Do you hate to walk to the kitchen to grap a snack? Or to get a new drink? This can all be fixed with this simple $15 remote controlled butler.
Before we go any further i am running a Kickstarter project right now for a voice controlled RGB ledstrip which works with Cortana and costs $19. It can be found here:
In this Instructable we will be building a remote controlled butler. It can be controlled over WiFi using an Iphone or Android phone. The entire project is based on the ESP8266 nodeMCU board and everything can be build for $15 if you buy from China.
For this project we need the following:
1x ESP8266 board
2x Geared DC motors with wheels
1x L293D or 2x bc547 NPN transistors
1x breadboard + breadboard wires
1x piece of wood
1x trash bin ( or something else which will be the table in step 3)
1x 360 degree rotating wheel
1x battery for the DC motors. I used a 2s Lipo
1x 5V power bank
This project is also useful if you want to build a remote controlled car, tank or rover since the electronics wille be same. Only the base needs to be changed.
So let's get started!
Step 1: Create the Blynk App
To get started we first need to download a app called Blynk. It can be found in both the AppStore as in the PlayStore. After downloading the app we have to perform the following steps (check the pictures above for a visual explanation of what i am doing).
1. Create a account and log in.
2. Press the "new project" button.
3. give the project a name and select as board ESP8266 and as connection WiFi.
4. swipe to the left and add two buttons like in the picture above.
5. click on the left button and and change the pin to GP0
6. Do the same for the right button but change the pin now to GP2
As last we have to get the auth token. Click on the nut icon in the top right and search for the auth token. It is a long string of random numbers and letters. Write this string down because we need it in the next step.
Step 2: Program the ESP8266
Because we use the Blynk app we don't have to use complicated code. To start we need open the Arduino IDE. I assume you already have your Arduino IDE configured for the ESP8266 Board and you can upload to it. If not there are plenty of tutorials online on how to do that.
Simply download the robotButler.ino file from the Instructable and open it in the Arduino IDE. Before we can upload it we need to change 3 parameters:
Look for this line of code:
char auth = "YourAuthToken";
Now change the text between the “ “ for your auth token. This is that long string of numbers and letters which you wrote down from step 1.
For example: char auth = "8d454db36538e4ce49516ca476186r9db”;
Now look for these two lines of code:
char ssid = "YourNetworkName";
char pass = "YourPassword";
Now change the text between the " " for the ssid to the name of your home WiFi network for me ElferinksWiFi.
Now change the text between the " " for the password to the password of your home WiFi network.
char ssid = "ElferinksWiFi";
char pass = "TERHTK18R";
After this you can connect the ESP8266 with a USB cable and click the upload button to flash the ESP8266.
Step 3: Make the Hardware!
Now we have the software part done we can start building the hardware.
I started with building the schematic above on a breadboard. Both schematics work but for some reason the NPN transistors i used the bc547 in the second schematic got really hot. That is why i decided to use the L293d motor driver IC which worked perfectly for me.
After the schematic is done we need to power it all. I used for this a 2s (7.4V) lipo battery for power to the motors and a 5V power bank to power the ESP8266.
Now we can start building the robot itself.
1. Hot Glue the two geared dc motors to a piece of wood.
2. Hot Glue a rotating wheel to the end of the base you are using. In my case a round metal disk.
3. Hot Glue the piece of wood with the DC motors to your base.
4. Now Hot Glue thwe electronics to the base.
After the base is done we need to create the tabel itself. I used a trash bin I had laying around. After zip tying it to the base and placing a piece of wood on top the robot was finished.
You can also build a completely different base. If you for example want to build a remote controlled tank you can create a base for that and use the same electronics as in this project. This is the same if you want to build a: remote controlled car, rover or anything you can think of.
Step 4: Lets Ride!
With everything done we can plug in the ESP8266 into the powerbank and open the Blynk app on your phone. The app will automatically connect to the robot and you will now be able to drive it anywhere!
If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me.
If you liked this project you can check out my other projects which are also IOT type projects like self opening doors and voice controlled lights.