Introduction: NRF Remote Control (NovaSM3 Project)
Hello Lovely People,
This remote control was designed and built by me for my NovaSM3 quadruped robot dog project. It could easily be used with any remote controlled device using a NRF module and some custom coding! ;)
It was originally designed completely in Tinkercad, but has since been "ported" to a full Fusion 360 model (see below)
I will do my best to walk you through how to build one of your own with text, images, and videos! For help, support, questions, and updates, join Nova's website and visit the other links below:
NovaSM3 Project: https://novaspotmicro.com
GitHub Project: https://github.com/cguweb-com/Arduino-Projects/tr...
Discord Server: https://discord.gg/Fj8NsHED
Direct links to the parts required for this project can be found at Nova's website.
What you will need:
- Arduino Mega 2560 Pro Embed
- Lipo Battery
- 2 OLED Displays
- 2 Thumb Joystick Breakouts
- Mini Momentary Push Buttons
- NRF24101 Module
- SPDT Rocker Switch
- Sliding Potentiometers
- Round Momentary Push Buttons
- WS2812B 5050 Smart RGB LEDs
- 5V Buck Converter
- 3.3V Voltage Regulator
- Solid Hook Up Wire
- 22uF apacitor
- 3mm Hex Cap Screws
- 3D printing filament of your choice
Step 1: 3D Printing
There are only 3 parts to print for this project, so use high settings for your printer and get the best quality and strength you can out of them.
- Front Cover
- Back Cover
- Holding Block
Download the latest STL files from GitHub:
All parts require support while printing, and the best orientation would be with the outside / finished surfaces facing up. The infill should be about 12-16% and I suggest using something simple like line fill pattern for easiest and cleanest removal from the parts cavity of the remote.
Step 2: Electronics Components
This is the most confined-space project I've ever designed, and needless to say it was quite tricky to get everything inside this remote! So be patient, especially when it comes time for wiring!
You'll notice that the front cover has indents for most of its components to sit in. Some press in nicely, like the slide potentiometers, some may require a dab of glue, or in my case, I used some open-cell foam padding between my holding plate and the OLEDs and RGBs. I used no glue for anything in my version.
Be sure to test fit all components in their places before beginning to wire things. Plan your wiring carefully. In the next section I will share my methods and process for wiring, but in most cases, you are free to route wires and power as you see fit.
Step 3: Wiring Schematic
Step 4: Overall Wiring & Assembly
Before diving into the wiring, please watch this video I did on an overall wiring plan for the project:
Step 5: Pre-Assemble Where Possible!
In my case, I pre-wired the back cover "fire" buttons, the NRF and power regulators, the Mega pin pad wires, and the OLED screens in preparation for making the wiring as painless as possible. Its a wise idea to try and do this where ever possible. ;)
Step 6: Power Train
The remote uses a 2 cell 7.4v Lipo battery.
Please watch this video on battery use and safety that I created specifically for how we are wiring this battery for this project:
The double-throw power switch is wired to the battery in such a way that allows us to switch the battery between powering the remote and charging mode.
In power mode, the battery power runs first through a voltage divider to monitor the battery's charge, as well as into the 5v buck converter to power the Arduino Mega with a constant 5+ volts. The Mega then provides power to the OLEDs and RGBs.
There is also a simple two-resistor voltage divider circuit used to monitor the battery level. This circuit was added after the build videos and photos were created, so it does not (yet) appear in any. However, the wiring schematic shows how it should be wired, and being its just two resistors, it can go in a few different places within the back cover.
Step 7: NRF24 Module Power
Also from the 5v buck converter, the power is pushed through a 3.3v regulator, which provides direct 3.3v to the NRF24 module exclusively for best performance of the device.
And finally, we add a 22uF capacitor across the Ground and VIN pins of the NRF to also help with an important constant and clean voltage supply.
Step 8: Main Components & Wiring
The front cover houses the majority of components for this project. Each has its place, so it really cannot be assembled incorrectly. Just be certain that your Joystick modules and Slide Potentiometers are orientated in the same direction.
WARNING: This wiring project is not for the faint at heart! Because of space limitations within the remote, please follow these conventions to insure a compact assembly:
- wires must be soldered directly to most components without using pin headers
- wires should be as short as possible
- solid-core wire is suggested for most connections, allowing you to use the wire's memory in routing and positioning of the wires after assembly
- JST connectors (or other) should be used for the NRF-to-Mega wiring, the 2 "fire" buttons installed in the back cover, and the 5v Power Supply to the Mega.
Step 9: The Holding Plate
The Holding Plate is where the Mega gets secured using two threaded inserts and screws, along with a small piece of perf board to be used as the common power distribution terminal where all 5v and Ground connections will converge.
The Holding Plate snaps into place with perfect alignment to the components underneath it, providing a mechanism of locking them in their places without the need for glue or fasteners.
Step 10: Final Wiring Connections
This is the most tricky part of the process, be patient!
Carefully make all of the final connections that you could not preassemble or solder until fully assembling the components and holding plate.
Reminder: keep these wires short as possible, and use solid-core wire for most connections.
And finally, once you have triple checked that you have made all of the wiring connections, shrink-wrapped any exposed wires or leads, and neatly moved all wires to safe and compact locations as best as possible, you are ready to connect your JST connectors and close the two halves together!!
Congratulations, you did it!
Step 11: Software Installation
If you are building the NovaSM3 Project, the Remote software is still under development, so join and stay tuned to Nova's website at https://novaspotmicro.com
In the interim, here is the code that tests all component functionality locally by using the OLEDs & RGBs.
And of course, for your own projects, you are welcome to roll your own code!
Here is a playlist of videos created for this project, some not shown in this instructables:
Good luck, and enjoy our hobby in building this challenging project!
Runner Up in the
Make it Move Challenge