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$865
pledged of $1,500pledged of $1,500 goal
11
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, July 8 2015 2:59 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated July 8, 2015

Wireless Robotic Interface For Radio Controlled Cars

This circuit board is an Arduino shield that lets you turn your radio-controlled car into a robot.

Wireless Robotic Interface For Radio Controlled Cars

This circuit board is an Arduino shield that lets you turn your radio-controlled car into a robot.

$865
pledged of $1,500pledged of $1,500 goal
11
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, July 8 2015 2:59 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated July 8, 2015

About

We started this project because we wanted to provide a high-performance robot platform at a low price.  We figured that interfacing a radio-controlled car to an Arduino would be the way to go.

We considered lots of different approaches - having the Arduino interface to the RC vehicle's motor controller (requires knowing where to solder wires on different RC vehicles) or replacing the RC vehicle's motor controller with our own custom motor controller (adds considerable expense).  Then we realized, if we want to make this work for lots of different people with a range of skills, let's just create a circuit that takes the Arduino commands and then mimics the RC vehicle's transmitter radio signal.

Operational Details

Here's a block diagram of how this board works with the Arduino.

The Arduino microcontroller generates Forward/Backward/Left/Right commands, just like an RC car operator would do with a handheld transmitter.  But in this case, the Arduino is responding to information from its sensors (something you'll need to think about for your specific robot design) and then passing those commands along to the Wireless Interface Board, which creates RF commands that mimic the signals that a handheld transmitter would create.

The Arduino commands come out on digital output bits P2 through P5 from the Arduino board.

The Prototype

This is our prototype. It's been tested at both 27 MHz and 49 MHz (the two versions of the board have identical layouts but differ in the components needed in the RF section).

Demonstration of the Wireless Interface Board

Here's a little demo video that we made showing how easy the Wireless Interface Board is to use.  For this demo, the Arduino is programmed with a simple test program that makes the rear wheels of the RC car go forward, then backward and then makes the front wheels turn to the right and then to the left.

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Optional Battery Power

We wanted to make the Arduino/Wireless Interface Board a stand-alone assembly, so we added a 9V battery to the Wireless Interface Board to optionally power both the Arduino and the Wireless Interface Board.

Frequencies Supported

There are basically three different frequencies used for Radio-Controlled vehicles (at least for the U.S.).  Most inexpensive RC vehicles use either 27 MHz or 49 MHz.  The reason for two different frequencies is so that two different vehicles can be used simultaneously (for example, racing).

A third frequency, 2.4GHz, is now used for many of the more expensive RC vehicles.  This is the same frequency band as used for many cordless phones, wireless routers, etc.  2.4GHz is not supported by the Bitstream Technology Wireless board.  Only the 27MHz and 49MHz are supported.

Modulation Format Supported

The "carrier", which is what the 27MHz or 49MHz signal is called, is turned on and off for particular periods of time.  This on/off timing is set by the transmitter chip.  Most RC vehicle transmitters use a generic set of transmitter and receiver chips, called TX-2 and RX-2.  The TX-2 chip is used in the Bitstream Technology Wireless Interface, so it is compatible with most radio-controlled vehicles.

Some RC vehicle manufacturers use their own proprietary transmitter chips.  For example, NewBright, which is a brand sold at Wal-Mart and other discount stores, uses their own proprietary chip.  To date, we have not been able to procure NewBright transmitter chips, so the Bitstream Technology Wireless Interface board is not compatible with NewBright vehicles.

Sensors

Most robots will need sensors to avoid collisions or to follow lines, etc. You'll interface these sensors to the Arduino, just like you would any other Arduino-based robot.

Project Status

So where are we with this project?  We've built working prototypes for both the 27 MHz and 49 MHz, tested them with a number of radio-controlled cars and trucks, and we've figured out what features we need to add (just a couple of simple things like a "device-on" LED and an on/off switch)

What we need to do next, and what this Kickstart project will allow us to do, is to go into production with the board and figure out the logistics of supporting large orders, something we don't have experience with.

Risks and challenges

This is our first high volume design, so there's a challenge getting everything in place for shipment by the promise date. So far, we've had lots of experience with lower-volume designs and we don't think the high volume will pose a problem.

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    A 27MHz wireless interface shield for the Arduino.

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    Pledge US$ 30 or more About US$ 30

    A 49MHz wireless interface shield for the Arduino.

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    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    A 27MHz wireless interface shield for the Arduino with an Arduino Uno pre-programmed with test programs.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    A 49MHz wireless interface shield for the Arduino with an Arduino Uno pre-programmed with test programs.

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    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    1) 27MHz Wireless interface shield for the Arduino
    2) An Arduino Uno
    3) A ThunderMaxx R/C truck
    All tested to work together

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Funding period

- (30 days)