Building My First Electric Longboard

6 Sep 2022
Man longboarding the old-fashioned way.

A couple years ago a close friend convinced me to convert my Landyachtz pintail longboard into an electric longboard. Here is a quick overview of how I did it. In the future when I inevitably build another one then I will write a step-by-step guide with my thought process behind every decision.

Project Constraints

I had the following constraints for my first electric longboard:


Some things had to be researched and decided on before ordering parts:

Final Requirements

For the sake of simplicity, ease of assembly and low cost here were my final requirements for the design:


An electric longboard with a single motor would drive down the overall cost of the system. I also felt that a front wheel drive design with the motor pointing inwards towards the center would not only help with the overall aesthetics of the final product but it would also feel more natural under my feet when the board pulls you forward as you engage the throttle on the Bluetooth remote control. It would also be a lot simpler to assemble.

I went with the belt drive because of three reasons: a) there existed ready-made sets of wheel pulleys, motor pulleys, and belts to choose from, b) they were very reasonably priced and c) it is much quieter than the chain drive. The downside of the belt drive is that it is not always a one-size-fits-all even when the math checks out. Sometimes you just can't get the belt to remain perfectly seated or it might be just a little too loose and will need to be constantly adjusted after a couple rides. But I was willing to live with that.

Finally, after playing around and plugging in some numbers to I was able to figure out the characteristics of the batteries that I'd need. Typically for my specific use case I'm looking at LiPo batteries since they are already popular for other hobbies such as RC cars and quadcopters.

Plugging and chugging numbers into the online esk8 calculator isn't a perfect science. You'll need to know the type of battery, number of cells, motor KV, motor efficiency, motor pulley teeth, wheel pulley teeth, and wheel size. The website will automatically calculate the battery voltage, motor RPM, gear ratio, and top speed. So if you're not hitting your desired top theoritcal speed then you can adjust any of the parameters and see which one will have the greatest effect and you can use some critical thinking to figure out which is most cost-effective (i.e. bigger wheels, bigger battery, or better motor).

Calculating Range

Using the following formula I can calculate the top theoretical range based on my parts:

( (Nominal voltage of battery) x (Number of cells) x (Amp-hours) ) / 10 = # of kilometers

For example:

My battery configuration is two LiPo battery packs in series which gives me 10s1p - meaning 10 cells in series and 1 in parallel. The battery also provides us with 5Ah. Lastly, the nominal voltage of a LiPo battery cell is 3.7V.

( (3.7V) x (10s) x (5Ah) ) / 10 = 185Wh / 10 = 18.5 km = 11.56 miles

Since 11.56 miles is more than 10 miles then the two LiPo batteries in series configuration meets my requirements.

If I wanted to double my range I could get another two LiPo battery packs for a total of four. I'd first hook up two batteries in parallel, twice, which gives us 5s2p twice. Then I'd hook up both of those in series which gives us 10s2p once. Connecting the batteries in parallel also doubles the capacity to 10Ah.

( (3.7V) x (10s) x (10Ah) ) / 10 = 370Wh / 10 = 37 km = 23.125 miles

The only problem with doubling range is that my longboard deck might not have the space to accomodate the two extra batteries. And the board would weigh more (these batteries are heavy!).


It makes sense to know how you're going to connect things. You know there's a motor, a couple batteries, a VESC, the Bluetooth receiver, a power switch, and the belt drive.

You'll learn how to connect everything by researching components, figuring out what inputs/outputs they come with, what are the constraints like if the motor has a maximum power and/or loading charge capacity, which it does ;).

The VESC in all it's glory.
VESC to Receiver.
Connecting the Bluetooth receiver to the VESC.
ESK8 System.
Connect it like this. Results may vary.

If you want to earn extra credit you can splice in a cheap digital voltmeter between the batteries and on/off switch to display the system voltage everytime you power on the board. Highly recommended.

Bill of Materials

This is the initial list of required parts I came up with:

Part Part Name Amount Cost Per Part
Longboard Deck Any pintail 1 ~$50-200
Batteries Turnigy 5000mAh 5S 18.5V 25C 35C 2 $60
Battery Charger ACDC LiPo NiMh Battery Balance Charger 1 $55
VESC Torque ESC BLDC DIYElectric 1 $85
Power Switch N/A 1 $40
Motor RC Turnigy 6374-149kv Brushless 2250W 1 $90
Motor Mount Caliber II Motor Mount 63mm 1 $15
Trucks Caliber Trucks Cal II 50 1 $40
Wheels Orangatang Kegel 80mm, 77a (4x) 1 $60
Bearings Bones Reds 1 $10
Wheel Pulley 36T 12mm 1 $37
Motor Pulley 16T 12mm 1 $15
Belt 265mm 12mm 1 $8
Remote RC Nano 1 $60
Enclosure Enclosure 1 $10
Industrial Strength Velcro N/A 1 $10
Loctite Thread Locker Blue N/A 1 $10
Liquid Electrical Tape N/A 1 $10
Total: ~$725-875

Other useful things to have:

Steps for Assembly

  1. Cover VESC 3-pin with liquid electrical tape
  2. Solder new 5.5mm connectors onto motor
  3. Install new trucks onto deck
  4. Mount bearings into wheels
  5. Install drive train (aka the belt drive)
  6. Mount motor
  7. Connect batteries to series conenctor
  8. Connect series connector to power switch
  9. Connect power switch to VESC
  10. Put heatshrink onto motor leads
  11. Connect motor leads to VESC
  12. Download VESC tool
  13. Connect VESC to PC
  14. Configure VESC
  15. Charge batteries to max (21V per pack for total of 42V in series)
  16. Connect transmitter/receiver to VESC
  17. Drill enclosure to deck
  18. Mount/install electronics into enclosure
  19. Install/connect digital voltmeter for that sweet extra credit
  20. Test the system. Reconfigure VESC as needed.
  21. Take it for a ride.

Pictures of My Build

I've since transferred all components onto my Honey Skateboard deck which is a few inches longer than the Landyachtz (42" versus 36") for additional stability at higher speeds, so these are the only pictures I have of the original build.

My Electric Longboard.

Future Upgrades

Things I'd do differently when I build a new board: