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Universal 20 channel project controller from a Ps2 controller

So you’ve got a really cool project that requires a wireless controller and a ton of different channels. What are you going to do? Are you going to go pick up an expensive RC controller? Nah, you’re going to build your own. This project makes a generic 20 channel controller for your projects by stuffing an SMDuino and an XBee module inside a ps2 controller.  Unfortunately you lose the force feedback since you have to remove the motors to make space for the extra components and batteries. You do end up with a decently ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing controller though.

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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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7 foot long flying dragon breathes fire

What do you have to do to win best of show at an R/C event in Toledo? Build a 7 foot long fire breathing radio controlled dragon of course! [Rick Hamel] stuffed his electronics, a turbine engine, a kerosene tank, and a stun gun into a home built body shaped like a dragon. You can see a few construction pics that show how he is able to steer. It looks like it flies just like any r/c airplane. This one, however could burn down a village and keep going. Check out the videos after the break to see it flying and testing out its fire breathing mechanism.

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Land ROV is Internet connected and packed full of stuff

[Blair Kelly] has always been interesting in the concept of Remote Operated Vehicles. As soon as he got his hands on an Arduino he began his endeavor to turn an RC vehicle into a land-based ROV. What he’s done so far is incredible.

Here he’s showing off features of the build using a PS3 controller. But it can also take commands from an Xbox 360 controller or an arcade-style steering wheel. We like the latter the best, which is shown off at about six and a half minutes into the video (embedded after the break). Since there’s a webcam on board, this ends up being a virtual cockpit for the pint-sized car. But it gets better. That webcam is mounted on a servo motor, and [Blair] included controls that pan the camera. This lets the driver ‘look’ left and right. On the front of the vehicle there’s an accelerometer. Data is collected by the Arduino and sent via the WiFly module. This adds rumble to the controller if you’re using one that has that ability.

It’s a big project already, but it sounds like [Blair] has not end of ideas for future versions. Right now he’s planning to increase the overall size which will let him explore places that aren’t as flat as his livingroom.

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Cardboard hexapod gets around with three motors

Here’s a lesson in doing a lot with very little. [Oldrobot] built this hexapod using cardboard for most of the pieces. He still had the box from his vacuum clear and it just happened to have a large black area the makes the top of the beetle look like it’s been painted.

The control board is from an old radio controlled airplane. Since RC airplanes used servos for flight control, it was a snap to hook up the three that make the bug go. One controls the set of middle legs which lift the body and change which of the propulsion legs are in contact with the ground. The other two servers move pairs of the front or back legs. It uses the same concept as this other RC controller hexapod, but much less time went into crafting the chassis and legs.

As you can see in the video after the break, the control scheme isn’t the most intuitive. But once you get a hang of which stick orientation affects each leg movement the bot ends up having fairly precise steering.

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Reverse engineering a Futaba SBUS remote control

In the world of model aircraft, Futaba’s SBUS system is a big deal. Instead of having one servo per channel, the SBUS system allows for 16 proportional controls and two digital channels for each receiver. Basically, if you’re building an awesome plane with retracts on the landing gear and bomb bay doors, this is what you want to use. [Michael] wanted to use a few SBUS servos for a project he’s working on, so of course he had to reverse engineer this proprietary protocol.

Each SBUS servo operates over a single 100kbps serial connection with a few interesting twists: the signal is transmitted as big endian, but the individual bytes are little endian, something [Michael] figured out after stumbling across this month old mbed post. [Michael] used a serial library written by [fat16lib] and was able to change the parity and stop bits along with a simple hex inverter. Everything worked perfectly when the servo was connected to a an Arduino Mini.

Even though the SBUS system requires special Futaba servos, we can easily see how useful [Michael]‘s work would be to outrageously complex robots or cnc machines. Check out the video after the break for a quick demo of [Michael]‘s breadboard controlling one of these SBUS servos.

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