Roll-A-Way Rover




Age Group: 13 - 18

 My experimental rover that I built from a Roll-A-Way alarm clock that was on clearance for $5.
 It can be controlled via the numeric section of a keyboard when the serial port is connected to a computer or
 a Wii Nunchuck attached directly to it, using either the joystick portion, or the accelerometer while pressing the bigger button.
 It uses one of my customized Ardweeny and an H bridge L293D motor driver chip:

Here is a preview video:

My next step would be to make it wireless and add a couple of sensors; I was thinking of a tiny wireless camera too, however because it rolls so much it would not be very practical.

I hope you like this just as much as I did, I learned a couple of things along the way. I built this at the same time while working on two different robots and rovers, however this one was simpler in hardware requirement and the code, and I can see a lot of potential for learning off it and expanding from it.  Also if you find it too tight to put all the components inside you can always just use the code and the hardware on a bigger customized frame.

Please let me know if something is not clear or you need more details.

Included is my code: Roll_A_Way_Rover_v1_1.pde

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Step 1: Parts and Material Used

1x   Roll-A-Way Clock
1x   Ardweeny 2 ( )
1x   USB interface for Ardweeny
1x   H bridge L293D motor driver chip ( )
2x   16 DIP sockets ( )
1x   small power switch
1x   LED with small mounting clip
1x   220 ohm resistor
20x Short length Breadboard jumper wire -  4 inches - male to male

For the USB serial interface cable extension:
6x   Medium length Breadboard jumper wire- 6 inches - male to female
2x   Female Socket Strip - Strip of 6

1x   Wii Nunchuck
1x   Wii Nunchuck adapter ( )
6x   Medium length Breadboard jumper wire- 6 inches - male to male

4x   AAA batteries (rechargeable preferred)

Soldering equipment & basic tools.

Step 2: Taking Apart the Roll a Way Clock

Remove the 4 screws at the bottom.
Once open, remove the LCD display assembly with the two push buttons attached to it, they will not be used *.
Remove the snooze button assembly and the four time settings buttons, keep the snooze plastic cover.
Remove the two motor and detach the wires.
Remove the speaker at the bottom.
Remove the battery box.

Warm up your soldering iron for the next steps.

* PS: there are instructions on how to use the clock LCD module with an Arduino and it is what got me started on this when I saw the gear motors inside and the price of the unit at a local store ;),51464.0.html

Step 3: Assembling Part 1

Take two of the short length breadboard jumper wire - 4 inches - male to male and cut them in half; 
strip the ends and solder the resulting 4 short wires to the DC motor terminals.
Do the same for the speaker if you decide to use it.

Remove the wires from the battery box and solder two medium length breadboard jumper wire- 6 inches - male to male; you may want to use red and black colors to make it easier to distinguish polarity.

Solder the two 16 DIP sockets pins together keeping the notch on the same side.
Solder a small wire between pins 1 & 16, and one between 8 & 9.
Solder pins 4 & 5 together, and  also pins 12 & 13.
The junctions from pins 1 & 16, and pins 8 & 9  need to be joined, you can either solder a wire between them or use a small jumper wire from the opposite side of the socket..
(See )

Step 4: Putting It All Together

Of course before cramming everything inside, do a dry run.
Upload the sketch to the Ardweeny and if everything is wired according to the schematic (sorry, I forgot to include the power switch in the diagram) the LED will flash in a heartbeat pattern; the only thing you may have to adjust is the polarity of the motors going to the H bridge. If any of the motors go in the opposite direction when you use the joystick or the keyboard, just reverse the position of the wires for that motor.

Once you are satisfied with the operation, your patience will be tested, as it is pretty crammed inside.
Look at my picture and take your time, you will succeed.

I am working on a smaller socket for the H bridge so that there will be more room inside, however it will not be for the faint of heart as it consists of bending the pins of the IC and soldering it directly to opposite side of the socket.

I hope you like this just as much as I did, I learned a couple of things along the way.

Please let me know if something is not clear or you need more details.


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    10 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What is that little ardweeny thingy you have? You make it your self or what?

    I found an original Clocky at GoodWill for $3
    And this is the first thing I did when I got it home. I had a ton of wires coming out of it's "mouth" to the arduino. (The Uno was way too big to fit inside)
    I'm Hoping to Make it completely contained and turn it into a simple wall avoiding bot.

    1 reply
    Win Guy

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Dude, this has POTENTIAL! It's awesome. I have a chrome Clocky® like this and I love it!
     Win Guy

    2 replies
    TheRafManWin Guy

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks and yeah it has a lot of potential. I am still thinking of going wifi and/or Bluetooth with it and even incorporate a built in cam, but it would be a 'rocky' video feed... I am thinking of using an Arduino Pro Mini and a WiFly if I go that route.

    You haven't pitched your Clocky against the wall yet after you caught it ? :)

    Win GuyTheRafMan

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    1. An Arduino Pro Mini would be a good choice if you were to go wireless - as would a WiFly - and a camera, even if it were to have a rocky video feed, would still be better than no video feed! It's a good idea.

    2. No, I haven't pitched Clocky at the wall - I awaken easily enough...

     Thanks for the awesome project!
      Win Guy

    I just bought some l293d's, but have not had a chance to use them yet. Missed the robot contest deadline.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Where specificly did you get the roll-away-clock? What store. I know the original Clocky's are around 40 dollars. To expensive when there are generic cheap ones, like the one you have.
    Very cool.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you Mottr.
    They are the same and, yeah... makes you wonder what kind of profit margin they have, doesn't it?
    I happened to be at Staples last month to pick up some supplies for my daughter when I saw them at $4.97 but didn't buy them right away. A couple of days later I saw this post on Hackaday ( and realized that they would be good for parts alone at that price, so went back and bought a couple; I then just stored them on a shelf, until last week when the idea of making one into a rover came back to me and decided to do it.
    Now I really want it to be wireless and I am waiting for the YellowJacket from AsyncLabs to be available again.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I will check at my local Staples for some. Hope there are some because I'm looking for another arduino project.