Introduction: GoBabyGo - Riley

About: Students at Wichita State University run a program that modifies off-the-shelf ride-on toy cars for kids with disabilities. Our cars feature more technical builds with joysticks and arduinos. We post our instr…

Documented are the steps to modifying a ride-on car for WSUGoBabyGo!

Step 1: Measurements

When you first meet the child/family, you will want to go ahead and measure the child to make sure you know what length/sizes of items need to be in the vehicle. If you don't have the measurements and the child needs smaller items or bigger items then you could end up ruining the vehicle for them.

Make sure to get precise measurements of their legs, arms, waist, shoulder width, torso length, and general height. These are just a few of the measurements that are needed.

Step 2: Assembly

The assembly is a rather easy process as you just need to follow the instructions in the booklet that came with the car. If by chance you have not received the booklet with the car or the booklet is misplaced then we have attached photos of each step, the safety warnings for the car and the materials that came with the car. Listed below are the steps to follow and some helpful tips that will aide you in assembling the car.

Step 1 - After opening the box pull everything out and then check that all of your materials and pieces are included.

Step 2 - Once you have finished checking that all the items are there, you need to flip the car over and attach the step brace on each side. (Note: it states there are 2 different types of screws with different amounts for each screw. One set will have a total of 12 screws and another will have 14 screws but the booklet states that there are 10 and 12 respectively.) See step 1 in the booklet for step brace installation.

Step 3 - Grab both of the back wheels and the motors for the wheels and the front wheels. The front wheels will be marked accordingly. Also grab 2 hub caps, 2 washers, 2 pins, and 3 (part 2) screws for the front and the back. This step is rather simple but the wire connections for the motors need to be routed through a small hole in the plastic next to where you mount the motors. That hole will lead into the bottom of the seat when the seat is taken out. See steps 2 and 3 in the booklet for proper installation of the wheels.

Step 4 - Go ahead and grab the headrest. The wire for it is located in a small hole on the top behind the location of the seat. Snap the headrest into place. (Note: it can be a bit tough and you will have to force the plastic to bend a bit to get it to fit into place. Do note that the headrest is a bit loose after installation.) See step 4 in the booklet for steering wheel installation.

Step 5 - Installation of the steering wheel is rather simple. Grab a screwdriver and possibly a pair of pliers. Take the screw out of the steering wheel and then grab the wires and put them together. Go ahead and mount the steering wheel on the car and insert the screw back into the steering wheel.(Note: there is a small nut on the end of the screw that can be a bit of a pain to put the screw back in so you may need to hold the nut into place while putting the screw back in.) See step 5 in the booklet for steering wheel installation.

Step 6 - Installation of the windshield is up next. Grab the windshield and plug the wire in. If the wire is missing then flip the car over and look behind the front right tire, it should be somewhere in there. Then you will need to pop the windshield into place. See step 6 in the booklet for windshield installation.

Step 7 - Wiring the motors is next. Look where the seat should be located. In that area there is the battery and a whole mess of wires. The ones you are looking for are attached to the battery and the small box next to the battery. (insert more information about connecting the motors. Include pictures.) See step 7 in the booklet for seat installation.

Step 8 - Installation of the seat is rather simple. Grab the seat and set it into place. Make sure to pop the top into place first. After that, line up the grey screw in the center of the front of the seat and screw it down. See step 8 in the booklet for seat installation.

You have assembled your car! Congratulations. Make sure to plug the car in and let it charge for a few hours so that when you move to the next step of the build you have enough power to test the modifications out properly.

Step 3: Adding an Emergency Stop Switch

Unfortunately, the remote control that came with the car will not allow an override of the car unless it's engaged from the console. So, for safety, we decided to add a switch to the back of the car, that would remove all power and stop it, if engaged.

First, we chose a switch that could handle the full amperage of the system, so that we could insert it anywhere in the circuit, safely. And we chose a single pole, single throw (SPST) switch with spade connectors for simplicity. Then, we had to find a good place to put it. If we put it right at the battery, it could prevent the system from charging if left engaged. So, we decided to put it directly behind the main power switch.

Step By Step:

1. Find the power wire. To get to the back of the power switch, we had to remove the dashboard. There are a couple screws attaching it to the frame, two on either side. In this model, the red wire leading from the power switch carries all of the power to the electronics in the car (you can see me pointing to the wire in the picture above).

2. Run the wires. Because the power switch is so far away from where we're putting the emergency stop, we have to run two wires from the front to the back. We chose to run them along the existing wires, looping them around the bundles to keep them in place. (We added the blue wires in the pictures.)

3. Wire up the emergency switch. On the emergency switch side, strip and crimp a spade connector (if your switch has different connectors, use the appropriate connectors) to each wire, and slide them on the connectors. (The order doesn't matter.)

Then, on the main power switch side, we cut the power wire (leaving at least 2 inches of slack on either side) stripped both sides, and used butt splices to attach the blue wires to each of the cut ends.

You can test continuity between the connectors to make sure you have a good crimp on the connectors.

4. Install the switch. Normally, you'd want to put the emergency stop on the back end in the middle for easy access. However, we're going to install a toy basket to the back of this car for Riley, so we offset the switch to the right. Once you've got your spot marked, make the hole. We used a hand drill with a bit that had a slightly larger diameter than the switch. When installing it, make sure that up is "on" and down is "off."

You should be good to go! Test it by turning on the main power switch, and turning off the emergency switch. Everything should turn off when either one is off.

Step 4: Steering Wheel Modification

The steering wheel is the control center of the car. This where the child is able to steer, drive and stop the cart. Our goal in this step is to install and secure the "BIG RED BUTTON" this a Big Red Button, which puts the cart into drive mode as long as the button is activated. The cart stops by releasing the button and the vehicle stop instantaneously. Due to the lack of grip strength in Riley's hands, we will install a notch in the steering wheel this cutouts will give him an area to support his little hands and will give him a concrete Grip and more control over the steering wheel. This notch secures him also better access to the Big Red Button.

Tools you need for this procedure are Phillips screwdriver, Dremel with a cut off wheel and a

Step 1: The first step is to disassemble the steering wheel. Remove the steering wheel from the steering rod by pulling out the fixation pin which attached the plastic wheel and the metal rod.

Step 2: Remove the 8 Phillips head screws on the back of the wheel, after removing those screws the back and front part of the wheel can dis-attached into two pieces. Set the back part aside and focus on the front part of the wheel. Remove the horn, which is attached by only one Phillips head screw located, that located close to the center. After removing the screw you are able to detach the horn from the front part of the wheel. Now you should keep only the front, the back, and the Phillips screws of the steering wheel all other parts are negligible.

Step 3: This step is a choice of preference, we decided to go with the blue colored Big Red Button. If you choose to go with any other color other than red, then remove the clear protective case which is only attached by clips, by pulling it off the assembly. Now you have access to the colored case of the button, remove the colored disk by gently taking is out of the holder. Attached the desired cover back on the holder, and don't forget secure the clear casing on top of the colored disk.

Step 4: In order to install make the Big Red Button in the center of the steering wheel, we have to remove the inner part of the top part of the steering wheel with the dimensions of the outer Diameter of the Big Red Button. There are several ways to cut out the access material of the steering wheel. We used a small cutting wheel for the Dremel tool. You can center the colored disk which came with the Big Red Button on the steering wheel and mark around it with a pencil on the top part of the wheel, make sure the color you choose is visible. Cut on the outer side of your marked circle so the outer part of the colored button will fit through the center.

Step 5. If you stick the Big Red Button in the center of the top part of the wheel you will notice that the back the back part of the steering wheel can't be attached and closed together due to a gap between those two parts. In order to close the gap, you have to remove all the additional plastic which prevents the two parts from closing. We used the Dremel tool with the one half inch stone wheel, to grind all additional plastic that prevents the back part form closing. You may have to check the gap each time you grind some material off. Caution do not grind too much material off otherwise the Big Red Button will not be secured tight in the steering wheel center, and will be loose.

Step 6. Assembly the back and the front Part of the steering wheel and secure the two parts with the screws first removed in step one. Outline with a marker the desired cutouts for the hands on the front or the back part of the steering wheel. Use the Dremel tool to cut arround the marked notches, make sure the plastic steering wheel is secured in a vice or tight in a table.

Step 5: Adding the Relay for the Big Button

For ease of use, we removed the pedal in the floorboard which moved the car, and added a Big Red Button.

However, this complicates things, as we don't want the full power going across the Big Red Button, so we're going to use a Relay. We chose the SARL- 112DF, with the wiring diagram pictured.

To power the coil of the relay, we're going to tap into the battery power and run it through the big button to power the relay, and then from the relay to the battery ground. To simplify things, we'll use the hot wire coming off of the emergency stop switch we installed earlier.

To activate the car, we'll just use the wires from the pedal we removed to actually start the car. You can see from the picture that the pedal was just a simple switch that connected two leads. These leads are what we're going to run across the N/O and common connectors. Make sure that 1) you use the normally open connection on the relay, and 2) you connect the "hot" wire to the lead marked 87 (not 87a).

You can identify the hot wire by turning on the car, and reading the voltage between each wire and ground. The one that shows 12V is the hot wire. (above, the brown wire with the electrical tape is the hot wire from the pedal; the brown wire without the electrical tape is the not-hot wire from the pedal)

We opted to use quick disconnects on the wires going to the steering wheel so that we could run them easily through the chassis, but it's not required.

We installed the relay itself underneath the seat, with the other electronics and battery. Since the relay had a mounting hole on one side, we drilled a small hole in the side wall of the car's chassis, and connected it with a bolt and nut.

Step 6: Removing the Fast Option

There is a switch on the right side of the seat, which allows for fast or slow movement. For safety, we opted to remove this fast option.

The switch that turns it from fast to slow is a double pole, single throw (DPST) switch, which had been wired in with a fuse. The fuse was only active when the switch was in slow mode, so we wanted to keep it. And, because we wanted the car to work (in slow mode) even when the switch was in fast mode, we simply extended the slow control wires to both sides of the switch.

To keep the fuse, we put that on the common connectors in the middle, and then ran the blue and yellow wires (as seen in the pictures) to one side, and then ran a wire from that side to the other. That way, no matter what side the switch was on, it was always connecting the circuit between blue and fuse, and yellow and fuse.

The red and green wires that control the fast function were removed, each capped with a wire nut, and safely taped inside the chassis.

Tip: this connector had pins that were held in place by a springy strip of metal. If you simply push down this springy strip, the pins come right out. See picture above.

Step 7: Create a Comfortable Seat - Add Leather, Foam and Wood to Existing Seat

The next step is adding some wood to the underside and back of the existing chair. The wood makes the chair stable and more durable. It also allows the leather, once applied to the foam, to be stapled to the wood.

First you will want to measure out the seat and the wood. You want the wood to be able to fit in the underside of the seat. You will have to grind/cut out the plastic support ribs of the seat to allow the wood to sit inside of the seat.

Once you have the wood ready, you will want to mark some spots to drill through the wood and seat so you can fasten them together. The locations dont really matter as you are going to use round top machine bolts for the seat side. Make sure to use lock nuts on the bolts. That way they don't loosen when the kid is driving around.

The next step is scuffing up the surface of the seat to allow the glue to adhere properly. You can use some really abrasive sand paper to get this job done. Make sure to clean the surface of the seat really well after sanding it. You don't want to have any dust or excess material on the areas where the glue is going to be bonding.

After scuffing the seat up and cleaning it, gather the foam up. You will be using a foam sheet/roll. The thickness really depends on your preference. Roll it out on top of the seat and cut where desired. The easiest place to have the foam to stop is right on the edges. Don't pull it over the edges unless you want to really tighten the leather. Cut the foam to size and get your spray adhesive ready. Spray the glue generously and lay your foam in place. Make sure to do this quickly as some spray adhesive dries rather fast.

Let the glue and foam dry for a few minutes. Measure out the seat dimensions again and cut your leather to be quite a bit longer in each direction. This will allow for stretching and easy pulling when you go to staple it. Once you have it measured and cut, get your spray adhesive again and a staple gun. Lay the leather on the seat in the way you want it to be once it is glued and pull it back until just a small bit of leather is left laying on the seat. Spray the glue on the foam and smooth the leather out. Make sure to not have any creases in the leather. You will do this for the rest of the seat. When you get to a bend, you will want to pull the leather in multiple directions and staple it into place when it gets smoothed out. Do this until the whole seat is covered. (*We recommend you watch some youtube videos on how to apply leather to seats for further help in this stage!*)

Let the glue dry for awhile and then trim away the excess leather left over if you have any.

Your seat is now comfortable and stylish! Congratulations!!

Step 8: Final Step - Put It All Back Together and Test.

You have made it to the final step! You can now install the steering wheel if you haven't already, put the seat into place and make sure the vehicle is all charged up.

Once you get that settled you can do any last touch ups that are needed and hand the vehicle over to the driver!

Some tips: Make sure that the driver/parent's of driver know everything about the vehicle, and that they are comfortable operating it. Walk them through each and every step of the changes but don't go into massive detail, just general information.

Have fun with your new vehicle!