Introduction: Rugged Remote Tracked Chassis Surveillance Bot
So this was a project that I initially wanted to start and complete back in 2016, however due to work and a plethora of other things I have only just been able to start and complete this project in the new year 2018!
It took about 3 weeks, mainly due to designing how I would arrange each component and what type of controller and receiver combination I wanted as well as shipping time of some components.
Everything is based around a T-Rex robot chassis I purchased from Spark fun years ago, (not even sure you can buy it anymore)..
Its very robust and just a little to loud for any sort of quiet or covert usage (LOL).
Right, so lets dive in!
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Step 1: The Chassis
Front, rear, and side views of the outside chassis.
Everything is made of aluminium and zinc plated steel and brass components.This makes for quite a robust platform to house your electronics and sensors.
The biggest downside are the metal treads, extremely loud and absolutely no gripping properties on smooth surfaces.
Step 2: The Receiver and Enclosure
I am using a Fly Sky FS-IA6B Receiver and Fly Sky i6s transmitter to control the chassis.
I have modified the original receiver antennas to use RP-SMA connectors and 2.4Ghz antennas mounted to the ABS plastic enclosure. (Unfortunately I did not document this process but its extremely simple if you can solder).
The plastic enclosure does add a breakable component to the chassis however I find it necessary as the aluminium enclosure isn't the best for wireless signals.
The antennas and connectors are about 3.50 GBP on amazon.
the Fly Sky FS-IA6B Receiver and Fly Sky i6s transmitter are about 45 GBP on eBay.
Note the blue LED indicator and switch which I haven't found use for yet (but will in the future)!
Step 3: The Inner Workings
Notice the hole I had to drill through the aluminium top canopy in order to allow for the receiver signal and power cables.
I really didn't want several holes drilled through the aluminium chassis as it looks messy and may lead to structural weakness depending. So I kept it to this main one (Besides the mounting brackets for the ABS enclosure and the wonderful Saber-tooth 2X25 motor controller).
I know for longevity this inst the best choice but for simplicity and ease of future add-on's I have used a small breadboard to allow for all the connections between the RX and Motor Controller.
Step 4: The Motor Controller
Here is the Sabertooth 2X25 motor controller board that is capable of way way more than this robot can subject it to... It was also the second most expensive part at 120 USD
The Chassis was 249 USD
Setup is simple as the board comes with a great instruction guide as well as having videos on you tube that you can watch if that works better for you :)
The gearbox's are all steel with brushed motors and probably use a ton of amps at stall but I haven't had much issue with them yet.. Apparently everything about this chassis is taken from the 1/16th scale tank models that are quite popular to may R/C hobbyists.
Step 5: The Battery
For the power source I opted for the 11.1 Volt 3 Cell Li Po batter as it was about 20 GBP and connectors, chargers, as well as replacements are easy to come by.
The motor controller can handle up to 32 Volts I believe so there's plenty of freedom here..
The connector of choice is an XT60, the standard and my personal preference when it comes to an R/C battery connector.
Step 6: Give It Sight!
For the vision aspect I have opted for a Go Pro knockoff from amazon for roughly 25 GBP.
This claims 4k capable however I am happy with 1080p.
A cool feature of this camera is it has the ability to create a secured WiFi connection so you can use your phone or tablet for viewing. There it is; high quality robot vision on the cheap!
It also has its own internal battery however it can be powered though the motor controller 5 vdc line if desired.
Step 7: Conclusion
This was a fun and actually quite simple project. In the future I am going to add a raspberry Pi board and potentially a homemade 3D lidar sensor to really give it some robotic "muscle"
My plans are for this to be fully autonomous and capable of quite a bit more than it is right now.
Maybe go on the cheap by using the Xbox 360 kinect sensor.
If you enjoyed this or have any suggestions for the above mentioned please, feel free to leave a comment and thanks for looking!
Participated in the
Remote Control Contest 2017