Sunday, December 18, 2011

Using a Cheap RC Toy as Robotics Platform

A lot of hobby robotic builders spend a lot of time on building the motorized platform before they even get to any of the sensors or programming options that can really help to advance the skillset needed for this genre of experimental electronics. I am definitlely one of those builders who has spent way too much time on several past projects with the mechanism of the bot instead of all the fun sensors and programming, so I thought it would be fun to experiment with salvaging an old cheap toy RC tank for it's motorized chassis, and I'm really glad I did as it was quite simple taking it apart and adding in my Arduino Uno that I got from Element 14. After adding some tip122 power transisitors and modifying the stock LED blink program included in the arduino IDE I had an arduino powered bot ready for sensors and higher level programming. The conversion only took about an hour. Check out the video of it scooting around the shop floor and also take a look at the schematic I used for dead simple on/off motor control just to get started. Later on, I'll add a more sophisticated motor controller and sensors as well.

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