance inside of the holder. In case if there is any resistance - use a suitable drill bit to make the hole more smoothly.

– First of all, we need to solder the springs, that we've took from the broken gas lightres. Use flux to make the springs soldering much easier.

– Insert the springs to the holder and solder the wire to each of the springs. Length of the wire depends on deck length of your board

– Once that was done for the one axel, repeat for the second one.

Step 4: Prepare the Wheels and Axels

In this step we have to replace magnets which are the part of the build in generator in wheels and prepare tha axels for installation of the RGB lights.

- remove the wheel from the boards

- take the wheel and remove the bearing from one side

- remove the magnet and insert the spacer that we've printed in the previous step

- push the bearing back

- repeat this procedure with all wheels

That mini step is done.


Next

- take the contact plate and LED holder

- use a superglue to connect the contact plate and holder together, like on the attached image and left it dry for a few minutes

- push the holder inside the wheel, it have to be inserted with sensible resistance

Now we have to make sure that. there will be no touches and friction between the inner contact ring and axel.

To check this we have to put the wheel back and turn it a few times to make sure that it's turned free. If there is some contact, please use rod file and peel the metal to create a small groove, repeat with all wheels. Use image for the reference.

Step 5: Putting the Brushes Holder to the Chassis

Take the brushes holder, insert the nuts in it, screw the screws for a little bit.

Snap the holder to the axel and fix it tightly with the screws.

Repeat the same for the second axel.

This step is done.

Step 6: Inserting the LEDs Into the Wheels

This step is very important, and all project depends on it. We have to make sure that each electric brush is running on own track and not causing the short circuits.

– take the basic pencil and, with the help of the sharp knife, take out the carbon lead

– take 3 pieces of the carbon lead, ≈1.5 cm each

– insert them into the mounted electric brush holder

– put the wheel back and screw it with the nut

– turn the wheel a few times and let the carbon to draw the working path on the contact plate

– unmount the wheel and make sure that working path is clearly visible

– take out the LED holder from the wheel and drill the thin holes (0.5mm) between the tracks, like on the attached image

– stick the LED stipe to the holder.

Note:Seam on the stripe have to be oriented to the drilled holes

– thread trough the holes the wires and solder them to the contact plate and LED stripe.

Note: I've used outed circle for "–", inner for "+" and middle one for signal wire. Make sure that there is no short circuits on every action, it'll help you to save a ton of time and avoid debugging.


Insert the LED holder with soldered LEDs into the wheel, and repeat the same for all 4 wheels.

Note: Now you'll feel more resistance when you'll be putting the holder into the wheel, it's ok.

Step 7: Connecting All Parts Together

Not much left for this step. Here we have to connect all parts, that we've made in the previous steps, together and make sure that all of that works fine. Let's solder the power wires to the Wemos board, electric brush holders and battery, like on the wiring diagram. Put the couple of the wheels to the one axel and make sure that all works smoothly and with no glitches. Finish the assembly and fix the battery with other electric parts on the bottom side of the deck. Enjoy the night rides!

That's it.

Thank you for reading. Please do not hesitate to ask questions and share your makes

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