Picture of Put your R/C car under computer control
A step by step instructable on how to take any R/C car and control it with your computer
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Step 1: Overview

my friend leslie got me a radio controlled rat, so I decided to make a computer interface for it (because I'm a huge dork)
This instructable shows how to hack up an R/C car and connect it to your computer. I made a web interface for mine so that my mom could drive a little car around my room from north carolina (I'm in boston), using a webcam to watch it.
This is pretty fun project, takes about an hour to solder up, and if you can make toys computer controlled, you'll uh.....have lots of friends
Also, I'm writing an instructable on using an R/C car to make a digital radio link. Stay tuned, amigos.

Step 2: Get the parts together

Picture of Get the parts together
so, this is what you need:
an old R/C car and its transmitter--this current version might work for transmitters with digital proportional control, but it's designed for transmitters that just have on/off buttons
a proto board--I really like the radio shack PCB boards that are basically breadboards, except pcbs.
an atmega48--smaller processors will work, too, but I have tons of these around, they cost $1.65, and the code I wrote is guaranteed to work for them
a max232 chip (or a max233, if you're rich, lazy, and classy)
a female DB9 connector (with soldertails)
4 1uF capacitors(for the max232 chip)
a 7805 voltage regulator
as many 2N2222 transistors as you have buttons on your transmitter (I had 6)
a 1K resistor for each transistor

Step 3: Get some tunes

everything is better with music. Take some time and rock out. I'm listening to Vitalic's OK Cowboy album right now, and it's really good. If you're into variety, grab one of my mixes at
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eile20511 year ago
krisquinney3 years ago
this is the coolest ible.
andikovaci3 years ago
man you are a genius
emaan3 years ago
hi make this circuit but one problem occurred car is going automatically without pressing any key although i code it which is fine any idea??????????????
rverma83 years ago
where do i find these chips
rverma83 years ago
is there any easy way to control rc car by pc
minijc3 years ago
why dont you just get one of those big track cars and make the control pannle wierless sory about my bad spelling
As I'm searching I'm finding that most of you are extremely smat and very good at what you do. I have a dilemma involving R/C as well. I'm trying to build a 48 channel fireworks ignitor. As it stands it's almost complete but it's not wireless. Right now I have to plug a cord into an RCA jck on the board and the other end is connected to an electric match. I got all that. What I need help with is making this an optional "wireless" unit so I can stand back withmy guests at my party and ignite my fireworks from a few feet away. The problem is that the biggest R/F transmitter / receiver I found was only 15 cannels, and it was expensive enough that it wouldn't be cost effective to buy 3 of them plus and additional 3 or 4 channel to build it. I'm extremely limited on experience with eectronics and have no experience with IC's but I'm willing to learn if someone can pont me in the right direction. Thanks.
Venemot3 years ago
Hey guys the best and easiest way to control something with your pc is by using a phidget.....just connect two wires to each button as written in this instructable but no need for checking power or ground .....connect the wires to the relays in the phidget and connect the phidget to your pc via the usb cable that is usually supplied with the phidget....i would have already made one but i couldnt find phidget....they are not available in my can buy one at computer stores....the programming is easy although i dont know how to do it.... a friend of mine who is a computer genius(i wouldnt call him a geek....which most people will) told me it is easy and told me when you are done with the hadware work inform me and i will help you with the programming......really people once you use a phidget you will forget that something named serial port ever can find phidgets with minimum 4 and maximum (i think more than)10 relays.....
Venemot4 years ago
It is really good and i have been trying to do this but i cant find all the stuff, i dont understand the schematic pics and i am not very good at computer especially programming so i cant make it right.I will keep trying.And once again FANTASTIC
yusca4 years ago
ooops!its hard to get those resources in where i live. can i get the requirements in old electronics????? pliz help

yusca4 years ago
excuse me please give me instructions on this whole project
matstermind4 years ago
would a max222 chip work?
i have the same idea as this, so can write a software program to control the car wirelessly please reply
diyman6 years ago
Nice Work! have you tried it with this type of controller. i am very well looking forward to controlling a rc car with my pc Great work again.
 hello my name rob can you tell me how much it will be to do this 
lj1234564 years ago
can this project be done with a arduino
Chiranjeeb5 years ago
cool.. i like it dude....
pazvlad5 years ago
Fear and loathing in las vegas!!! I win
cool insructable!
Miffy205 years ago
I'm a beginner when it comes to things like this. I could use some more detailed help and making a kit for this would be great!
hhaha WO too much tech for my brain. but i can see how someone who really wanted to do this could..i was just skimming it. but nice
>(how much for the ape?) (anybody get that reference? somebody? please????) Are you referencing the cartoon with the ape that lived in a pet shop?
prank (author)  millingabout6 years ago
no! nyet! non! bu!
is it a brass monkey
its a brass monkey. right?
will this by any chance damage my motherboard or paraller port?
This is very cool! It would be even better if you applied this to a full-sized car!!!
You could always use this software from herehere.If using windows download ksi8 winall.exe for windows.It is designed for a relay board which they sell but I use it for my LED grid.It uses the parallel port on a computer or laptop.
amithav6 years ago
Nice work...Can we control this using my joystick...How...?
adi121046 years ago
sir i have already read your tutorial and i very interested so i change your cujo program so it become like this
#include <avr/io.h>
#include <inttypes.h>
#include <avr/interrupt.h>
#include <avr/signal.h>

uint8_t buffer[256];
uint8_t head=0;
uint8_t tail=0;

unsigned char noids[16];
unsigned char noids_index;
unsigned char flop;

char a;
char sel;
char o1;

void usart_putc(unsigned char c) {
// wait until UDR ready
//while(!(UCSR0A & (1 << UDRE0)));
UDR = c; // send character

void delay(int del)
int del1, del2, count;

void uart_init()
UCSRA = (1<<RXC);
UCSRB = (1<<RXEN) | (1<<TXEN) | (1<<RXCIE);
UCSRC = (3<<UCSZ0);
UBRRH = 0;
UBRRL = 12; //4800 8n1


main (void)


return (0);
i just want to ask your opinion about this code will it run in atmega32 because in my country i only can find this and i cant buy from digikey because i dont have any credit card
please reply me as soon as possible

You have to watch yourself out here. This is bat country.
prank (author)  mightywombat6 years ago
Can't believe nobody got that...
twhaley7 years ago
Does anyone know how to access the address and data bus from vb6? i used to be a computer genius in the days of quickbasic and vb3, it was inp and outp but now vb6 and make it difficult. (fear and loathing btw). all i want is to read from and write to adresses from vb6 or without going back for my masters and re-inventing the wheel. Irecently move out of my mothers basement and I even kissed a girl once so don't think i'm a dork or anything.
What address and data bus? IF you mean the parallel port, then go to, and download their "inpout" dll.
NapalmJoe8 years ago
Any chance you could do this with an Xmod?
xmods rock! i got the new evolution line and they are soo much better. ive spent like 400 bucks total on all of my 3 xmods!
prank (author)  NapalmJoe8 years ago
what's an xmod?
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