Converting an RC car into a robot is a quick and easy way to get started with robotics. At the very least, when you get bored of playing with your remote control car after three days, you can turn it into a robot that will do all of your evil bidding. Well, maybe not all of it, but at least a sizable amount.
In this Instructable I will go over the bare minimum you need to get started. Think of it as a template for making a basic robot that can be expanded with sensors, code, and additional hardware to do some really amazing things. You can now impress your family, make new friends, and scare your pets with the power of robot magic.
Step 1: Go Get Stuff
(x1) R/C Monster Truck (Radioshack #60-646)
(x1) Arduino Uno REV 3 (Radioshack #276-128)
(x1) Arduino Motor Shield (Radioshack #276-131)
(x1) Parallax Ping Sensor (Radioshack #276-136)
(x1) Heavy-Duty 9V Snap Connectors (Radioshack #270-324)
(x1) Size M Coaxial DC Power Plug (Radioshack #274-1569)
(x1) Multipurpose PC Board with 417 Holes (Radioshack #276-150)
(x1) 90-Ft. UL-Recognized Hookup Wire (Radioshack #278-1221)
(x1) Enercell® Alkaline 9 Volt Battery (Radioshack #25-853)
(x1) 6" Heat-Shrink Tubing (Radioshack #278-1627)
(x1) 5-1/2" Zip Ties (Radioshack #278-1631)
Step 2: Remove the Cover
Put these screws aside somewhere safe for later reassembly.
Step 3: Unplug
If your remote control car is hard wired to the motherboard, cut the motor wires loose.
Step 4: Remove the Controller
Step 5: Power
Solder the red wire to the middle connection tab. Solder the black wire to the outer connection tab.
Twist the cover back onto the plug.
Step 6: Mark and Drill
Make marks where the mounting holes are in such a way that it will later be easy to zip tie the Arduino down.
Drill through each of these marks with a 1/8" drill bit.
Step 7: More Marking and Drilling
Step 8: Attach
Trim away the excess bits of zip tie.
Step 9: Shield
Step 10: Attach
Step 11: Trim
Once made skinnier, shorten it such that it is just long enough to stick out the front.
Step 12: Solder
Connect 8" of green wire to the Signal pin, 8" of red wire to the 5V pin, and 8" of black wire to the Ground pin.
Step 13: Insert
If it is not level, adjust it until it is.
Step 14: Drill and Fasten
Step 15: Extend
Repeat this process with the second motor.
Finally, slide heat shrink tubing over each of the four exposed solder connections and shrink them into place with a heat gun.
Step 16: Clean Up
You may even want to consider zip tying the sets together into a single bundle for the length of wire that passes over the body of the RC car.
Step 17: Put It Together
Step 18: Program
For help getting started with the Arduino, check out the Intro to Arduino Instructable.
Step 19: Wire It Up
- Connect the green wire from the Ping sensor to digital pin 7.
- Connect the black wire from the Ping sensor to ground.
- Connect the red wire to the power input screw socket on the motor shield.
- Connect the red wire from the front motor to+ port on channel B of the motor shield.
- Connect the black wire from the front motor to - port on channel B of the motor shield.
- Connect the red wire from the rear motor to the + port on channel A of the motor shield.
- Connect the black wire from the rear motor to - port on channel A of the motor shield.
- Connect the 5V socket to the power input power screw socket on the motor shield (in addition to the Ping power wire already connected).
- Connect the ground socket on the shield to the input ground screw socket on the motor shield.
Step 20: Go!
Note: If you decide that you want to reprogram your Arduino, before you plug in the USB cable, disconnect both the 9V battery and the power connection between the Arduino power socket and the motor shield.