Building a rather rudimentary Arduino tank bot


The tank robot builds that we see are often quite complex. This lets them do great things, but makes the platform scary for beginners. Here’s a tank build that would be a great first project, especially if you’re more interested in the programming side of robotics than you are in the hardware itself. [Paul Bleisch] combined several different commercially available products to fabricate this Arduino-powered tank robot base.

Locomotion is provided by a double geared-motor module. This unit, the plastic wheels and treads, as well as the wooden mounting platform are all made by Tamiya. They cost very little and are already designed to work with one another. To this base he adds the Arduino and a motor shield which makes the connections dead simple. The black case on one end of the chassis holds four AA batteries which provide power for everything.

These components are all that’s really needed to start, but they provide no interactivity. So [Paul] picked up a used wireless PlayStation 2 controller. There’s a library (written by regular reader [Bill Porter]) that allows him to connect the receiver to the Arduino in order to pick up commands from the controller. He also plans to add an ultrasonic range finder to the build sometime in the future.

If you’re don’t need to do things the easy way you should consider fabricating your own tank treads.


  1. Tyler says:

    Wow this is just what i wanted to make

  2. Joejoedancer says:

    Man, should have went with the Elenco OWI ATR – All Terrain Robot kit that you were looking at and added an arduino to that…

  3. Bit Mage says:

    “If you’re don’t need to do things the easy way…”
    Is it so hard to reread your post after you’ve written it?

  4. kdkiser says:

    If you’re looking to build something similiar, the Tamiya includes all the above hardware, plus a controller and some extra framing.

  5. Glenn says:

    I have that same tracked chassis… It likes to throw its treads if it is turning on anything but a smooth surface.

    • Dave says:

      Had the same problem especially when turning. Try implementing a decceleration (sp?) algorithm to slow the treads down a little bit instead of snapping the drive train into the opposite direction.

  6. adam402 says:

    awesome tank. it’s really nice to see this. i am also looking for a radiostyrd stridsvagn like this.. .

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