Picture of Friction Lighted Car

In this instructable, I take a radio controlled car and convert it to a friction powered illuminated car--with ultracapacitor energy storage. You pull the car along the floor and the led on top comes on.  The one farad (not microfarad) capacitor (under $4.00) keeps the light on for half an hour or more.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1:

Picture of
Start with a radio controlled car--one where the wheels stay engaged with the motor.  Some of the cheapest cars have a slip arrangement in the gearbox for changing direction.  We need a vehicle which is either tank like (left side on or right side on) or one with geared drive wheels and proportional steering. I've suggested one from Amazon.com that works.

Step 2:

Picture of
Remove the cover and the lid to the battery container.

Step 3:

Picture of
Remove the springs from the battery container.

Step 4:

Picture of
Separate the car by removing screws so that you can access the motors.

Step 5:

Picture of
Notice that two wires go to each motor assembly from the electronic unit (green, yellow and red, blue).

Step 6:

Picture of
Cut the motor wires from the electronic assemly (radio receiver) and save the receiver for a future project.

Step 7:

Picture of
Drill 1/8 inch holes in the battery compartment and clip out one of the battery separation walls.

Step 8:

Picture of
Bring the motor wires through the holes and refasten the housing to the wheel assembly.

Step 9:

Picture of
Create a diode bridge (see schematic in step number one).  This allows voltage generated by the motor assembly (dc motors act like generators when turned) to always come out in a predictable fashion, regardless of which way the motor (now generator) is turned.  I use a diode bridge for each motor assembly so that they will feed the capacitor and led rather than each other.

Step 10:

Picture of
Solder the motor leads to the input of the diode bridge (the place where head and tail of diodes meet).

Step 11:

Picture of
Insert two pieces of double sided foam tape to the ultracapacitor.

Step 12:

Picture of
Stick the ultracapacitor into the battery compartment and bring positive and negative leads from the diode bridges to the capacitor.
very nice man! good job on this instructable.
mikeasaurus2 years ago
I like this idea, and it's a neat way to give this toy a new life.