RC Tracked Robot Using Arduino – Step by Step

Introduction: RC Tracked Robot Using Arduino – Step by Step

About: Hobbyist, Electronics Research and Development, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Linux, Hacking

Hey guys, I am back with another cool Robot chassis from BangGood. Hope you have gone through our previous projects – Spinel Crux V1 – The Gesture Controlled Robot, Spinel Crux L2 – Arduino Pick and Place Robot with Robotic Arms and The Badland Brawler which we published last month. Looks cool with under glowing lights right?

This time I have a rough Terrain Robot with 4 Wheel Drive and dedicated suspension for it to travel over rough terrain. Check it out. Why not build one for yourself? Here we will learn how to build a Off Road Wireless Multipurpose 4 Wheel Drive Arduino Tracked Robot for a smooth ride over rough terrain – A DIY Rough Terrain Wireless Crawler with Suspension.

We will provide you with the design, code, circuit diagrams and links to buy your own robot kit, chassis and the sensor modules used in this project.

Online PCB ManufacturerJLCPCB

JLCPCB is one of the best Online PCB manufacturing company from where you can order PCBs online without any hassle. The company works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week nonstop. With their high tech machinery and automated work stream, they can manufacture huge quantities of high-class PCBs within hours.

JLCPCB can develop PCBs of various complexity. They develop Simple and cheap PCBs with Single layer board for hobbyists and enthusiasts as well as complex multi layer board for high standard industrial applications. JLC works with large product manufacturers and may be the PCB of devices you are using such as laptop or mobile phones were made at this factory.

HC12

HC 12 is a really cheap long range wireless module which can be used for wireless serial communication over a long distance of upto 1.7 KM. The module is really compact light weight and breadboard friendly which makes this the best wireless controller for our project.

Joystick

This is the most widely used robotic controller which comes with various robot DIY robot kit/robot arm kit that is built to work with arduino. The design is quite simple and is very easy to use. It uses two potentiometers to calculate the motion in the x axis and y axis and a switch to sense the button press. This can be easily connected to the arduino’s analog pins and read analog values directly.

Code for testing the joystick is available down below. Feel free to download/edit it as per your need. Download Before uploading the main code, make sure your joystick works by using this code.

Download the code from the above link.

In this example, what we are doing is simply collecting the data analog outputs from the Joystick using the analog pins (A0, A1,A2) of arduino. These values are stored in the variables and are later printed on the serial monitor

Arduino Pro Mini

This teeny tiny board was developed for applications and projects where space is premium and installations made permanent. Small, available in 3.3 V and 5 V versions, powered by ATmega328. Due to its small size, in this project we will be using this board to control Arduino Based Motor Driver Board.

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Step 1: Designing Circuit and PCB Layout

Arduino Motor Shield Board Explained

Features of Pro Mini Motor Shield PCB Controls 2 Motors Independently at a timeIndependent Speed Control using PWMCompact Design5 V, 12 V and Gnd Headers for extra components. Increase Power by PiggybackingSupport HC12 Wireless ModuleNow let us take a look at the circuit of our motor driver board.Looks a bit messy?

Don’t worry, I will explain it for you. The Regulator The input power is connected to a 7805 regulator. 7805 is a 5V regulator which will convert an input voltage of 7- 32V to a steady 5V DC supply. 5 V supply is connected to voltage input of Arduino as well as for Logical operations of L293D IC.

There are indicator LEDs across 12V and 5V terminals for easy troubleshooting. So, you can connect an input voltage of anywhere between 7V to 32 to this circuit. For my bot, I prefer a 11.1V Lipo Battery. Make Your Own Arduino Motor Shield PCB Now let me tell You How I designed the circuit and got this PCB done from JLCPCB.

Creating the prototype

First connect all the components together on the breadboard so that I can troubleshoot easily if something goes wrong. Once I got everything working properly, I tried it on a Robot and played with it for some time. That time, I made sure that the Circuit is working properly and is not heating up.

Step 2 – The Schematics To draw circuits and design PCBs, we have online PCB designing tools from EasyEDA, provides all the necessary capability for online PCB Design and PCB Printing of Circuit Boards with hundreds of components and multiple layers with thousands of tracks.

I drew a circuit in EasyEDA which included all the components on the breadboard – the ICs, Arduino Nano and HC12 module which are connected to the digital pin of the Arduino.

I have also added some headers which are connected to Analog Pins and Digital Pins of These buttons will be useful in the future. Connections Also, there are 5V, 12V, Gnd, wireless module, digital and analog pin headers incase you want to add sensors and take readings in the future.

Complete pin mapping is explained in below sections.

Motor Driver 1

Enable 1 – A0

InM1A – 2

InM1B – 3

Enable 2 – 8

InM2A – 7

InM2B – 4

HC12

Vin – 5V

Gnd – Gnd

Tx/Rx – D10

Tx/Rx – D11

Relay

Relay 1 – 12

Relay 2 – 13

I also added a 7805, regulator which will helped me to provide an input voltage between 7 volt and 35 volt in the input, so that I can use a 7 volt power supply, 9-volt battery or even a 12 volt lithium polymer battery without any issues. Step 3 – Creating PCB Layout Next, designing the PCB. PCB Layout is actually a significant part of PCB Design, we use PCB Layouts to make PCBs from schematics.

I designed a PCB where I could solder all the components together. For that, first save the schematics and from the top tool list, Click on the convert button and Select “Convert to PCB”.

This will open up a window. Here, you can place the components inside the boundary and arrange them the way you want. The easy way route all the component is “auto-route” process. For that, Click on the “Route” Tool and Select “Auto Router”.

This will open up an Auto Router Config Page where you can provide details such as clearance, track width, layer information etc. Once you have done that, click on “Run”. Here is the link to EasyEDA Schematics and Gerber Files of L293D Arduino Motor Shield Board . Please feel free to download or edit the schematics/PCB layout. That’s it guys, your layout is now complete. This a dual layer PCB which means the routing is there in both side of the PCB. You can now download the Gerber file and use it to manufacture your PCB from JLCPCB.

Step 2: Getting Quality PCB From JLCPCB

JLCPCB is a PCB manufacturing company with a full production cycle. Which means they start from “A” and finishes with “Z” of PCB manufacturing process. From raw materials to finished products, everything is done right under the roof.

Go toJLCPCBs website and create a free account. Once you have successfully created an account, Click on “Quote Now” and upload your Gerber File.

Gerber File contains information about your PCB such as PCB layout information, Layer information, spacing information, tracks to name a few.

Below the PCB preview, you will see so many options such as PCB Quantity, Texture, Thickness, Color etc. Choose all that are necessary for you. Once everything is done, click on “Save To Cart”.

In the next page, you can choose a shipping and payment option and Check Out Securely. You can either use Paypal or Credit/Debit Card to pay. Thats it guys. Its Done.

The PCB will be manufactured and shipped with in days and will be delivered to your doorstep within the mentioned time period.

Step 3: Test Drive

Once you get the PCB in hand, all you have to do is solder the header pins and all other components.
Once it is done, connect the power adapter and you will see LED1 will glow up.

This means it is working.

The Code

Here, I will share the code for HC12 Remote Controller and the RC Robot. Simply upload this code to your remote controller as well as your DIY RC Robot.

This is the code for DIY RC Off Road Robot.

Remote Controller

In the previous post, I showed you how you can set up a long range remote controller for your RC Robot. You can use the same remote controller with the same code for this project.

Piggybacking L293D (Bonus Tip)

L293D piggyback configuration is an Easy Way to Double (or in my case triple) The Current as well as the power of L293D Motor Driver IC to drive high torque/ high current motor/ high resistance load. (This strategy should work for any L293D chips). L293D Piggyback is a speedy and simple technique to double the current output to the motor.

So the entire thought is to solder another L293D chip straightforwardly over the present one. Pin to Pin. This puts the two chips in parallel mode so the voltage will remain the same as before but the current increases. These chips are evaluated at about 600ma constant or up to 1.2A for a brief period. After piggybacking two of them together, they will provide output with 1.2A persistent current and 2.4A for brief periods.

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