In the realm of DIY e-bikes, most designs tend to stand out due to visible motors, wires, and bulky batteries. However, some commercially available e-bikes are designed to blend in seamlessly with conventional bicycles. The Ampler Curt, an e-bike model from Estonian manufacturer Ampler, fits this description perfectly. With a discreet 36-volt, 350-watt hub motor concealed within the rear wheel, it closely resembles a standard bicycle. But BB8, an avid DIY enthusiast, took it upon themselves to replace the proprietary motor controller with an open-source VESC-based solution.
By adapting VESC, an open-source electric motor controller originally intended for various motor applications, BB8 managed to keep the e-bike’s aesthetics intact. The VESC controller was ingeniously housed within the bike’s downtube to maintain its stealthy appearance. This modification enabled the e-bike to reach speeds of around 35 kph, enhancing its performance. Furthermore, BB8 implemented a unique feature that turned on the bike’s lights when the pedals were spun backward. This method also allowed users to change the pedal assist level without the need for additional buttons or handlebar-mounted user interfaces.
While BB8’s work on this open-source motor controller represents a significant step towards customization and repairability, there’s still room for improvement. The current system doesn’t support torque sensing pedals included with the Ampler Curt, indicating that further development may be needed. Nevertheless, the prospect of this open-source solution finding its way into other proprietary e-bike systems holds promise, offering increased sustainability and longevity for e-bike owners, even when manufacturers discontinue support for older models.
Read more: An Open-Source Ebike Motor Controller