Hack! Electronic Dropper Seatpost Made from Maverick Speedball

Velo Plus employee Manuel Maier hacks together an electronic dropper seatpost

Velo Plus employee Manuel Maier has hacked together an power drill motor, Lupine light battery and some buttons to create an electronic dropper seatpost.

He told us the actuation time from top to bottom is around 2-3 seconds. It’s controlled via a switch on the left that flips the current so the post will go up or down, and a button on the right to send the current to the motor. Before anyone even says it’s a slow, inelegant system, know this: It’s only version 1.0. He’s already working out improvements for the system.

Push that button and drop below the break for more…

Velo Plus employee Manuel Maier hacks together an electronic dropper seatpost

Velo Plus employee Manuel Maier hacks together an electronic dropper seatpost

The motor drives and achieves 75-80mm of travel, but Maier says that can be increased. It’s built into a no-longer-offered Maverick Speedball adjustable height post and drives a threaded axle through a fixed “bolt” in the top part. The axle has bearings to keep it in place and spinning freely.

Velo Plus employee Manuel Maier hacks together an electronic dropper seatpost

Where could this go? The first thing that comes to our mind is building something into the smooth, minimalist Fox iRD lever and use a Di2 battery…if it could deliver the power necessary to drive a motor like this.

Actually, Maier told us he did have a smaller battery hidden in the seat tube until accidentally shorting it out, now it’s external and borrowed from a Lupine lightset. Among other features, he’s working on a smaller, single sided control unit that uses two simple buttons, one for up and one for down. He’s also working on adding programmed stops throughout the travel.

Comments

Duder - 10/04/12 - 9:44pm

Ask the guys in Wisconsin about electronic dropper posts…

Werdna - 10/04/12 - 9:45pm

Still more reliable than a Joplin or Kronolog.

aj - 10/04/12 - 10:18pm

This is very cool. How would the weight of just the post compare? Could it work wile the rider is seated? Keep working on it.

berlow94 - 10/04/12 - 10:23pm

yup!!! ^^^

Topmounter - 10/05/12 - 1:05am

Seems like a whole lot of trouble just to adjust your saddle.

JimmyZ - 10/05/12 - 1:24am

I’m going to add electrocution to the list of risks I associate with dropper posts, alongside unintended rise and drop. full disclosure: I use a joplin and a blacklite on my bikes.

gambler - 10/05/12 - 3:09am

there is a reason why office chairs don’t use electro motors but gas springs!!

ds - 10/05/12 - 6:01am

It is the start. Why not use electronics to control the lockout mechanism of the spring ? It would be far easier and reliable (and much less battery consumed).

-JimmyZ, come on there is no risk of balls electrocution with low or DC currents.
For the record we had three Joplins that where horrid and never we’ll never goes this road again. NEVER !
All our Joplins doesn’t lock when you lift the saddle, plus with time it leaks oil and drops 1 inch when not totally lowered so. Using Specialized POST and Reverb – when well installed, no problems.

nsp234 - 10/05/12 - 8:12am

This product segment needs a lot of innovation, so be happy for any innovation – you never know what this triggers…

For the actual solution here I’m also a bit skeptical. An already heavy seatpost gets heavier and probably less reliable and has only little travel. And 2-3 sec seem too slow for my taste. I want that saddle out of the way instantly.

But still – keep on pushing, keep on hacking!

SteezyD - 10/05/12 - 11:25am

Tip to Manuel if he happens to read this. Look into Brushless RC car motors to help increase the speed possibly?

Anyways.. good job and have fun! This really looks like a novel idea that could lead somewhere really cool!

EmilMP - 10/05/12 - 1:38pm

@gambler – This is NOT a office chair!!!
The brilliant thing about this concept is the ability to lover the seat without sitting. I’ve been thinking about how and if this would be possible for some time. When you are out of the saddle pushing the pedal towards a downhill section with the current offerings, you have to sit down and stop pedalling to get the seat down, before going into attack mode again.
And yes 2-3 seconds seems too slow and the controls is a bit confusing. But it should be possible to make both better…

fatguyonalittle - 10/06/12 - 8:54am

The real reason the office seat guys don’t/can’t use power is because they don’t have power to use… nobody wants a cord tying them to their desks… car seats can use power because they have power available… This innovation may lead to faster actuation, on the fly “seated up”, memory positions, etc, etc…

Great to see guys hacking and pushing! keep it up!

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