Meet the "EXPLORER"!!!
The intention was to build a ROVER-like object which I can use in my adventures, especially at night(in dense forests!). But, money is always a factor. So, with these things in mind I started working with stuffs you can probably find in a garbage can. Almost everything is being reused in this project.
I started of with my childhood R.C. car(the plastic body was broken and mom wanted to throw it away). I used my useless old phone, LED from a broken-T.V.-remote, Laser diode from a damaged DVD-drive, a solar cell from a vintage calculator, a smps-metal-body I got from a computer shop(they gave it to me for free as they were going to throw it away) etc.
Its a fairly simple project and anyone can build it. It has features like live-monitoring and night-vision!!!
NOTE: Basic engineering skills are required!
1. A soldering kit
2. Metal wires
3. Pliers and scissors
4. insulating tape
5. Battery holders(9V and 1.5V holders)
Step 1: Take Out the Circuit From the R.C. Car and Attach It With the Motors
NOTE: Notice the wiring of different components(battery, motors) with the circuit carefully, then cut the wires.
I have used a 8-yr old R.C. car and its plastic body was broken, but the circuit was alright.
First, the circuit and the wheels(along with the motors) are to be taken out of the r.c. car. Then, carefully solder the wires of the circuit with the motors as they were. You may use extra wires to increase the total length.
Step 2: Attach the Circuit and the Motors With a Main-body
For the main body, I have used the metal frame of a useless smps I got from the trash in a computer shop. They gave it to me for free because they were going to throw it away eventually!
To attach the motors, I have used metal wires. Be patient and attach the motors properly. It should be done in such a way that the motors(and the wheels) have proper suspension. The wires connecting the motors and the body is to be used to provide the required suspension.
The circuit(within the main body) should be properly insulated from the metal surface.
Step 3: Make Your Antenna!
You can use old f.m. antennas, or the antenna of your car itself. I have made my own antenna with an old radio antenna and using iron net(to increase the strength). Basically, I have made two antennas, one from the old radio, and the other i made myself using wires and iron net. After that, I've soldered the connecting wires with the circuit.
NOTE: Make sure you connect the antenna in the right place with the circuit.
Step 4: Connect the Battery
I have used a simple 9-V battery. My car used to be powered with 6 1.5 V batteries. I have also used a 9-V battery holder. Its easily available in the market. Fix the battery with the holder, then connect the wires with the circuit properly. I have also added a switch for the battery connection with the circuit.
Step 5: Fixing the Headlights
For this, I have used two white LEDs. Connect them in parallel first. I have used a additional battery source for the LEDs, the laser diode and the LED from the T.V. remote. I have used two 1.5 V batteries and a battery holder for this.
Step 6: Connecting the Laser Diode and the LED for Night Vision!
Make individual connections of the laser diode and the remote LED with the battery. Also make a switch for both connections(you don't want them to be on for a long time).
Check out the positive and negative terminals before making permanent connections. The T.V. remote LED when connected to the battery will emit light invisible to the human eye. But you can see the light with your camera. I've used this phenomenon for my night vision recording.
Make sure that you attach both the connections with the 2*1.5V battery holder.
Step 7: Attaching a Solar Cell for Photo-movement
I got this solar cell from a very old calculator. I have attached the solar cell with the main body. The solar cell is connected with the main rear motor. It won't help much for movement. But thats because I don't have more solar cells. If you have you can attach more solar cells for photo-movement!
Step 8: Set Up Your Camera
I have used a old mobile phone for this purpose. Every week, cell phone companies are bringing out new models. So I thought of giving my old phone a new purpose!
For live video monitoring, I found this great app at mobile9.com. The app basically uses your cell phone camera as a webcam. It uses wi-fi, bluetooth or usb connection.
So, I can control EXPLORER by monitoring it from my computer.
Step 9: Finishing-touch!
After properly fixing every piece of the puzzle, you can give it a little extra touch. I have used aluminium foil to wrap the outer LED wires. You can design it in whatever way you think it'll look better.
Now, just have fun with it!