Wanting to use an electric mountainboard when traveling outside the US, Dane Kouttron – or Transistor Man – decided to build one that could fit in an overhead luggage compartment on passenger aircraft. The three-wheeled Mountain-Slider can fit in a backpack in transit mode, then opens up like a drawer when the rider wants to hop on and move.
A well-used four-wheeled rugged terrain board was sacrificed for the Mountain-Slider project. The deck with foot grabs was removed and only the front trucks/wheels retained. Pretty much everything else on the electric board is new to the build, with the custom design modeled in CAD software before any bench work was undertaken.
Instead of two rear wheels, Kouttron chose to go with a single chunky wheel back and center, which is home to a 300 W hub motor. The front wheel assembly has been mounted to its own mini deck, and the rear wheel also got its own mini deck complete with wheel guard to prevent a stray foot from jamming the wheel. Heavy duty metal drawer sliders were created and installed between the front and rear aluminum decks, with cam-lock levers securing the rails in place.
The electronics were housed in the rear section, including off-the-shelf 40 V LiFePO4 battery module (in 3D-printed housing) and motor controller. "The 2 Ah battery comes in at 74 watt-hours, which makes it easy to bring on a plane in carry-on luggage," said Kouttron.
This was later found to offer about 3 miles of range between charges, which isn't much, but the idea behind the project was to take the Mountain-Slider on international flights – which he did – so he didn't want to risk it falling foul of regulations and the e-board having to be left behind. On the plus side, he reckons that it only takes an hour to fully recharge.
Kouttron also opted to secure the battery pack in place using Velcro, to allow for some flexibility. "As it turns out there is a 4 Ah version of this battery, which, is most likely just a 10S2P version of this pack," he explained. "It's a bit taller but the same height and width dimensions. Having extra Velcro space should work well as an adjustable battery holster. The 4 Ah version is not quite plane-able on overseas flights, but is allowable as it is under the 160 watt-hour limit for travel in the States (146 watt-hours). I grabbed a used pack for $40. This could net over 8 miles of range."
The Velcro also means that if a spare is carried, battery packs can be swapped out during rides.
An LED light was installed behind the front trucks, which had to be powered from the battery at the back. So a curly/coiled wire was used to connect the two. Finally, a Tactic TR326 wireless controller, with some extra waterproofing, was chosen to control the Mountain-Slider. This unit has three RC channels, which allowed for remote activation of the headlight.
The e-board has been tested on paths, trails and skate parks, where it comfortably reached 11-12 mph, but managed to go slightly over 13 mph on occasion (or over 14 mph with the 4 Ah battery pack installed).
Kouttron has a detailed build diary on his Transistor Man website, should traveling e-boarders want to have a crack at making their own. You can see the Mountain-Slider in action in the video below.