"Have you ever controlled a drone or RC car/plane with an Xbee or Wi-Fi module?"
If you did so, you probably controlled it with a module connected to a computer because there is no standard Xbee/Wi-Fi controller available on the market. I also ran into this problem and found a nice solution (I think). First I started looking for standard game controllers, I ended up with the PlayStation dualshock 3 controller, I think this is the most convenient game controller at the moment. It feels great, has a lot of digital buttons, 2 analog triggers and force feedback but the problem is that Bluetooth has a fairly limited range. I opened one to see what's inside and thought it should be possible to design my own pcb with an Xbee/Wi-Fi module.
After I finished the first prototype that was working pretty well, someone submitted my blog to Hack a Day, from that date I was getting a lot of reactions about the project, also a lot of mails of interested buyers, so that's why I want to start production of the controller. This way developers all over the world can do cool things, more easily, with this awesome controller.
What can you do with the controller?
You can use and program the controller for: Robotics, RC cars, planes, helicopters, drones, boats, hovercrafts and of course: FPV (First Person View)!
The controller uses an ATmega328P, the same as used on the "Arduino uno". This makes it very easy to adapt the Arduino platform on the controller. You can upload your sketches via the usb port. The hardware and software is open for everyone, this makes it possible to program your own functionality into the controller.
You can directly configure the Xbee/Wi-Fi module via usb with for example the X-CTU application for the Xbee module. Just set the UART software switch in the right direction (programming example provided!). The battery will charge automatically via the usb port.
Schematic, communication example and Arduino files:
- example communication protocol
Besides the Wireless control of vehicles there is another feature:
The controller sends serial messages to the USB port, so even without wireless module it is possible to control something like a game on your computer with the controller (Force feedback!).
What about the receiver?
This Crowdfunding project is only about the controller part. For a receiver you can use the Servoshock module on Kickstarter, please see:
This receiver will support an Xbee module (in the future).
Of course you can also use your own boards/creations.
● Arduino compatible (bootloader, programmable via usb).
● Dual force feedback.
● 2.4GHz 60mW Xbee pro module (option!).
● 2.4GHz Wi-Fi module (option!).
● Low profile pinheader to solderless attach the wireless module.
● Wireless module configuration via the usb port.
● Open hardware/software.
● 15 digital buttons.
● 2 x Analog triggers.
● 2 x Analog joysticks.
● Lipo battery 3.7V.
● usb auto charge of battery.
● Almost 0uA standby current.
There is a pinheader mounted on the bottom of the pcb! It is possible to use a pin compatible module like the "Wifly" from Sparkfun: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10822. Please remember that there is limited height available for these modules. If you want to mount a module that needs more height, you probably have to de-solder the pinheaders and mount the module directly to the controller board, the original footprint for the modules is also available on the board.
Actual status of the project and planning
There have already been tested three different prototypes, the current and final one is ready for production at the moment. We still need to prepare testing tools for production.
The funds for this project will be used to order the components and produce the boards, and ship them out.
31-05-2014 START OF THE PROJECT
● The data (reports) will be prepared for production, like the Gerber files and instructions for all manual operations (1 week).
● Give order to production company to start, they will order the components and the pcb (1 day).
● The production tools to test and flash the products who are produced will be prepared (Need 2 weeks).
23-06-2014 SOP (Start of Production)
Production takes about two weeks. I will post some pictures to inform you.
07-07-2014 Ship out products
The controllers will be shipped out in july
What do we need to start production?
That's where you guys come in, we want to produce a minimum of 100 controllers to be able to provide them at a reasonable cost. If we are successful and you are a supporter we try to deliver the controllers within 12 weeks.
What do you get?
Please see the table below:
Click on the table!
* The battery is only supplied with the "complete controller" perk!
If you decide to order a "pcb only" perk, you have to order a Doubleshock controller and wireless module yourself. Also you have to mount and solder the wires to the three button boards yourself (it's pretty easy if you have some soldering experience). The "pcb only" perk is that much cheaper because: we can send it in a standard mailbox package, we don't have to pay for the Doubleshock controllers, shipping costs of the controller and the manufacturing process is less time and money consuming.
If you need to order a Doubleshock controller, pick one from a Chinese website like: Alibaba, DHGate or DealExtreme. Please keep in mind that there are several versions, I will publish a list of the compatible controllers. You can't use an original controller from Sony, it won't fit! You can choose between several colors and prints, see picture:
Risks and challenges
We have taken steps to minimize risks as much as possible. We developed several prototypes, there were 3 hardware revisions before the final one. Everything is already developed and tested. We also talked to the electronic manufacturing company about producibility and prices.
We have chosen to use as much as standard components because of the better availability, but there may be unexpected delays in supplier delivery times.
We will provide regular updates to backers to keep them informed.
- (30 days)