Revolt Lab is making a mini mobile (hobby) rocket platform! In this first update we will show you how to convert your power wheels vehicle into a remote controlled platform.
First things first.
Find a Power Wheels. If you don’t already have one laying around, craigslist and freecycle are great ways to find Power Wheels on the cheap. We got our Cruisin’ Tunes Barbie Jeep for $35!
You will also need a hobby radio unit. I got mine at the local hobby shop for 50 bucks. It has great responsiveness, comes with a servo, and even has a third channel. The best part about these packages is that you can just unplug your receiver from your project and start a whole new project without buying a whole new set!
Lastly you will need two servos. One regular servo for the gas pedal and a rather larger one for steering. The regular servo should come with your radio kit. The larger one is a little pricey, but our second place finish in the instructables microcontroller contest granted us the gift certificate funds to purchase one.
Take apart your car or jeep. Don’t touch any wires yet, but remove seats, steering wheel, battery and anything else you don’t like.
Making it Go
To activate the gas pedal, attach a servo as shown below. Connect the servo to the pedal via a wire threaded though an eye screw. The eye screw will redirect the force of the servo pushing the pedal to the floor. Wood screws work great for securing servos anywhere on the plastic shell of the Power Wheels. Keep the wire in place by clamping it down to the pedal with a wood screw and a washer.
Making it Turn
Take your large servo and position it as shown below. You will need two arms to connect the servo to the steering bar. One will come from the servo extending the servo’s reach. The second will come sideways from the end of the first bar and fasten to the hole in the steering bar. Any piece of hard plastic or metal will do. I used an old silk screen squeegee for one of my arms. Put rubber washers between each bolt, nut, and arm to reduce direct stress on the plastic or metal.
The standard plastic wheels on these toys do not get very much traction. You can compensate by screwing some old bike tire strips around the circumference of the wheels. The back wheels are the most important because these are the ones connected to the motors.
I found that the original battery position at the front of my barbie jeep made the steering a little slow. To fix this I simply threaded the battery plug to the back of the jeep and placed the battery under where the seats would be. This gives the back tires more traction while allowing the front tires to turn freely.
Now it is time to plug the servos into the radio receiver. Be sure to plug the steering servo into the STR (steering) slot and the pedal servo into the THR (throtle) slot. Always turn on your remote controller before your receiver. With the remote control on, turn on your receiver. Test the pedal and steering servos for alignment. If your steering is always going to the left or right when you are not controlling it, you need to adjust the large gear with the first arm so that it is steering straight when idle. Adjust for pressure on the pedal servo by pulling on the wire and clamping the pedal screw over it.
You are all set to ride! Make any cosmetic modifcations you want and then go bask in the envy of all who cross your path!