Regeneration epiphany!

  • Alright not so much an epiphany, but a couple weeks ago the roads cleared up just enough to finally get in a ride with my roommate and his new board he bought just before Christmas (winter in NH so anticipation has been killing him. And me for that matter. After a few hundred solo miles under my belt within a couple months, I couldn't wait to not have to try explaining the experience I just had every ride)
    Ok all that really boils down to is we got it IN that ride. So much so, that I finally ran the battery all the way down. After I fought the final pushback as long as possible, it died and I did a little nosedive. I got tired of carrying the ol girl pretty quickly and still had a ways to go so I powered it up again and road out the pushback as far as it would go, again. This time I knew she was beat, and still had to walk further than desired :(

    Now the juicy part. I've gotten into the habit of cleaning off my deck/wheel by standing her straight up and stepping downward on the wheel all quick like to clear rubble out of the tire. This time I noticed something. I noticed it before and paid no mind, but this time was different. It was dark out this time, and I think because of the current situation, the bulb in my head lit up - as did the blue power indicator on the side of my Onewheel. So I kicked down again. And again. And again. Then I paused to explain to my friend what I thought I may have discovered. I continued kicking down on the wheel for a few minutes until I decided I didn't want to push my theory too far, just in case... Moment of truth upon me, I fire her up. Power!?! I quickly hop on. No immediate safety pushback!?! I turn on the gas in disbelief/amazement, quickly realizing that even if I had just had a minor breakthrough that it wouldn't last long. Down the road some ways the last dying breath of a pushback engaged and I was able to ride it out safely into my driveway!

    I'm no electrical engineer or anything, and haven't been back out again to tinker/experiment more. My thought after seeing my lifeless board light up after swift downward kicks was that it was similar to the regeneration from braking or even a windmill? And if so, technically it would be possible to put a spindle on the end of a drill, secure it against the tire and let it rip in a power "emergency". Or if stranded, do as I did for longer than 5 minutes and create your own power to press on? The only thing I'm worried about is that too much of this might be harmful to the batteries or even the motor. Surely I can't be the first rider to raise this question

  • @Christofire This is the "regenerative braking" feature that regenerates electricity when you are going downhill. You rotating the tire with your foot it essentially simulating the same regeneration you'd experience while going down an incline. It's an intended feature of the board! Apparently there's a 30% efficiency with the regeneration.

  • This is one of those things that seems so obvious in hindsight

  • That's what I mean ^^^ I knew about the regenerative braking concept from day one. I've also been completely obsessed since the day I got my Onewheel. After scouring the web and soaking up everything I have from forum discussions, what surprises me is that this hasn't been mentioned/questioned/tested...

  • @Christofire Yeah this is a pretty amazing feature that appears to be hardwired into the OneWheel. For instance check out this video from Mike Tavares:

    You will notice that he took a tram up to the top and then bombs downhill the whole way. In the comments section someone asked:

    "What kind of mileage do you get out of a charge on that terrain and mainly headed down? Do you find the battery getting charged much via regenerative breaking?"

    Mike Responds with this little nugget:
    "+Tim Quernemoen really excellent re charging on the downhill in this type of terrain. on this trip, I actually had to ride back uphill on some of the service roads to burn down some of the battery. At the bottom, I was at 100 Percent."

    On page 04-33 of the Onewheel owners manual it makes mention of this feature:

    When the battery is fully charged and you continue to charge it through regenerative braking (e.g. traveling downhill), you may experience “Full-Battery Push Back.” This is to prevent overcharging the battery cells. If this happens, simply switch your Onewheel OFF and ON again and travel up the hill for a few moments to expend some of the charge. You will now be able to continue riding downhill."

  • I rode up hill from my house about 2.5 miles. Very steep at times. At the top I checked my charge and had less than 10 percent left. I turned around then and when I got home I had about the same % of charge left if not a bit more.

  • Like I'm pretty sure that one attempt proved it was possible and indeed worked. There's plenty of big brains in here that could further "quantify", without just reading a cool feature off of the box ;) I wanna know what type of stress/effect it may have on parts of the board...ok to do every once in a while when in a jam? Something that could be utilized to extend trips deep into the unknown with no backup power or worry of running out of gas? How much is too much? Is there too much? In the long run kicking down over and over again on the tire seems handy in an emergency, but primitive if this is indeed a viable solution to some of our Onewheel rider woes. Then we could all pool our thoughts and ideas to develop some sort of tool to benefit mankind :) My first thought was in the direction of something like a power drill with some sort of spool clamped against the wheel. Now I'm wondering if there's something we could come up with similar to fire starting techniques. A small kit of rope, pulleys, or whatever to keep on you that would simplify the technique/energy necessary to achieve recharging...

  • Doesn't the power need to be on for the regeneration to happen? For example, when the power is off, the wheel spins freely. But when it is on, that is when it is harder to turn the wheel and I imagine when it would actually be doing the work of regeneration. So if it's totally dead, can this still work? Do you need to leave just enough battery power to turn it on? Or just never turn it off as it dies and that's good enough?

  • Just for shits and giggles I went to a parking garage and did a lil experiment. There was 6 floors and had a spiral exit going downhill. I went down all 6 floors braking and all I saw was 1% battery charge. I did this test twice and saw the same results.

    Yes, onewheel has regenerative braking but doesn't return as much energy as one may think. You would have to be going downhill for quite some distance for it to be substantial.

  • It's not so much that it's adding tons of extra miles but the miles you do while going down hill are essentially free. As I mentioned above, I rode around 2.5 miles downhill with less that 10% to start. Even going down hill uses power, it's not all profit. If there was no regen braking you would be loosing power going down hill. So you not only powered the board for that time/distance but also gained some credit.

    A portable charging solution is not that heavy, probably lighter than that electric drill and whatever else is needed to try and spin the tire to charge it. Results are better too. Check out the solar charge controller solution in the "Help ask Andy to build this sh*t" thread.

  • @wr420 I pre-ordered this thing, if it ends up being legit, it might be the new standard for portable power, until the Andy project is finished

  • @StokeOnTheWater like i said, I ran the thing completely dry. Twice actually before discovering this (while power was off) I also thought the power would have to be on and it would need the friction from a rider braking to create the juice. Go ahead and stand your board up without power and roll that free wheel down and you'll see the blue power indicator light up briefly

  • @No I really hope the Plug works! If so I'm getting one for sure!

  • I hope the Plug's DC to AC converter is more efficient than their other depth customer review:

  • Still voting for the solar controller as a better option because there is less converting. The Plug takes DC, converts to A/C, then charger takes AC and converts to DC. Got to be losses there. Solar charger just up converts DC to DC. Some loss sure, but can't be as bad as going from dc->ac->dc.

    The Plug would be better if it had straight DC out of the battery. What also has me concerned is that on their site they show a CAD renderingof the battery and it only shows 16 Cels. Not sure how accurate that is though if they are claiming 50Ah.

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