Tankbot - Internet Controlled Tank Robot




Introduction: Tankbot - Internet Controlled Tank Robot

About: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open and let me know how it goes. cheers, -Joe
Do you remember a game called Tank Wars? This is an attempt to make a physical version of that classic arcade game. You, the player drive an Arduino powered tank and fire a laser at a target.

This project uses an Arduino to control a tank through a web page. The tank is driven from a control panel on a web page, that is communicated to over a  WiFly. The tank uses a Parallax Ping to avoid obstacles, a servo for aiming the turret and a Tamiya tank platform for locomotion.

Why did I make this you ask? Because like everyone else I wanted to make a tank that fired lasers.

Step 1: Parts

For the tank you will need:
-Tamiya Dual Motor Gearbox: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/319
-Tamiya Tank Treads: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/321
-Universal Mounting Platform: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10016
-Arduino Uno
-Arduino Motor Shield
-Sparkfun ProtoScrew Shield: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9729
-Laser Pointer
-Parallax Ping: www.parallax.com/tabid/768/ProductID/92/Default.aspx
-Mini Servo: http://www.hitecrcd.com/products/analog/micro-mini/hs-55.html
-Nuts, Bolts, Standoffs, Plexiglass
-Dynamite Prophet Sport II : http://www.dynamiterc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=DYN4063
-Dynamite 7.2v Battery: http://www.dynamiterc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=DYN1466
-WiFly RN-XV : http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10822
-XBee Breakout: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8276

For the target you will need:
-TSL230R : http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8940
-Sparkfun TriColor LED :http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10111

Step 2: Tank: Build

You will need to assemble the following:
-Gear Box
-Tank Treads
-Universal Platform.

I used nuts and bolts to create a platform above this for the Arduino, Servo and PING.

I copied the dimensions of the Universal Plate set for the plexi glass second platform.

The laser pointer can be attached to the servo horn.

But what was really tricky for me, the Arduino Motor Shield uses up a ton of pins, but you cannot see it quickly as it is wired internally. I found it helpful to just quick sketch it out.

Step 3: Power

The tank motors require a lot of power and I did not want to wear down AA batteries or 9v that quickly. The RC car community has spent a good bit of time figuring out small power. So I picked up a Dynamite 7.2v 1750mah battery and Dynamite Sport II charger.

Then used a plug to connect to the motorshield's screw terminal.

Step 4: Tank: Load Code

For the tank you will load the code on this page. It requires the awesome WiFly libraries from http://arduinology.blogspot.com. They are included in the code attached.

v.2 of the code updated on 3/29.

Step 5: Tank: Iterative Build - Object Avoiding Tank

To make the task a bit easier I built it first to just be an object avoiding robot. I attached the motors, a RC car rechargeable battery, the Arduino and the PING. When

Step 6: Tank: Iterative Build - Web Enabled Tank

Next I added a platform to the body and added the WiFly to get the tank to be controlled over the internet.

At this point the control was just telnetting to port 2000 and sending a command.

Step 7: Tank: Iterative Build - Robot Tanks With Lasers

For this part I attached the servo to the "control platform" by cutting a piece of plexi glass, then routing a hole in it for the servo to sit.

The laser pointer was attached to the servo horn and wired to the Arduino.

Step 8: Web Interface

I used PHP to create a web interface that controls the tank. You could load this on a machine running apache locally (like a Mac) or put it on a server and give remote access to the page to a device like an ipad.

The page opens a socket to the WiFly and sends the actions to it.

Step 9: Target

The target uses a TSL230R, Arduino Mini and a Sparkfun Tricolor LED.

I'd like to improve on this by making the target larger and having it update the web page.

Step 10: Target Code

Load the code.

Step 11: Play the Game

Now that everything is built you can play the game.

You can drive the tank. When you are ready to fire, you can aim the turret and fire.

You have 3 choices of firing, targetted shot, burst and spray.

The target shoot ones shot, the burst fires at a 30° arc and the spray fires 180°.

Step 12: Things Still to Work On.

So there are still a few things I would like to do.

-Make the target update the web page.
-Keep score on the web page.
-Make the target easier to hit.
-Make the target cooler, put it in a model or toy or something
-Put a body on the tank.

Thanks for looking!

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    6 years ago

    I just purchased one of the Tamiya setups, and now you have shown me how to drive it around. Thanks very much.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    hey! i'm building the same tankbot with 2 motor car chassis kit. I'm studing step by step your instuctions but on the plan of tank built i can't understand why have more wires on the motors A and B. My car dosent have more than 2 wires at the same motor.


    how u upload the without checking when i try to upload i am getting this error


    9 years ago on Introduction

    What does the 1750 mAh battery connect to?

    high school sophomore

    New question. Do you not using any wireless shield with the RN-XV? How do you convert the 5V in the TX / RX to 3.3V? The specs say that support only 3.3V in the TX / RX



    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The official Arduino motorshield.

    vteixeira coelho
    vteixeira coelho

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the reply. I bought Ardumoto from Sparkfun, they use the same 298 h-bridge.

    Go job In the tank!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Joe, maybe if you can help with one last item. I get an compiling error message below from Servo.h

    In file included from TankBot_apr07a.cpp:27: C:\Users\Ron\Downloads\arduino-1.0-windows\arduino-1.0\libraries\Servo/Servo.h:99: error: expected ',' or ';' before 'typedef' C:\Users\Ron\Downloads\arduino-1.0-windows\arduino-1.0\libraries\Servo/Servo.h:102: error: expected constructor, destructor, or type conversion before ';' token C:\Users\Ron\Downloads\arduino-1.0-windows\arduino-1.0\libraries\Servo/Servo.h:105: error: 'ServoPin_t' does not name a type

    Servo.h code looks like this:

    typedef struct  {
    uint8_t nbr        :6 ;             // a pin number from 0 to 63
    uint8_t isActive   :1 ;             // true if this channel is enabled, pin not pulsed if false
    } ServoPin_t   ; 

    typedef struct {
      ServoPin_t Pin;
      unsigned int ticks;
    } servo_t;

    This is the standard servo.h file and have not seen this before. Any thoughts? Thanks, Ron

    4-8-2012 10-37-17 AM.png

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Rgramza - Are you using Arduino IDE v1.0?



    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Joe, I got it all working. I am using IDE V1.0, the problem was a missing semi colon in the credentials file. The Wifly is working great. I can see it registering the data. I don't have the sonar ping, so I have disabled those sections of code and trying to come up with a distance code more than 12 inches. Sure have learned alot in the process. Thanks for your help. All the best, Ron


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Joe, great instructions. Question: I have loaded xampp as a server and its working well. How do I provide access and control to my Ipad. I tried localhost and but it does not work. BTW the files are in the correct place as I am able to access them on the same computer. Thanks!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Rgramza - You should put in the ip and path of the server, so if the server running xampp on and installed the tankbot code in /tankbot you would use the URL

    Let me know how it goes! I just uploaded a new version of the web code and arduino code.