Sunday, February 13, 2011

Arduino RC Car Hack

Here's how I modified a cheap RC car so that it can be controlled from anywhere in the world.  The whole project took about 4 weekends to implement, working around 6 hours per weekend.   The whole idea was to build an RC car that could really be *remotely* controlled, I'm talking thousands of kilometers of range...  As a bonus, this device acts as a tele-presence bot since it uses a netbook with skype to provide video feed to the person who is controlling it.  Let's have a look at how it was built.

I went to Toys'r'Us, and found this little baby:

I stripped it of the unnecessary bling.  I then had to wait for my Arduino to arrive...  It finally came.

I started working on what was my first Arduino project.

I got my computer to talk to the Arduino.  I then built the little circuit of switches using opto-isolators, and connected it to the remote control of the RC car.

I used a bunch of self adhesive tie mounts, and many tie-wraps to firmly hold the PCBs in place.

Here's the final assembly:

A couple more tie-wraps, some hockey tape, and voilĂ !  Here's the final result:

Source Code

You can find the source code of the project at:

I might explain the circuit in more details in the coming days...

Thanks for passing by,


Pierric Gimmig

P.S.  To Johnny Chung Lee

I saw your video showcased on Engadget last Friday.  Cool stuff!  Very similar to what I've been working on for the past few weeks.  My implementation costs half the price though ;-)  We should race them some day :-)

Here's a link to the Engadget story: