The Pilot Remote Control for Arduino
A Fully Customizable Wireless Remote Control for Arduino! Allows you to Control Your Projects From Up to 1500 Meters Away!
Whether you are controlling your own drone, RC car, stereo speakers or anything you desire to communicate with wirelessly, a fully assembled Arduino Wireless Remote Control will be a welcomed new addition to any of your projects. Meant to be used with the popular NRF24l01+ (a 2.4GHz RF transceiver, RF synthesizer, and radio function manager) modules that are included with the purchase of a Pilot Remote Control. Just connect the extra NRF module to any existing or new Arduino project. Instantaneously, you will have wireless communication with your projects from up to 5,000 feet away! This remote control comes with two joysticks, an NRF header, 2 user programmable push buttons, an LCD header, and standard Arduino pinouts to add whatever else your project desires.
The Pilot Wireless Remote Control has many amazing features that will make it perfect for your specific project needs. The Pilot RC has a range of 100 meters (300 feet) with the standard NRF modules. If this proves too weak for your needs, then easily push the range up to 1500 meters (5000 ft) with the NRF+ modules. These modules are capable of up to 2 Mbps communication rate, and has a incredibly low latency, making controlling high performance projects a breeze.
It comes with an 8 Pin female header that is used to interface with the NRF chip, a 16 pin header to interface with the LCD display, and a 14 pin header to connect any additional items you want! Like Bluetooth, WiFi, or even a buzzer! Add an accelerometer for additional motion control, or whatever else you can think of! The 14 pin user header has Serial, SPI, and I2C communication available for whatever your projects needs.
This Pilot Remote Control for Arduino is based on the ATMega32U4 which has USB 2.0 communication, allowing you to use it as a mouse or keyboard on your own computer! You could even use it to play Minecraft!
With the integrated LCD header, plug in the included LCD display so your remote can let you know of important information from your project, like battery levels or telemetry. Or, if you're an experienced coder, program your own menu to increase the functionality of The Pilot RC even more. The possibilities are endless.
The Remote Control comes with a built in voltage sensor for measuring battery percentage! Simply hook up any battery between 6 and 20 volts, and then use our example code (or make your own) and you will be able to read the voltage of your battery with accuracy of up to 0.01 volts. Be sure to always know when you need to charge up!
There are two options you have when ordering the Wireless Pilot Remote Control for Arduino. You can purchase the Pilot RC with the standard NRF modules with a range of 100 meters (300 feet) or the NRF extended modules which can have a range of up to 1500 meters (5000 feet).
Great for Beginners and Advanced Users
The Pilot RC is great for many, from advanced users to people just looking into Arduino! Do not worry, we will provide example code for all of the features on the board, such as how to control the LCD, NRF, and voltage sensor. When you are ready, you can start modifying the code for whatever you need, or make your own! We will make sure you can start coding on day 1.
Once funded and the design is finalized, we will release the schematic and board layout for the design. Just like any other Arudino, our project will be made open source so you can make any modifications you want. Once you are familiar with the board, you can start adding your own equipment and make the Pilot Remote Control whatever you want it to be. We cannot wait to see what you build and control with it.
The video above shows a demonstration of the analog sticks along with a wireless communication demonstration. Notice how we used a NRF extended range module on the remote control, but used a standard NRF module on the drone. This was to keep the weight down on the drone while still achieving a good range!
The Serial Monitor in the first demonstration shows the raw analog values coming from the joysticks 2-axis and the digital value of the push button. While the wireless communication demonstration shows how you can send and receive telemetry from the Pilot RC. Looking at the display, you can see multiple values. The first is a command to pull down the stick to arm the drone. The DR value is the drone battery voltage and the Sig value is how many signals a second the we are receiving from the drone!
The Wireless Pilot RC for Arduino can be used for any of your existing projects! Either control a RC car, a drone, or a game on your computer. The easy to use NRFs allow you to plug them into any existing Arduino project and within seconds you can be sending and receiving wireless data.
The controller is designed to be easy to use and to be a great starting point for a tinkerer wanting to get into Arduino based projects. It comes with pushbuttons, joysticks, an LCD display header, NRF header, and voltage sensor to get you up and running with your project in no time.
If you are a more experienced Arduino user, then plug in your own devices into the user pinouts section of the board. Add a buzzer for noise notifications, an accelerometer for motion controller, or maybe even a microphone for voice control. This board is perfect for beginners and advanced users alike.
The video below shows a working prototype of the Pilot RC being used to control an Arduino Drone!
The Pilot RC works just as any other Arduino and uses the ATmega32U4 microcontroller. This specific microcontroller comes with USB communication, negating the need for a separate Serial to USB converter. It is an 8-bit SOC, with a 10-bit ADC, 32 KB of programming space, 2.5 KB of SRAM, and 1 KB of EEPROM. The board itself uses a Mini USB port to be powered and programmed.
The board does come with the ability to be powered by an external battery ranging from 6V to 20V. Two capacitors are placed at the Vin pins to provide voltage stability, as well as two resistors that act as a voltage divider so that the battery voltage can be safely read by the Arduino.
The dimensions of the board are 100 mm x 55 mm. The mounting holes have dimensions of 94 mm x 49 mm and have a diameter of 3.5 mm.
The joysticks are what make a remote control a remote control. The joysticks work like two potentiometers in each axis, and include a push button (just like an Xbox or PlayStation controller). We will be using quality joysticks that we have personally tested.
These joysticks are soldered directly to the board, and are already connected straight to the Arudino. Just load up some code and start using them for whatever you please. The board is 1.6 mm thick, ensuring it can withstand the force when you are pushing the sticks in either direction.
There is an ISP header included just in case you need to bootload the Arduino for any reason. (Trust us, we have all made mistakes). The board also comes with TX and RX LEDs, so you can visually see when data is being sent or received.
One of the big attractions of this board is the integrated LCD header. This header fits the standard 1x16 pin configuration (which will be included with purchase). Simply just plug in your LCD display, and start coding! The LCD display can be used to give you real time feedback from whatever project you are controlling.
The LCD header also comes with a built in potentiometer so that you can control the contrast of your display, or use it for whatever else you may need! If you have no need for an LCD display, then do not use it. You will have access to even more pinouts to connect whatever you desire.
The LCD display header is shifted slightly towards the left of the board. We did this so that when you plug in the display into the header, it lines up center with the Remote Control. (I know, we thought of everything).
The display has 2 lines where you can add 16 charterers each. These can include letters, numbers, or even pictures. This display has a blue backlight which means you can see it at night, and the text will appear white.
Native USB Support
There is a reason the ATMega32U4 is our favorite Arduino microcontroller, and it's because it has USB 2.0 communication built in. No need for a serial to USB converter that takes up space and energy. And because of the native USB support, you can connect your Pilot RC straight to your computer and use it like a mouse or keyboard! A really unique feature specific to this microcontroller.
How Do I Program it?
The Pilot RC is as easy to program as a normal Arduino. Simply load up the Arduino IDE and select Arduino Micro. Plug in the Mini USB port to your computer, and use it just like a normal Arduino. No additional set up needed! Upload any code of your choice to the board and you're done!
Can I Power it with a Battery?
Of course you can! Just hook up any battery with voltage greater than 6 volts and the Pilot RC will come to life! No more cords! The Pilot RC also comes with a built in voltage sensor that will allow you and the Arduino to monitor the life of your battery, notifying you of when to swap or recharge the battery.
How Do I Add My Own Equipment?
Easy! The Pilot RC has breakout headers to dedicated pins on the Arduino. Just plug them in through jumper wires or solder them on! The available pin configuration is as follows:
The pins allow you to get digital and analog devices, as well as SPI and I2C interfaces! These pins also provide power for 5V and 3.3V. It is just like a normal Arduino!
If you do not want to use an LCD screen in your project, then don't! You will have access to so many more pins if you have no need for a display. The board layout and schematic are already complete! To show you that we aren't lying, take a look below. All the pins are available for you to plug in whatever else you may need, making the possibility of combinations nearly infinite.
What Kind of Case Should I Put it In?
That's up to you! Personally, we like to 3D print our own custom housing (as shown in the pictures above). But you can also make them yourself out of acrylic, plastic, wood, or whatever you want! The board does not need a case to operate, but has mounting holes around the board should you so desire.
Why Should I Get this Pilot RC?
Whether you are an avid tinkerer, or new to robotics and want to jump in, this is the perfect addition to your collection. Having a pre-built arduino wireless remote control makes it easy to control any of your arduino based projects. No wires and no connection checking, everything is already connected and ready to go.
Just plug it into your computer and open up the Arudino IDE. It works just like any other Arduino Micro and is detected as such! Look at this example of a wirelessly controlled peg climbing robot using the Pilot RC!
What's the Game Plan?
We already have a working prototype of the board! The final product will only be slightly different (depending on what you, the backers, want). We have talked to our PCB fabrication house and we have worked out all the numbers. If we get funded, then all we have to do is give them the go! This whole process could take a few weeks as our suppliers assemble the joysticks, but we will make sure to keep you updated.
Once we receive the board from the PCB fabrication and assembly house, then we will start bootloading, testing, and mailing them out. The bootloading process is something that we want to do for you before you get your board. Bootloading the board is pretty much putting the "Arduino Operating System" on it. When you plug it in it will appear as an Arduino ready to program, rather than just an ATmega32U4.
Once the bootloading process is done, we will test all of the aspects of the board. This includes the joysticks, the LCD header, the NRFs, the voltage sensor, and the user pinouts. If the testing checks out, we will pack them up and ship them out to you!
What Will I Receive In the mail?
Once funded we will begin building and assembling your Wireless Pilot RC. You will receive the assembled Pilot RC, two rubber thumbstick caps, a 16x2 LCD Display, as well as your choice of 2 standard NRF or NRF extended modules.
Thank you so much for helping make our vision come true! We look forward to delivering your new Wireless Pilot Remote Control!
Risks and challenges
The risks for this project are pretty low. We have already built three prototypes and have made sure all the bugs have been worked out. Our PCB fabrication house already has the designs and the bill of materials to make and assemble every single board. If we get funded, a few weeks will be spent doing more extraneous testing (using oscilloscopes and other technical processes) to make sure everything is working fine. Right before we send in the final order, we will purchase 10 boards to make sure we receive them exactly how we expect them. If they pass our quality check, then the next shipment will be coming your way!
The joysticks are the other tricky part of this project. You do not want bad joysticks on your board with a lot of dead stick and terrible accuracy. We are looking for great joysticks that do not break the bank. We believe we have found them, but just in case we will keep looking for quality joysticks that we can get in mass quantity. Do not worry, we will keep you updated every step of the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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