I wanted to do this project so I could drive my kids around. They are 2 and 3. We take the jeep out a few times a week. It's great for going to the park or just walking around the neighborhood. It works kind of like a stroller as far as containing and protecting them, but obviously way awesomer.
This project has also been built with expansion in mind. Because the motor controller boards have feedback, and there's plenty of room left on the Arduino microcontroller, it will be easy to add things such as proximity sensors and driver profiles. That way, when I give it to my little boy to drive himself, I can set the driver profile to be gentler as well as activate proximity sensors so he can't ram a tree.
Also, in essence this entire build is a fairly simple way to get a robot off the ground. My project was particular to the power wheels because I'd been dreaming of sitting on my porch with my controller and driving my kids in the yard, but really the setup could apply to anything with motor driven wheels and a steerable front end. (motor size etc taken into consideration of course).
I hope you enjoy reading about my project as much as I did making it. And if you do decide to tackle this Instructable and build your own, please contact me for any questions. I want to keep improving this so as many people can take that old Power Wheels and make it into the coolest thing on the block.
Now let' s make it!
- Working 12 Volt Power Wheels with Battery (check Amazon or Craigslist if you don't have one)
- Arduino Uno R3
- USB Host Shield
- Pololu Simple High-Power Motor Controller 18v25
- Pololu Jrk 12v12 USB Motor Controller with Feedback
- Concentric LACT4P-12V-5 Linear Actuator with Feedback: 4" Stroke, 12V, 1.7"/s
- Microsoft Xbox 360™ Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows®
- Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
- 12"x12"x.25" sheet of aluminum (available at hardware store)
- 4' of shelf track (or whatever generic type can be found)
- Assorted nuts and bolts for making steering drive connections
- A piece of perfboard to make the breakout board
- Connection headers
- USB cord that fits Arduino to be hacked
- 3 strand wire for signal and power transmission to actuator
- Various wire bits for jumping on breakout board and other places
* Soldering Iron (i like this one)
* Wire Strippers
* A saw or cutting wheel to cut metal (i used an end grinder with a cutting wheel)
* Wrenches / Screwdrivers
* Drill - (a drill press is good for the steering plates, but a drill will work)
- Connect the Arduino to the USB Host shield, then connect that to the Wireless gaming receiver.
- Drive the linear actuator with the Pololu Jrk Motor Controller
- Drive the motors already in the Power Wheels with the Pololu Simple High-Power Motor Controller
- Connect both motor controllers to the Arduino so they are controlled by the Xbox controller.
- Remove the steering mechanism currently in the Power Wheels
- Build a custom steering mechanism that is controlled with the linear actuator.