IR Remote Controlled Tracked Robot




About: Happily married man who loves life, nature and technology.

On a previous blog I bread-boarded a PICAXE processor and worked out how to decode an IR hand-held remote control. In this blog, the circuitry has migrated to a toy tank platform so I can test out some ideas I have for a larger, outdoor robot on a much lower cost platform (this was built for less than $60). Most of the parts were purchased from Pololu and SparkFun (and Rat-Shack). Using an IR link costs very little compared to a RC system, so it was ideal for this project. I really enjoyed putting together all of the mechanical elements supplied by Tamiya.

Step 1: Assembling the Double Gearbox

A basic hobby motor turning at 12,300 RPM is basically useless without a good gearbox. Just touching the shaft will stall the motor. I obtained a Tamiya double gearbox kit for under $10, which through a series of gears provided a ratio of 114.7:1 at 115RPM. There were a lot of small parts in this kit; and it looks a little intimidating; but the pictorial instructions were more than adequate. The drive train for a tracked vehicle would require left-hand and right-hand gear-head motors; so having both sides together in one package is a real convience (one gearbox to mount instead of two).

Step 2: 2 Plate Set for Drive Train Body

This Tamiya kit will be used for the base and a parallel upper level. The angled pieces provide bearings for the wheel axles (there will be 5 axles and 10 wheels); which will attach to the bottom plate along with the double gearbox. The upper place will support the battery pack and the micro-controller circuit board.

Step 3: Wheel and Track Set

This is the third and last Tamiya set (each under $10) that go together for a tank tracked platform. Note that there are several different lengths of tread (you will end up with 2 unused pieces 2 3/4" long).

Step 4: Underside of the Tank

The only wheels with sprockets are attached to the double gearbox hex shaft; all other wheels use the round shafts and are free turning (which will come in handy when the tank turns, and one track moves forward and the other in reverse).

Step 5: Stand-offs for Upper Plate

Four each 4-40 hex standoffs are attached to the lower plate to support the upper plate. 2 layers of double-stick foam tape are placed on the gearbox to support the far end of the upper plate.

Step 6: PICAXE Microcontroller Circuit Board

Circuit Diagram [Link]

PICAXE Basic Code [Link]

Parts List [Link]

Spec Sheet [Link]

Step 7: Side View of Completed Robot

At first I had installed the battery pack right above the double motor gearbox resulting in a lot of wobbly motion of the robot, and its front end trying to rise up in the air as it moved forward. When I rearranged the second plate and situated the batteries opposite of the motors, the robot became much more stable (and balanced).

Step 8: Top View

The robot came came together at just over 1 pound (considered "Ant Weight" in competition circles)

Step 9: Presenting "Jim-Bob" Robot 2

Step 10: Thank You!

Thanks for reading this blog and sharing the fun I had building this robot.

I have a few other blogs you might also enjoy:

Robot Links [Link]

My other interests (plant identification, kayaking, sea beans...) [Link]

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    16 Discussions


    2 years ago

    what was the compiler that you used for the picaxe 18m2? what ide did you use?


    2 years ago

    i am a little confused on what remote and ir reciver i should purchase


    3 years ago

    Your circuit diagram is incomplete, It doesn't show where all the capacitors (except 1) and the diodes are connected.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    See this embellished drawing for the details that were meant to be read between the lines:


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you, that clears up alot, but what of the two 0.1uf and the two
    100uf capacitors. I dont see where they fit in on the diagram. I
    apologize in advance if I am asking questions with obvious answers.


    3 years ago

    Hi. How did you connect the tracks? Thanks.


    Reply 5 years ago

    About $60 USD

    Here is a link to my parts list with costs. Were I to build it today, I would use an Arduino micro or mini instead of the PICAXE, only due to the need for a special programming cable. thank you for your interest!


    They robot is 'ant-scale' which is only 1 pound (not meant to be "huffy"; more of a toy-scale). The Tamiya track kit has interlocking track sections, so the length is variable; but these are light weight also. The link is

    Pololu 86 Tamiya 70157 Universal Plate Set
    Pololu 114 Tamiya 70168 Double Gearbox Kit, assembly C: 114.7:1 gear ratio, 809 torque, 115 RPM
    Pololu 106 Tamiya 70100 Track and Wheel Set


    6 years ago on Introduction

    what are the dimensions of the tracks and how much weight could they hold

    The code was written in BASIC for a PICAXE microcontroller; hex code alone will be of no use because the PICAXE has a bootloader already installed in the chip, that has assmelby routines that are proprietary to Revolution Education. They get a small percentage of the $5 per PICAXE-18M2 to fund their educational work; so it is a worthy investment. I built the breadboard from scratch, there is no silkscreen nor is there a gerber file. My intention was to keep this very simple.

    The programming port makes programming and reprogramming the microprocessor easy (you do not have to pull the chip out). For more detail please see my blog