Phone controlled solar charged tank

This looks like a fun little project. [Chris] has built a tank that he is controlling using his iPhone.  Constructed mainly of off the shelf parts, like an Arduino and an Xbee wireless unit, the tank is controlled via processing. You can see that it is fairly responsive as he changes the speed of the motors. You don’t need an iPhone for this, really to do exactly what he’s doing any multi-touch input would work. You can download the code for it from his site.

We’re a bit curious about the solar charging. How much power does this use? Doesn’t that panel look a bit small? How long does it take to charge?

[via HacknMod]


  1. martinmunk says:

    Why oh why did he swap the motors?

  2. andrew says:

    Nice user interface.

  3. Anarril says:

    We’re a bit curious about the solar charging. How much power does this use? Doesn’t that panel look a bit small? How long does it take to charge?
    What’s more: why is it mounted on the underside of the vehicle? It does not look like the tank can flip upside down to catch some rays ’cause the Zigbee module would snap off.
    Aside from that mystery: nicely done!

  4. RoHS says:

    I just leave the tank sitting upright near a window when it’s not in use. See the photo on my site. I’m not sure how long it takes to charge, but it sits all day in the sun while I’m at work and is charged when I get home.

  5. CalcProgrammer1 says:

    I just built something similar as a beginning Arduino project. I used a Vex robotics base (wheels, not tracks) with PWM controlled continuous motors, an Arduino, and a netbook running Ubuntu. I coded a client/server set of apps to send a joystick’s data to the netbook which uses that to drive the motors. As a bonus VLC Media Player can stream the netbook’s webcam back. It would be cool if you could somehow use the iPhone actually on the tank, then you could drive it anywhere using the iPhone’s Internet and get a video feed from the camera.

  6. james says:

    I might be missing something, but why do you always put people’s names in square brackets in your posts?

    Newspapers sometimes use square brackets to clarify quotations. For example, they might replace “He is the greatest player in the history of the game, but needs to keep his clubs to himself” with “[Tiger]is the greatest player.”

    But when the person’s name is Chris and you’re not quoting an ambiguous statment, it’s quite acceptable to just call him Chris. :)

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      often the names people use on the internet are not as obvious as “chris”. This can be especially confusing when dealing with technical jargon and abbreviations. Phillip, or Maybe Eliot started using the brackets and it stuck.

  7. james says:

    @Caleb Ahh. That makes sense. Carry on.

  8. barry99705 says:


    How much does on weigh? Will I need a hand truck? How far do I need to carry it? :)

  9. M4CGYV3R says:

    Tank control failure. Right forward + Left Back = Left Turn, and vice versa.

  10. Thx for the information..

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