Electric vehicle peripheral controller for the masses

This juicy hunk of printed circuits is an open source controller for the peripherals of an electric car. It’s the product of a capstone project working on a vehicle aimed at urban commuting. There wasn’t a suitable non-proprietary module for controlling a car’s peripherals so the team built their own.

As far as we can tell this is not responsible for driving the vehicle itself. We assume there’s another piece of hardware which reads from the accelerator pedal, drives the motors accordingly, and handles things like regenerative braking. But there’s a lot of other things in a modern vehicle that need to be taken care of as well. Head, tail, and turn indicator lights must be switched. All of the dashboard controls (like the turn signal lever and the wiper blade speed settings) need to be monitored. Something needs to drive the door locks, and a system that reads the door ajar sensors and switches the dome light on and off must be handled. This is where the controller pictured above really shines.

The team has released all of the hardware information. The code is not yet available, but will be as soon as they’ve cleaned it up enough to package the first release candidate.

Teens pulled over while driving their wooden roadster

From this view we would think the handmade wooden roadster (translated) was street legal. But it’s missing a few items that are required to take it out on the highway. The teenagers that built it were pulled over the other night (translated) and cited for driving without a speedometer or side indicator lights.

The image above shows the mark II of their design. Sadly they crashed the first version, which gave them a chance to overhaul the entire design. Now they have a proper frame which was welded from steel square tube. It’s got an impressive rack and pinion steering system and shock absorbing suspension in the front and rear. A dirt bike engine mounted behind the seats drives the rear wheels via a chain. They’ve used an Arduino to add turn signals, and have headlights for night driving.

[Gerrit] sent in the tip on this one and he figures that with an Arduino already being used in the vehicle it should be a quick fix to add a speedometer and get back on the road.

Turn your old Bluetooth headphones into a DIY car audio receiver

wireless-car-audio

[Tim] drives a 1995 Mitsubishi TS Magna, which is equipped with a less than stellar accessory package he lovingly calls a “poverty pack”. He outfitted his ride with an aftermarket head unit that can support the Bluetooth A2DP profile, provided he buys the ridiculously overpriced kit sold by Pioneer. Reluctant to shell out more money on an audio kit than his car is worth, he whipped up his own Bluetooth kit for far less than Pioneer’s asking price.

He had a set of Nokia Bluetooth headphones that he was willing to part with, so he disassembled them to see how he might interface with his car stereo. Connecting the headset to his head unit was a relatively easy task, but he had to work a bit harder to get his Bluetooth receiver powered properly.

After both undervolting and then nearly cooking his wireless audio rig, [Tim] managed to get things operating to his liking. He says that the audio is a touch quieter than he would like at the moment, so he will likely be revising his design in the near future. For now however, he can stream tunes from his phone while he cruises around town.

Gyroscopically stabilized car/motorcycle thing

So yeah, this thing exists. Well, at least some pretty interesting looking prototypes of it do. It’s the C-1 from Lit Motors (anyone else think that’s a reference which belongs in /r/trees?). The idea here is that the small form-factor of a motorcycle is very efficient and easily maneuverable. But the cage protecting the passenger from harm, and the canopy keeping the elements out give it some of the desirable traits of a car.

Design aside, check out the video after the break. The prototype uses two horizontally positioned gyroscopes placed beneath the passenger seat, just in front of the rear wheel. The builders take it out on a hockey rink and give it a few kicks and slide a few tires into it. Sure, it reacts to the impact but it doesn’t fall over.

Want to see some fast-motion welding of the C-1? Right now there’s a one-minute clip up on the company’s main page.

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There’s more than meets the eye to this robot car

This is a robot that any Transformers enthusiast will love. Sure, the car looks just a bit boxy, but you’ll forget all about that when you see it unfold into a bipedal robot (translated). [Zak Sawa] is responsible for the creation. He pull off the build using 22 servo motors which let the car transform, and provide the somewhat awkward ability to walk. Fold it back up again and the car can drive away. In other words, here’s the Transformers toy that you always wanted; radio controled and it actually works!

This is the result of about four years of work. Apparently it’s the eighth iteration, and a note on the video after the break teases a ninth version on the way. It’s not just the robot that looks great, check out the carrying case that houses it for storage.

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RC car controller and receiver replacement

This radio controlled car controller replacement is a great project to try some new things with that fancy hardware you’ve got sitting around. The hack comes in two parts, the receiver and the transmitter. They’re communicating via Bluetooth so if you only want to build one side of the hardware you should be able to make most Bluetooth devices work as the other. For instance, build the receiver for the car and control it with a Wii remote. Or use the controller to play emulator games on an Android phone.

Both pieces are Arduino based. The controller makes use of a Freeduino with a Bluetooth shield as well as a pair of analog stick breakout boards. The car side of things uses a Bluetooth Bee (a Bluetooth module that is pin compatible with an Xbee socket) and an Arduino pro. Once the hardware bits are assembled, it takes very little code to get the system up and running. Join us after the break for a quick clip of the car in action.

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Racing with Dyson’s spare parts

When it comes time to unwind at the Dyson design facility these engineers know how to do it right. Recently, the company challenged their engineers to a grown-up version of the Pinewood Derby in which they raced their own cars powered by a Dyson motor.

The video after the breaks shows a large collection of these time trials on a track made from upturned wooden pallets. Most of the vehicles are made from parts which we don’t recognize. But some of them are very familiar like our favorite hand dryer ever (seen above) and the iconic goldenrod manifold from the Dyson ball vacuum cleaner.

The course ends abruptly, as you can see in the last run of the video. There is one entry that included a human rider and he seems to be going nearly as fast as the riderless carriages are. The video cuts away before he hits the wall, but we can’t image he had the time to include brakes in that design.

[Read more...]

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