Picture of Hand Motion Controlled R/C Car
This is a must-do hack for any cheap R/C car, it uses the tilt sensing switches I made so you can control a car just by tilting the controller like a wiimote.

There are many possibilities with this hack, for example, you can turn the controller into a base-less joystick, or put it on a helmet and control it with your head.

this will also work for R/C tanks (or other two motor drive stuff) except the switches needs to be placed diagonally

Another possibility to explore is making a mini segway, if you can get the tilt switch sensitive enough and the controller mounted onto the car (the car must be wheelie-ready). This might not work so good.

Below is two pictures of the car I'm working with (the front end spins, not steer, but it is not a problem with some practice)

You will need:
  • r/c car
  • tilt sensing switches (see step 2)
  • hot glue gun
  • soldering iron
  • wires
  • some pvc pipe (see step 4)
  • collection of hand tools

Demo Video:

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Step 1: Making the tilt sensing switch

Picture of Making the tilt sensing switch
I made another instructable before, just for this switch
Click Here To See It

But I had to adjust the switch by drilling more holes into it until i got it just right.

The second picture shows how it works.

Step 2: Opening and testing the controller

Picture of Opening and testing the controller
First you need to figure out how the controller works.

Open it up, save and map out each screw
If your antenna wire is moving around, hot glue it down.

You need to use a multimeter to test what connects to where, have fun at it. What I found in my controller was 4 metal flaps, all connected together, which presses against 4 jumper wires underneath them. The 4 flaps are connected to the negative terminal of the battery, this makes it really easy to hack.

You might also have one with buttons instead of sticks, I have no idea how those work so you need to figure it out.

If you are unlucky, and each flap or button are not connected to all the other buttons, then you might need to use 4 tilt sensing switches, except make them SPST.

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Hey tropical rc, I have a heng long rc tank i'm going to try this out.

rc tanks man
Venemot3 years ago
I think hacking the rc with the buttons is much more just have to find two of its four wires which are actually connected to the rc and then soldier wires to them...!!!
You should make the remote so it's attached to your wrist
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wouldn't the mercury one work the same as the ball one only the ball is mercury? I don't know if mercury conducts so well though.
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Although i am not sure how the mercury motion senser works(probably because i have never seen on)i think you can make it by taking the wires of the circuit you want to complete with it and sticking them at close distance on one side of of a thin the same on the other side as when the tube is tilted to one side it will engulf one pair of wires and complete the circuit...i am going to make the one with the ball bearings and i will post an instructables as soon as i find ball bearings and make the sensor....!!!
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by the way you can make the sensor your self....and instead of using a metal ball or mercury you can use a solution of water and lots and lots of salt.....that will the way this idea struck my mind while reading the comment and i havent tried it yet but i will try to post an instructable as soon as i make it.
Venemot Venemot3 years ago
but the sensor would be quiet big it wont be really very easy to make a very small one although it can be made with smaller tools and lots of patience.
Mercury conducts well enough, it is a metal. The difference is the ball one can bounce when it makes contact. The mercury just engulfs the connections. However, that isn't so important in this case, I think.
mercury is liquid. it. is. LIQUID. and what passes through liquid? ELECTRICITY. so, can you figure it out now?
well mercury doesnt conduct electricity because it is conducts because it is metal...the only metal that is liquid at room temperature.....and only polar liquids or solutions having ionic compounds as the solute can conduct electricity....!!!!
Can you understand the concept of time, or maybe internet etiquite?
frank26080115 (author)  mettaurlover6 years ago
are you saying all liquids conduct electricity?
yea he is but he is wrong all liquids don't conduct electricity.
dunnos dombeef5 years ago
grammar fail, now you are stating that not even a single liquid conducts electricity :P
dombeef dunnos5 years ago
Sorry but that was a looong..... time ago.
hehe, thats a good idea
amithav6 years ago
Fine Idea...anyway can we control this car using our Computer, Flight Joystick...
Venemot amithav3 years ago
you can easily control it via pc with the help of a 4 relay phidget...well they are a bit hard to find but if you do there is going to be just a little soledering and a little just solder two wire each to the +ive and -ive sides of each button and attach the wires to the relays in the phidget then you do the programming for it(which i cant do properly,actually i dont have a phidget,yet)and you are done.
Prof I.tiki5 years ago
hey i wonder if this theory will work with a bigger R/C vehicle.
I have just managed to do this with the Heng Long RC Tanks . They are the 1:16 scale tanks so I'm not sure if this is the size that you mean. If it is let me know as I can help you with this!
Riojelon5 years ago
Your concept can bedone by somehow adding this instructable's circuitry into your rc. I dunno how to do it, though
astro boy5 years ago
 GRRR my stupid car has 2 tiny solder tabs and so i had to take the buten of to use them and the solder wont eaven stick! >:0
Bowenj5 years ago
Man, if you could do this with an iphone!!!
 you might if it will let you touch that kinda info via the usb make a custom plug or it could send it to a mac or pc and then the mac or  pc would control via serial port
b3nji5 years ago
u should of used a better rc car because this car has no proper steering.
what happens if I mess with the coil? *innocent look*
if you mess with the coil a snake comes out!
a little late but still funny. I messed with the coil and it just changes the frequency of the remote. @coltonpo18: it wont do any physical harm, only mental because of how frustrating it is to get the right frequency again. lol
instant death.
11richie215 years ago
what if I don't have an on off switch?
Bert995 years ago
I have that same rc car
treize77 years ago
what is a segway?
go look it up
you could turn diagonally if you hooked up a negative wire to each tilt switch
Coffee bean6 years ago
sweet now build it into to a glove and add it to a fullsize tank
keureban6 years ago
I have that same r/c car. It has different stickers though.
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