Introduction: RC Mini Rover

About: My goal is to captivate, inspire and engage young engineers through intriguing robotics projects. I use Arduino at my robotics workshops since it is the most cost-effective way to build a robot using commodit…

I am hosting a jr robotics summer camp where kids are going to learn about mechatronics and build this mini rover as a final project. My design criterial were keep it small, inexpensive, simple, and remote controlled. While looking for a cheap tracked platform, I found this inexpensive mini rover chassis kit from and decided to build on it. I've gone through several iterative design process to make it simple for kids to build and here is my final version. I hope you enjoy building this as much as I did.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

  • Robotshop Mini Rover Chassis Kit (includes Tamiya track & twin motor gear)
  • 2 x 130 motor to replace Tamiya stock motors. It needs high voltage/low current motors that are suitable for a TB6612FNG motor driver. (I used 6V 12500rpm 0.11A idle current motors and they work fine.)
  • Mini breadboard
  • Arduino Nano or compatible
  • TB6612FNG motor driver
  • IR remote and receiver combo
  • 9V booster
  • Battery holder (4 x AA)
  • Sliding switch
  • Dupont wires (about 30 x 20cm M-M)
  • 2 x 5mm clear LED
  • 2 x 220ohm resistor
  • Perfboard for LED headlight assembly
  • 3 x 0.1uF 50V capacitor
  • 3 x 8mm hex pillar
  • 3 x 4mm flat head screw
  • 1 x 7mm flat hed screw
  • 2x 8mm round head screw
  • Cardboard to make casing (paint optional)

Tools used: soldering iron, screw driver, wire cutter, glue gun, utility knife, drill, countersink bit, etc.

Step 2: Chassis and Body

Here is the link to my Google Slide presentation. There are too many photos to upload here.

Step 3: Electronics

Wire all the components according to the diagram. You’ll notice that I use 9v step-up boost converter to power Nano through Vin pin. This eliminates having another 9V battery for the logic. Motors are still powered by 6V.

Step 4: Code

First, you have to remove the built-in IR remote from Arduino IDE and install a new IR remote library. Read this Instructables on how-tos (step 3 for removal and step 5 for install).

Then, download the attached Arduino IDE code. Comments in the code should explain what’s going on in the code. It was written for Nano but it should work on other Arduino boards with little or no modifications. If you are using a different IR remote, you may have to change the code to reflect the different encoding for up, down, left, right, and ok(stop) buttons.

IR remote button assignment:

  • up: forward
  • down: reverse
  • left: left
  • right: right
  • ok: stop
  • *: headlight on
  • #: headlight off

Upload the code and test drive it! (See the video on the Intro page)