About the controller, I want it to have something we see in the drone industry, a controller with the screen, all-in-one. There is always the option to connect the receiver to the TV, but I really want it to be standalone, independent of power wallets, just something that I can carry anywhere I go.
First step was to find a way to hold the screen to the remote, so I added zip ties to the back of the screen.
I also added a compartment to hold the receiver, battery and wires (collecting acrylic stuff is a good habit I guess)
The back side is still messy, but I will live with it for now.
I felt with courage to start the modifications to the bot, first I moved the battery to the lowest possible place, this makes the center of gravity lower.
With the electronics board all looks good..
I added a power switch and a Sharp Infra Red sensor, this sensor will act as a fail safe to avoid collisions.
I also wanted to create some kind of a shell, so went to 3D to design the plates and this is the result.
The plates will be cutted in laser or CNC, but meanwhile I will just print them and manually cut PVC sheets.
using graphite pencil to transfer the plate drawings to the PVC sheets.
All the plates are transfered and ready to be cutted.
The plates are cutted, now I will just sand a bit to give a final touch
All plates are looking good for now
Time to start with the supports for the plates, I will go to these small L shape things
All the supports are fitted, when we have loads of screws an electric screwdriver is handy, this one is the cheapest I could find
Now to fit the plates I will use this selftap screws, they come together with the servos motors, and I always harvest them because they are hard to find in hardware stores.
You can also see a hinge, this will actually make a door to swap batteries.
And this is how the plates are securelly fitted.
A look on the inside
This is how I managed to hold the power button in place, it is just PVC pieces fitted to the chassis, and then hold the power button with selftap screws.
There’s the hinge.
Testing everything, all look good.
I was doing another quick test when suddently smoke started to come out, it was the L293D that got smoked.. well, I couldn’t expect worse since I was pushing 12V to 4 motors and the L293D only handles 600 mAh per channel.
I will swap the board to the new Motoruino2 from Artica, wich is still a prototype but nothing better that this bot to test it.
Codebits as you might know is the most geekest event in Portugal and surroundings!
Its audience range goes from programmers and entrepeneurs to hackers and designers! This year 800 people came to participate in 3 days full of talks, challenges, games, demos and junk food!!
About our participation @ Codebits VI, at Artica we are extremely addicted to race games, Trackmania is only one of our favourites!! We still are addicted to race games but we usually don’t play them, instead, we prefer to create our own games.. :D we thought it would be way cool to drive a remote control car using a steering wheel and pedals, and if the car had a wireless cam, the gamer could look at the screen and really see what the car was seeing in real time, just like an arcade game!
This was our proposal to Codebits! To have an arcade game where it would be possible to drive two cars and participate in a real race, without any simulations or complex algorythms, neither 3D graphics.. we want something real! Celso Martinho was very excited with our idea, and by coincidence (or not) they were planning to have a retro gaming area at codebits!! Luis Sobral also known as TheArcadeMan, was the one behind the retro gaming area, Luis refurbishes old arcade machines and transforms them into brand new machines just like magic!
Besides having his own Arcades there, he was working on 10 old arcade machines, making them work with the so acclaimed Raspberry PI!!
Luis had just bought two old SegaRally Consoles, and there was the possibility to transform them to be the control station for our RC cars! On a first (of many) tours to Luis’s “mancave” we start disassembling the old consoles, removing the old electronics boards, wondering the best way to connect all the gear!
apologize for the crappy quality photo :p
There is a strange beauty in this sturdy mechanical systems, they are so well engineered and one can feel they were pushed into the limits through the years, and are still able to be pushed a lot more!
This was the throttle pedal gear, on the right you can see a hand-made replacement, it was a cool hack to do.. and a miracle that it worked flawlessly all the event!
At this stage we couldn’t imagine that one of the biggest challenges was about to come!! Yes, the CRT’s… to send Video signal to this old CRT is not impossible by any means.. but it prooved to be way to much complicated for us..
after many attempts and despair.. we finally decided to “kill the rabbit”!! We found two Mitsai CRT’s willing to have a new glorious life!!! :D
And they fitted perfectly in the old frame!
The steering, pedals, gears and buttons were connected to an Arduino, and data was sent via xbee to the car.
The car had a receiver Arduino mapping the data to the wheels, throttle and to the video switch! The gamer could choose wich camera to use, the front camera proved to be extremely difficult to use and only hardcore drivers used it!! The upper camera needed a support, and it had its iterations due to be easily broken when the car crashes or capsize! The final iteration was a one PVC piece bended with heat, it proved to be sturdy and survived to the hole event!
Finally at Codebits VI !! :D Artica had the honor to be at the Hardware Den with TheArcadeMen, Altlab, Ultimaker, InMotion, Mitch Altman and RaspberryPI Foundation.
The Sega Rally Championship Arcade was fully working all the time, we only need to stop a couple of times for final tweaks..
..and to recharge batteries!
To drive this things was extremely cool!! We are looking forward to repeat the experience!!
As a final note, we want to give a big thanks to all SAPO and PT Team for making this event a reality, Mauricio Martins and Adriano Couto from AltLab for helping us with the CRT’s, Francisco Dias gave a major help with his hacking skills, João Ribeiro for being a true Artica member, Filipe Valpereiro for all the hardcore geeky support, he was the guy who told us how to remove the steering wheel lag caused by the xbee buffer.. and finally thank you Celso for believing in us!!!