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Thread: Laptop Powered RC car

  1. #1
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    Laptop Powered RC car

    Obviously, we can't enter projects in our own contest! But we are going to post some old ones we did ourselves in here so people can check them out.

    The laptop controlled RC car was something we built a few years ago. It was part of the evolution to a full blown RC car robot with a mini-PC on it.

    As we worked out the software for the robot we first wanted to get used to controlling it. The easiest way to do that is to use good ole human input for testing your output. So we built the base of the robot and tethered it to a laptop which took input from manual control via some mini-joysticks. (You will notice in more recent projects that we never use this archaic method anymore, opting instead to use normal joysticks and DirectX to read form them.)

    Parts Used:
    (2) Phidget Mini-Joysticks
    (1) 8/8/8 Phidget Interface Kit
    (1) laptop
    (1) USB to Ethernet Extender (+ long ethernet cable)
    (1) 4 servo Phidget Controller
    (1) Hacked up RC car

    Here's the video, and yes, I was being sarcastic in the beginning. Microsoft and Google would NEVER fund the same project!


  2. #2
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    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    We looked under Dave's desk and actually found the little RC car curled up under there. Here are some pics of him in his latest state.

    (PS: a tip for people thinking about making RC car robots. If you plan to load some weight on the bot then you should stuff the tires with something like foam. You can buy a can of Great Stuff (it's a hardening foam insulate) and squirt that into the tires.)

  3. Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Could you comment on the power supply and the power requirements for this type of project. I understand the control side but not the power for the servo's & the overall drive unit, thanks ...

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    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Sure thing, the car itself still drove off the rechargeable battery that came with it. We did run a power line down the tethered cable to power the Phidget 4-servo controller. We just took a 6V power supply and spliced in a long run of speaker cable to do that and taped it to the RJ45 Cable.

    Recently Dave has told me that there are ways to get around powering the Phidget controller. I'll ask him to post on that next.

    Matt

  5. Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Regarding powering the servo controller:

    The circuitry is all powered by the USB 5V line. This 5V line also powers servo channel 0. If you want to use the additional 3 servo channels, power must be supplied either to the DC input jack on the controller board, or directly to the servos. I prefer powering the servos diretly, because this bypasses the servo controller's current limitations.

    I described my technique for powering servos in this thread:
    http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/sh...11&postcount=7

  6. #6
    jumbika Guest

    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Okay people, I am very much interested in getting a laptop. I am planning for buying this within a month or so. I prefer HP laptop but I don't know alot about buying laptops. I would like one that has a big memory,built in wireless internet connection thing, built in webcam, and one that's fit for a girl. I really need your advice. What is the best Hp laptop for me to buy and why? Thanking you,

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    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VGM_jAzPj8"]I love lamp.[/ame]
    Last edited by DresnerRobotics; 10-21-2008 at 07:08 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Why was this car never USB powered?!
    Dell Studio XPS Desktop, Windows Vista, 12 GB RAM, 2x 500 GB SATA RAID0 HDD, Intel i7 2.66Ghz Quad Core (4 cores, 8 virtual cores). The power that's needed... plus some!

    RIBO Labs, Springing Robotic Development to a New Level

  9. #9
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    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Because USB power can't power motors like that, not enough current? More than a hundred milliamp or so and you're done.
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

  10. #10
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    Re: Laptop Powered RC car

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    Because USB power can't power motors like that, not enough current? More than a hundred milliamp or so and you're done.
    Seeing that Microsoft sponsored it....?
    Dell Studio XPS Desktop, Windows Vista, 12 GB RAM, 2x 500 GB SATA RAID0 HDD, Intel i7 2.66Ghz Quad Core (4 cores, 8 virtual cores). The power that's needed... plus some!

    RIBO Labs, Springing Robotic Development to a New Level

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