New addition to the fleet

Might go down a different route to the original idea of racing and just have a selection of cars for bashing. Can have a much wider range of cars running that way and probably more fun for the kids when you’re not concerned with lap times, etc. easier for me as well as I won’t have to worry about lap timing, track layout, etc.

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Running video using Wii nunchuck

Managed to get a short video showing a car being controlled by the Wii nunchuck controller. The car is too fast for the small space it’s being tested in so please excuse the poor driving.

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Further testing and more progress

I put the receiver in the Lunchbox (the yellow car at the top of the page) for first test run controlling a car with the Wii nunchuck. I’m glad to say it went really well. I was having a few issues with setting up the throttle limits on some escs but the cheap esc in the Lunchbox worked perfectly. Controlling the car was easier than I was expecting as well. Only problem I did have was all the transmitter bits were loose and some wires started coming out. I need to get the bits in a box.

I found a suitable box in Morrisons. Cost all of 75p. A bit work with a stanley knife and some drill bits and this is what I’ve got:

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It doesn’t need to be pretty and it isn’t. However it is cheap and functional. There’s an RJ45 port in the end next to the aerial to connect the controller.

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And I can still open it up easily to change the batteries. I need to be careful when opening it as the wires are pretty tight in there so I might just put some tape around it to make sure it doesn’t open unless I want it to. Other than that, job’s a good un.

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First test

Been a long time since this I have had time to work on this but I’ve finally started making some real progress.

I’ve managed to strip out a Wii nunchuck and solder in a new cable and I have stripped the electronics out of a controller and add a RJ45 port for the Wii nunchuck to connect to.

On the left of this picture is the controller bits, on the right is a motor and servo connected to a speed controller, battery and receiver.

First test

It’s all connected up, ready to test:

The only problem I had was I’d got the channels mixed up. That was easily fixed though. Next step will be to get a box to house all the controller bits so that I’ve just a got a little box with a few controls and RJ45 port.

Then it’s time for more controllers. I’m already getting ideas about using one of them steering wheels you get for driving games and normal sized joysticks. Oh and FPV as some people may not be able to move their head watch the car they’re using.

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Gubbins

Been a while since my last update but things have been happening.

I’ve been looking at the electronics a bit more. As far as I can tell I should be able to get away with just wiring the new controllers directly to the existing transmitters. Now, I want to be able to use the controller without any adaptions and be able to plug in and swap round the external, adapted controllers. My plan, which I think I discussed in a previous post, was to put a RJ45 port on the controllers and use network leads. For this to work I will need to be able to switch between using the internal controls and the external controller so I need to connect a switch to a couple of wires on the pots before they go out to the external pots. I think this will work switching just one of the wires. So getting to the point of this post. I now have a few switches and the important (and unnecessarily expensive) network point. The reason the network point is expensive is because I’ve chosen to use an RJ45 to screw terminal point. One of these:

RJ45 to screw terminals

Damn things are about £15 each! The reasons I have chosen to use these is that my soldering isn’t great but mainly because it’s all built, ready to mount and screwing the wires into the back means I can change them round until I get it right. Allows for more trial and error, whereas soldered wire can be swapped round , it’ll  be a lot easier with this.

I’ve already got one handset waiting for this to be installed so hopefully over the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to get this adapted and start testing it. Like I said previously I’m going to use the Wii nun chuck first as it’s already built (I just need to swap wires round).

So hopefully my next update with be reporting that I am running a car using a Wii nun chuck!

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Bodyshells

I bought a body for my lunchbox and since completing it I have noticed that it fits the M03 chassis quite well.

M03 Escort Van

M03 Escort Van

The wheel arches have been trimmed to accommodate the big tyres on the Lunchbox so they’re a bit big for the M03 but seeing as this body cost £6 and the tamiya mini bodies are about £25-£30 I think I might be getting some more of these. The beauty of these is that they come in quite a few different styles as well. I’m planning to get a Dodge Charger and paint it up like General Lee, they have a NASCAR style body that could look pretty good as Lightning McQueen and some classic hatchbacks like the Nova, Mk1 Golf, etc, etc.

Just for reference here is the same body on the Lunchbox chassis:

Monster Van

Monster Van

It’s a bit sad but I’m quite excited about this new find. I’m thinking I should get four bodies cut out ready for painting, then after the first race the winner get first choice of bodies and each team can take their body and paint it up in art ready for racing. That way the kids get to have their own custom body and they’re cheap enough for them to keep.

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Switch adaption

We bought our son a Thomas the Tank remote controlled train for Christmas. You can also buy these already adapted for switches but they cost about four times more than the retail version. The controller has two decent sized buttons, one for forward and one for a turning reverse.

Thomas the Tank RC Train

Thomas the Tank RC Train

When we bought this I thought it would be pretty simple to adapt so something nice and easy for get some practice on before going to work on the RC transmitters.

I bought a couple of mono jacks off eBay hoping they’d be small enough to fit the transmitter. After ordering I had another look at the one on Inclusive Technology and noticed they had the jacks hanging out of the controller:

Switch adapted train from Inclusive Technology

This got me a little concerned thinking they’ve done it this way as the jacks don’t fit. Well they do fit:

Back of controller showing jacks for switches

Back of controller showing jacks for switches

Personally I think it’s better this way as well, if you want to use the controller without switches then you don’t have any wires hanging out of it either.

Ready for play

Ready for play

It’s so long since I have done anything with electronics so I had to get some help with this. A friend at work is pretty good with these things so he done most of the work. Really all I done was drill the holes in the case to fit the jacks. However I did watch and learn.

Here’s how it looks on the inside:

Under the hood

Under the hood

The two boards at the top and bottom hod the existing buttons. The bottom board was easy as this already has wires leading off to the other board that has the rest of the gubbins to make it work. This means identifying where to attach wires was easy. The top board was more difficult and we used a multi meter to identify where the wires could be attached.

All together this cost about £15, I think the train was £12 from Smyths, plus £2.95 for the phono jacks. Worked out a lot cheaper than buying the adapted version for £42.

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