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Project #012 - Home Built Segway

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Updated 03/04/12

DISCLAIMER: This design is experimental, so if you decide to build one yourself then you are on your own, I can't be held responsible for any problems/issues/damage/injury that may occur if you decide to follow this build and make one yourself.

My home made Segway is sold!


Running about the streets on a Segway looks like fun but what looks even better is an off-road Segway, something with big chunky tyres and the ability to scoot around the forest trails and at speed! There are some terrific video's on YouTube which motivated me, and I've been looking for something substantial to get my teeth into next.

Having completed a small R&D phase building a balancing robot I've been able to test drive the concept in terms of both the hardware & software requirements.
Hardware = Gyro/accelerometer IMU's, PWM & RC Servo based DC motor drive.
Software = Gyro/Accelerometer DAQ, Kalman Filter, PID loop & DC motor control.

This thread will be updated as the project develops.


- Jazzy Wheelchair DC motors c/w wheels.
- 2off 12v 20Ah Ritar sealed lead acid batteries (series up to give 24v).
- Sabertooth 2x60amp Motor Driver (RC Servo control).
- Arduino Nano.
- Analogue version = Acc_Gyro: Accelerometer + Gyro IMU (from GadgetGangster).
- Digital version = Sparkfun Accelerator/Gyro SEN-10121.
- LCD = CatsWhisker TextStar P/N=CW-LCD-02/E



Sabertooth 2x60amp Motor Control Board:
PCB Switch:-
Switch 1 = DOWN = sets RC mode
Switch 2 = UP = sets RC mode
Switch 3 = Lithium cut-off = depends on what type batteries you use.
Switch 4 = UP = sets Mixed mode.
Switch 5 = UP = linear responce.
Switch 6 = DOWN = RC microcotroller mode

S1 = Motor Speed input
S2 = Motor direction input (steering)
With my Sabertooth 2x60amp board I found a bug in the firmware;
When power is applied the board defaults to analogue input mode for a second or two before the board powers up properly. This shows up with the motors activating uncontrollably at startup........You can see this in the "First Test Run" video below.
The answer, until the firmware is fixed, is to hold both S1 & S2 at 2.5vdc at startup which is the halt position for the inputs in analogue mode. This is easily done using a couple of resistors on each input, and luckily it doesn't upset the operation of the Arduino.
This problem only appears with the 2x60amp and not the 2x25amp boards.
Download a wiring diagram here, it's not 100% complete but does contain the working basics.


Put the RUN/STOP switch in RUN position and then you step on the footswitch (or vice versa). The LCD will show the balance point......could be -50 all the way to +50 for example.
Move the Segway to the vertical position and as it reaches around 0 (zero) the motors will be enabled. This is a safety interlock to stop the Segway taking-off when you stand on the footswitch.

If you want to make a brand new balance point position you can save to eeprom using the button.
Note: With a brand new Arduino the data saved for the vertical position could be anything/random......so you can hold down the BALANCE ZERO button when you apply power to the system and a nominal value will be written into the eeprom.


This version uses an analogue IMU communicating to the Arduino via analogue inputs.

3.3vdc must be applied to the Arduino Vref pin.

IMU = Inertia Measurement Unit - ACC_GYRO (GadgetGangster.com/213)
MCB - Motor Control Board
P/B = Push Button
PID = Proportional, Integral, Derivative Loop Control

Arduino I/O:

Analogue Inputs (0-3.3vdc):
A0 - Ax (from IMU - Accelerometer)
A1 - Balance zero potentiometer
A2 - Az (from IMU - Accelerometer)
A3 - Steering potentiometer
A4 - GY4 (from IMU - Gyro)
A5 - P (PID control) potentiometer
A6 - I (PID control) potentiometer
A7 - D (PID control) potentiometer

Digital I/O:
D0 -
D1 - LCD RS232 (Tx)
D2 - Encoder 1 (Motor) - not currently implemented
D3 - Encoder 2 (Motor) - not currently implemented
D4 - LED Red (power up motor drive inhibit)
D5 - LED Yellow (X-axis balance indication)
D6 - Motors enable Run/Stop from relay (footswitch)
D7 - Motors enable Run/Stop toggle switch
D8 - EEprom Save P/B switch
D9 - Buzzer (multi-purpose function, including power up motor drive inhibit indication)
D10 -
D11 - Motor Drive (RC Servo) to Motor Control Board
D12 - Motor Steering (RC Servo) to Motor Control Board
D13 -



This version uses a digital IMU communicating to the Arduino via I2C comms.

3.3vdc must be applied to the Arduino Vref pin.

IMU = Inertia Measurement Unit - Sparkfun SEN-10121
MCB - Motor Control Board
P/B = Push Button
PID = Proportional, Integral, Derivative Loop Control

Arduino I/O:

Analogue Inputs (0-3.3vdc):
A0 - D (PID control) potentiometer
A1 - Balance zero set potentiometer
A2 -
A3 - Steering potentiometer
A4 - I2C SDA
A5 - I2C SCL
A6 - I (PID control) set potentiometer
A7 - P (PID control) set potentiometer

Digital I/O:
D0 -
D1 - LCD RS232 (Tx)
D2 - Encoder 1 (Motor) - not currently implemented
D3 - Encoder 2 (Motor) - not currently implemented
D4 - LED Red (power up motor drive inhibit)
D5 - LED Yellow (X-axis balance indication)
D6 - Motors enable Run/Stop from relay (footswitch)
D7 - Motors enable Run/Stop toggle switch
D8 - EEprom Save P/B switch
D9 - Buzzer (multi-purpose function, including power up motor drive inhibit indication)
D10 -
D11 - Motor Drive (RC Servo) to Motor Control Board
D12 - Motor Steering (RC Servo) to Motor Control Board
D13 -


21/01/12 - Current Software Versions:

There are currently two versions, one for the analogue IMU and another for the digital IMU. At the moment both versions have the same level of functionality.

Analogue IMU
Version 1.15
Must use Arduino IDE 0022 (may work with 0023 but definitely not with 1,0 or later).
Download the Segway code here, and it's libraries here.

Digital IMU
Version 2.0 (not yet fully tested/optimized).
Must use Arduino IDE 1.0 (may work with 1.5 but definitely not with 0023 or earlier).
Download the Segway code here and it's libraries here.

Note on installing the Libraries:-
Unzip the library file and copy the two folders to \libraries folder where your Arduino IDE is located. A common problem is the Segway code not compiling properly due to incorrectly installed libraries.

Mods to date since V1.0 (latest towards bottom):
- Added EEprom for saving Balance Zero point.
- Code optimized a bit.
- Ability to force update of EEProm settings (when installing a new Arduino board for example).
- Better audible indication of power-up and aquired balance point.
- Indication on LCD during startup of good balance point before enable motors
- Bug fix on motor output: Torque range is actually -255 to 255.
- Tweaked the ADC clock on the Arduino to speed up AnalogRead's.
- Modified the main loop time, trying out values from 3mS to 20mS.....settled at 5mS.
- Optimized the code a bit in terms of the Control Panel.
- Tweaked the Karmin Filter setting to speed it up significantly.
- Remove the Balance Zero P/B and re-assigned it as EEprom Save.
- Added digital input to monitor external relay/footswitch.
- Added an averaging filter a to help combat oscillations & allow more PID gain.
- Speed up the reading of the sensors.
- Some more optimization & added full speed indication (buzzer).
- Fixed bug in sensor aquisition.
- Created a new digital IMU version 2.0 based on analogue IMU version 1.15. Uses Sparkfun SEN-10121 IMU.



15/01/12 - Test with large wheels.

With the knobbly tyres she runs a good bit better on the grass (frozen!).


YouTube version here.


07/01/12 - First back yard test of my Segway!

Still some code tweaks (loop scan time, PID, Kalman filter etc) to do, also some hardware to sort out.
No steering at the moment, the alloy shafted potentiometer broke!

There's a footswitch to enable the 24vdc throughout the system (safety feature) via a large relay, and one bug in the Motor Control Board is that when it powers up one of the motors turns about one wheel rotation, so I'll have to fix that.
The beeping you hear at startup is part of the power up cycle. The motors aren't enabled until the system knows the Segway is upright and at balance point. If it's not then you tilt the Segway back/forward until it is.

One other thing I noticed is that the Steering arm is a bit too far out infront of me so will have to fix that.


YouTube version here.



04/06/12 - Orientation of IMU's. Orientated with steering column to front as if standing on Segway.

Analogue IMU:-


Digital IMU:


12/01/12 - Fitted the wheel adaptors properly today. Aluminium billet cut to size & drilled to allow removal as normal from the outside. M8 steel bolts hold it together so it should be strong enough, and hopefully not too much more stress on the motor shafts.


09/01/12 - Test fitted the large wheels today.


06/01/12 - The new wheels arrived so a quick photo comparison.

The old & new both weigh exactly the same, 5.2kg so thats a bonus, however, I will need to make up a boss to get them to fit the DC motors.


05/01/12 - She's assembled!.........and just awaiting an alloy J/Box to house the electronics.


The batteries are fitted underneath via a couple of clamps. The centre of gravity is about as low as I could make it.


The potentiometer fitted to the steering arm along with a couple of spring loaded shock absorbers.
Truth be told I'm not impressed with the pot as it's got an alloy shaft. Whilst this will do for now I'd much rather have a steel shafted one so am on the lookout.


A heavy duty light action footswitch fitted which will control the master power via a relay.


Have ordered these puppies cheap via Ebay. Size = 16" dia, 8" wide. The original wheels are 12" dia, 3" wide.
The hubs look to be around the same mounting, just got the offset to worry about.


03/01/12 - Fitted labels to the Control Panel.


1/1/12 - Spent New Years Day in the shed!

Made up the T-bar c/w a small control panel. There's a 16x2 LCD, 3off LEDs, PID adjustment pots, balance zero adj. pot and a run/stop switch.
Note: The T-bar is only mocked-up on the base as yet. Still waiting on a long shaft potentiometer arriving for  the T-bar steering.


29/12/11 - I've started work on the metalwork with the main platform.

Here's me demo'ing my build so far. A key feature is the low centre of gravity, note the actual platform is below the axles.
Next to do will be to work on the battery mounts (under the base plate) and the T-bar steering mechanism.
(PS. No, the platform isn't bending under my weight.....it's camera lens distortion).


The wheelchair motors bolted on. If the truth be told the motors would be better standing upwards, but at this stage I need the space above the motors (via a wee platform) for the batteries, one per side. The electronics will go between my feet in the middle.
The wheels came with the motors and I plan to change them out for slightly bigger more chunky off-road types later on. The good thing is the hubs unbolt from the wheels so should be easy to retrofit on other wheels as and when.


Steel box section for the platform all welded up awaiting the 3mm alu plate.


Here's a mock of the steering mechanism. The vertical bar will pivot on a potentiometer shaft (long), and the spring return dampers ensure a return to centre. Note: The dampers came from Homebase, some parts I never used when I assembled a large plastic garden box!


This is a mock up of the pivot/mounting brackets which will be mounted at the front of the platform. They've still to be bent slightly to have the T-bar lean forward.



26/12/11 - Started the IMU/Arduino board & enclosure.




27/12/11 - First test of the IMU hooked up to the MCB and with a wheelchair motor attached.
I've started to modify the motor drive software so that it's suitable for the MCB since the balancing robot uses a different PWM method of control.



20/08/11 - Removed the solenoid brake (lock) and revealed a nice shaft from which I can attach a shaft encoder if need be.

15/05/11 - Jazzy 1103 Wheelchair DC motor. The wheel is from the original wheelchair and will do for testing, but the final wheel will have to be wider and chunkier for off-road use.


# 2013-09-25 05:48

di you can give me link to buy PARTS LIST

- Jazzy Wheelchair DC motors c/w wheels.
- 2off 12v 20Ah Ritar sealed lead acid batteries (series up to give 24v).
- Home built Motor Control Board (PWM control) or Sabertooth 2x60amp Motor Driver (RC Servo control).
- Analogue version = Acc_Gyro: Accelerometer + Gyro IMU (from GadgetGangster) .
- Digital version = Sparkfun Accelerator/Gyro SEN-10121.
- LCD = CatsWhisker TextStar P/N=CW-LCD-02/E
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# IanJ 2013-09-25 09:25
Most of the info is there if you google it except for the Jazzy Wheelchair motors which you may find on Ebay.
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# 2013-09-25 20:48
Why did you mount your motors vertically. Looks like they would take the same space if mounted horizonally and lower the center of gravity at the same time. I am the proud owner of a Jazzy 2000 wheel chair and we are disassembling it slowly. We are to the part where we have it all in pieces and working on removing the brakes from the motors.

I a thinking that we want to cut off part of the rear of the basic battery/motor housing and run the whole assembly backwards so our center of gravity sits directly over the wheels. Your comments??? We also are thinking of using switches on the handle bars instead of the tilting. Comments???

Bill Wallace
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# IanJ 2013-09-25 21:03
There was less metalwork involved in mounting the motors like I did (vertically).
I can't comment much on the Jazzy wheelchair as I just aquired the motors only.
Good luck with your build.
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# 2013-09-28 04:37
Hi IanJ,
Very best design I've seen posted on the net.
I'm from Brazil and I have much interest in developing its platform, including adding voice recognition to be used by disabled people.
Are you interested in participating in the project?
send me an email to andremendes2004 @gmail.com
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# 2013-11-11 17:35
Why are all of the code files Processing sketches and not *.ino files? Do I just have to copy and past them all? Maybe I'm just not getting your upload method.
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# IanJ 2013-11-11 17:52
Libraries aside, all you need to do is copy all the .pde or .ino files into the same folder and open the main one with the IDE, it will then auto-load the others.
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# 2013-11-12 01:59
Thank you for the quick reply and I did just open the files in the wrong order. This is an awesome project and my students are psyched working on it. I'll have to send you pics of ours when complete. I do have a couple other questions. What size pots do you use? 5k, 10k, etc...? And I can't decipher what you mean on the wiring schematic by the 3K3 item next to the 10K resistor going into D6. And lastly, is your Zero P/B on your control panel actually your EEprom Save NC P/B on your schematic? Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for the help.
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# IanJ 2013-11-12 07:12
10k pots will do nicely. They are hooked up as simple voltage dividers so the exact size doesn't matter as long as they don't load the supply rail too much.
NOTE 1 is written next to the 3k3 & 10k resistors going into D6. Basically it's a voltage divider scaling 12v down to 3.3v for the arduino input.
From memory yes, the P/B is Eeprom Save / Zero. If you look up the code you should be able to clarify.
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# 2013-11-14 07:39
can yuo help me doo the segway on arduino uno & mpu 6050 ?? вы можете помоч сделать сигвей на arduino uno& mpu6050 ??
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# 2013-11-18 17:26
In what position do you recommend to start the PID adjusters at first start-up? I don't see that specified anywhere. Thanks.
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# 2013-12-19 05:35
The problems I experienced:
- LCD does not respond (I have change the serial baud to 9600)
- DIP Switches Sabertooth 1 = Down, 6 = Down), at Power On, Motors direct running at the time of the position to zero.
- At the moment I change to the DIP Switch 1 = Down, 5 = Down, the motor does not run when the process to a zero position.
- Of the two dipswitches (1-6) and (1-5), after the power light turns on, when the position sensor -20 degrees, Motor 1 Motor 2 will advance while Off
- Whereas if the sensor position +20 degrees, then the motor while the motor forward 2 1 Off.

Of the above problems can you help analyze the problems that cause it like that

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# 2013-12-19 05:36
I have tried to do the tutorial that you cover here, as for the materials that I use:
- Arduino Nano V3
- Imu 9Dof digital (ADXL345, ITG3200)
- Sabertooth 2 x 60
- Motor 350 Watt
- Potensio 10K (P, I, D, Stering, Balance)
- LCD Serial UART 1602 (serial baud 9600)
- Accu 12 Volt x 2.
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# IanJ 2013-12-19 08:04
There appears to be quite a few issues and can only suggest you break things down and tackle them bit by bit. The first thing to do is get your LCD working. Without this you will not know what is going on with the software.
Unless you have changed the code to suit then you must use the same LCD as I had used.
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# 2013-12-20 14:51
thanks for the response
I will try to check the hardware one by one, to ensure no damage occurs
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# 2013-12-26 09:36
I compare LCD turns after that I use a different command.
Is the LCD if we do not plug the Segway can still walk normal?
Once I try to connect to the M1 M1A and M2A ----- M1B and M2 to M2B, the motor can move forward and backward together (dip switch 1 and 5 down).
But when the process towards zero, to two motor rotates while.
Of the incident, in which parts are experiencing errors?

For my Sabertooth has a simple coding wear test (M1 = M1A + M1B) (M2 + = M2A M2B), can run normally
Oh yes, I also want to ask the circuit under IMU6 the circuit do you use?
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# 2013-12-26 09:57
- Do you use the LCD as this http://cats-whisker.com/web/node/7
- Do you use 6DOF IMU is just as http://www.famosastudio.com/imu-combo-6-dof-itg3200-adxl345

- Are different Coding for digital 9Dof Imu (ADXL345, ITG3200) with which I use (for wearing ITG3205)
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# IanJ 2013-12-26 16:11
A quick look and:-
LCD = yes
IMU = yes

I have no experience with other digital IMU so I cannot say for sure if 3205 will work.

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# 2013-12-19 11:28
My Robotics Club students and I are getting geared up for an all day build session on Monday during our Christmas break. We are very excited to get our version of your build wired up and tested. The only thing right now that we seem to need is the recommended starting positions of the PID adjusters. Should they start at 0, 1023, half way? We are worried that our first test will not go well if they are in the wrong position. Especially since we really are not sure what they are even used for. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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# IanJ 2013-12-19 11:33

If I remember correctly, the defaults are loaded when you power up for the first time. However, if you are unsure then I think one of my video's shows a close up of the LCD and you should be able to see what I was running with.

Send me pics if you can, infact if anyone else reading this has built my versin of the Segway then do send me pics and I'll create a wee gallery.

Good luck!

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# 2013-12-19 12:41
I just realized that I bought a 2x25 Sabertooth instead of a 2x60. I had thought that you had used the 2x25 for some reason. It must have been from the firmware comments. Do you think that will be a problem, or should it be fine to use? And I will definitely send pics when we've got it done.
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# IanJ 2013-12-19 19:13
You'll have to do some calculations, possibly even testing with your motors. You might get away with it.
I used the 2x25 with my prototype balancing bot at one stage, so maybe thats where you saw it.
If you move to the 2x60 make sure you add some resistors per my note on the bug it has (unless they fixed it).
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# 2013-12-26 15:20
Hi i was wondering if its possible to display the battery life and when i need to charge the battery?? and how would i do this?

thank you
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# IanJ 2013-12-26 16:03

You would need to monitor the current from the battery an calculate the 'used' mAh against the capacity of the battery. You would need a hefty current sense IC though. Worth it?
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# 2013-12-26 16:21
I can't do it through the arduino board using voltage divider? I saw this site and there are more when I search through Google. Www.forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=16620.0 I also saw some stuff on instructables like www.instructables.com/I'd/diy-amp-hour-meter-arduino

thank you for a fast reply
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# IanJ 2013-12-26 16:39
Voltage divider will give you battery voltage only, you won't be able t see the "battery life" that way. However, you will be able to see if it's starting to get low. There is already a battery indicator using my wiring etc above.
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# 2013-12-26 16:55
ok cool also do you know how long the battery life last for?? can the LCD display that info to?
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# IanJ 2013-12-26 17:30
No, to get battery "life" you need current consumption for that. Voltage will just let you know if it's still healthy or not.
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# 2013-12-26 17:41
ok so is it possible to do this??
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# 2013-12-27 22:45
Well Ian, we had a bit of a shorting/clearance issue and literally blew up a motor controller. But we have replaced that and are ready to upload the code. Problem is I can not get it to verify. I keep getting an error stating--'ADXL345' does not name a type-- and I get the same thing for the ITG3200 if I comment out the ADXL345 declaration. Any ideas? I have installed the proper libraries and even verified and reinstalled them from Sparkfun.com where I got the 6DOF IMU.
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# IanJ 2013-12-27 22:57
Download the libraries from the link on this page.
Manually copy them to the \libraries folder.
You should have 2 folders \Adxl345 & \itg3200
Restart the IDE and load the main file and try compiling then.
The error you get is usually because the library files are not installed correctly.
For the analogue version you should be using Arduino IDE 0022.
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# IanJ 2013-12-27 23:18
I have updated the download links on this page.

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# 2013-12-27 23:47
I am using the digital version. I have tried copying the two folders into the \libraries folder in the Documents folder and in the application contents' library folder under Java. I tried these separately of each other. This is on a Mac. I can still not get them to verify. Are there any changes that would have to be made because I am using an Arduino Mega. The funny thing is, that I swear that on Monday. We had hit the verify button and everything verified just fine.
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# IanJ 2013-12-28 00:59
I just confirmed that both analog and digital compile of under IDE 0022 & 1.5 respectively, buth thats under Windows. I know nothing about the MAC versions, however, this info seems useful:-
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# 2014-01-23 22:12
Well my students and I got in all our replacement hardware after blowing it up and got the coding fixed to work with our LCD, but here are some issues.
-When you startup the right wheel spins forward at balance and stops moving when you rock backwards.
-The right wheel also goes forward when you lean forwards but not proportionately .
-The balance light will not turn off no matter how far forward you lean, but does go off when you lean backwards.
-The left wheel moves proportionately as you lean backwards but does not move at all when you lean forwards.
-The steering potentiometer causes no response(does nothing and has been tested to work).
-The PID adjusters do nothing to change the values on the screen(have all been tested to function).
-When getting the STARTUP BALANCE point it jitters and shakes like crazy and displays a value from 255 to -255.

Lots of stuff. Any thoughts would be great. I'm trying not to fry any more hardware.
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# 2014-02-12 11:36
Hi Ian ,Are able to answer a couple of questions..
I am in Tasmania ,Australia.
building a segway..have a couple of questions..

regards Ken
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# 2014-02-12 18:18
great project, congratulations .
I'm trying to build one too, but I'm having trouble with stability, it is very fluctuating.
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# 2014-02-12 21:54
Hi Luiz,. What did u uses to drive the Motor's I am looking for an high current H Bridge i think. ? have 2 24v motors.

regards Ken
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# 2014-02-13 11:15
I made an adjustment, based on a design I saw on the web, we can exchange information about our projects if you want? What is your email? I'll start posting my progress on the blog www.sokits.com.br/blog/.
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# Ken Sulman 2014-02-17 13:36
thanks mate..my email is
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# Guy 2014-03-31 08:45

this is an amazing project and i like it alot !
thank you for the share !!

wanted to ask if you can say a bit about the idea of the controls. i got the steering part, but how is the fw and bw being controlled ?

thank you !
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# rob kemna 2014-03-31 13:11
Hello Ian,

First I want to say that I am very pleased with all the effort you've put in your project.
I also got really enthousiastic when seeing your videos and bought myself a second hand wheelchair in Belgium for 250 Euros (I live in the south of the Netherlands). I also ordered the Arduino computer and other electronic component from a site in China. I've made some room in the garage so I am ready to roll !!!

greetings and I hope you will continu to improve your project.

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# Manas Bose 2014-06-24 13:53

This is Manas, I have gone through your home buit segway, it is a nice one. I also want to make one, but I have with me an arduino uno, Sabertooth motor controller and a GY 521 breakout board.

Will it be possible to make one by using GY 521 and what will be the codes? I want to make it very simple and I also do not want LCD screen.

Please throw some light on this, as i have got very little knowlege aboute electronics.

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# Cliff 2014-12-20 14:36
Many congrats Ian, and a big thanks.

My "sparks" chum is helping me make a wheel chair.

I will need such an item within the next 2 years, mobility is set to be a problem.

Your work has opened up tremendous possibilities for my future.

Thank you again for being bold.


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# jason walter 2015-01-18 14:36
would you be willing to share your billet wheel adapter cnc drawing?
Also, what is the black adapter that goes from the motor to the billet part? My jazzy motors only have a threaded shaft. Is that part something you made or was it part of the original wheelchair wheel assembly?
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# IanJ 2015-01-18 14:39
I just bought some round aluminium stock and drilled the holes to suite, sorry no drawings made. The black adaptor came with other wheels I had bought that happen to fit the motor shaft.
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# Ricardo Soares 2015-05-24 22:11
Hello man, I hope you are with your project yet, and I wonder if it would be possible to help me ... I am wanting to make this final course project, and want to know if u came to use the MPU6050 and its motor drive that vc developed ... a very strong drive ... for my project would be very good use, their scheme .., arrived to test with your drive? I really enjoyed the work, my congratulations !
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# wkdxoghdi 2015-10-04 14:28
I am making a segway on reference to your post.
I am using a MPU6050 and arduino uno to make it.
But when motor runs and arduino communicates with MPU6050 by I2C communication, arduino freezes
DId you have a problem like this?
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