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Build an electric go-kart on a budget with Arduino

Build an electric go-kart on a budget with Arduino

Growing up, there was nothing cooler than hopping in a go-kart for a quick spin around the neighborhood. But you know what would make it even cooler? If you built your own electric set of wheels. That’s exactly what two engineering students, Adrian Georgescu and Masoud Johnson, have done using commonly available components along with a secondhand frame they picked up for $125 and a few Arduino.

Although they initially targeted a motor power output of 3kW, they were unable to find any that fit their budget. So as any true Makers would do, the duo settled on creating one out of an old Subaru alternator instead. Price tag? $30.

For the rest of their project, Georgescu and Johnson used an electric scooter’s three-phase motor controller, three LiPo battery packs, a trio of Arduino Pro Minis, and an Arduino Mega. The Arduinos are tasked with throttle control, speed sensing, RPM measurement, and transmitting the data over to a virtual dashboard on an Android app.

To finish off the build, the students reupholstered the seat, painted the chassis red and black, and threw on 60 LEDs. You can see the end result in action below, as the e-kart reaches a top speed of roughly 33mph (53km/h).