Control RC car control using computer

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by b2s, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. b2s

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    5
    0
    Hello AAC forum!
    This is my first post.
    I have bought a cheap RC car.This is what I intend to do.
    1.Control the car by computer(say the arrow keys of keyboard).I'll be using the existing remote circuit.I need help with the intermediate circuit.
    2.Add a wireless camera(limited range and low resolution,i'll buy one) on to the car and watch the broadcast through my computer.
    3.Control that camera by mouse on my computer.
    4.Add a small radar system(note not the normal sensors) and transmit that through radio to my computer.
    5.To boost the signals of all the above functions for a better range.
    I intend to do this stepwise.
    I have some knowledge on these subjects.-Digital logic,dc circuits,8051,MSP 430,ARM 9,C,C++ and I am familiar with using Multisim,IAR,keil uVision.
    I need a basic idea whether its possible or not?and hardware to be bought.
    I'll do coding myself but the area where i'm struck is giving real time inputs,ie,, from keyboard.Once i burn the code onto the controller i need to send inputs through the computer keyboard..
    Hoping somebody can help me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  2. jrd210

    New Member

    Feb 12, 2011
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    HI there are quite a few available projects for an arduino based RC controlled car and using Xbee it can be computer controlled. Of course there is the Ardone Parrot quadricopter, which I have, which is IPOD or IPHONE flown with FPV (First Person viewing). FOr good priced FPV stuff check out Hobbycity.com they have amazing stuff.
     
  3. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
    35
    There have been projects using a WiFi router (needs USB port) running OpenWRT. Finding the right hardware, form factor, distribution, video drivers, webcam etc. should be the fun part. A router having an internal serial port connection gives you the choice of micro used to control the steering, and motor esc.
     
  4. b2s

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    5
    0
    Thanks for all your help.As i said I'd like to do stepwise.
    First priority now is to control the car.As I said I need a circuit which I can add to the remote circuit.I have removed the PCB out and the switches used to control right,left,front,back are also removed.So I need to design a simple circuit that can be controlled by a microcontroller which is interfaced to computer through ports say serial RS232.Once I do this, i burn the code on to the uC and wait for inputs frm keyboard of my computer.Which software to use?
     
  5. jj_alukkas

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    751
    5
    You can use RS232 ports along with a couple of transistors and some vb scripts to control it.. no need for microcontrollers, but by adding that you can add more features and switches..
     
  6. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
    35
    Not getting off to a promising start it seems. You want to drop several hundreds of dollars of electronics (eventually) on a toy grade $20 Radio Shack RC car? It doen't sound like the car has servo steering, nor a proper electronic speed control (ESC) for the motor that is commonly seen in hobby grade cars. What is the budget going to be?

    Download some close up pics of the chassis and scrapped electronics if you can. What is the make and model number of the car? Suggestions can then be made accordingly.

    Here is site that has lots of robotics stuff http://www.pololu.com/ including serial motor speed controls.

    Two very different wireless projects.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Introducing-the-Wixel-USB-Wireless-Module/
    http://www.pololu.com/docs/pdf/0J46/wixel.pdf

    And,
    Net access for picaxe with openWrt router
    http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/webcam

    If a webcam is going to involved, then only an ARM/MIPS type processor will have the speed and bandwidth required.
     
  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,090
    3,027
    This probably won't help you much, but I have a LabJack data acquisition device which provides a number of outputs. It is connected to the computer via USB and can be programmed with just about any language. So it would be easy to convert a keystroke to any external signal you want. But the device costs a bit over $100. It's very versatile and useful for lots of other things, but it would be an expensive way to accomplish just your one task. The point is that it's a great way to interface a computer to "real world" devices.
     
  8. b2s

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    5
    0
    Thanks again for your replies.
    I'm posting the transmitter circuit,(its drawn very badly sorry,if u guys cant understand i'll draw a clean one)
    Anyway i dont want to be expensive.From the ckt shown to go right,it need to connect it to ground(active low) to turn any way that pin needs to be grounded,and these combinations aren't possible(i.e,, pressing at same time) FB,LR.All others should be possible.
    @nickefilipper
    yes I know the bandwidth required for video transmission is high.Yes I need a ARM processor,and I'm familiar with ARM 7/9.I can get a basic USB powered ARM development board once I get the confidence that this is possible and achieve the control at least through a 8051 or MSP430.
     
  9. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
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    Here is the data sheet for the transmitter/receiver pair. Is the idea to use the existing receiver circuit on the car? That would make it easy to just hack the transmitter with some npn transistors in lieu of the buttons, which in turn are controlled by the msp430. This is assuming the TX-2B circuit has the 3V zener diode for its supply power. Hook up a usb to serial cable (ttl level) to the msp430 for the PC commands.

    Wouldn't doubt that the $5 msp430 launchpad could handle everything.
     
  10. b2s

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    5
    0
    Yup!As i told before,i'll be using the existing transmitter circuit.I didnt understand why I need to hack the transmitter.The inputs for the direction signals is ground(ie,, active low to left,or right or so on).The only problem now I think I have is giving real time inputs.ie,, from computer keyboard.Say once i burn the code onto MSP430 or even 8051,how to make it accept inputs from keyboard(computer)?which software to use?I need to write an interactive program in pc which accepts keyboard commands and should transfer this output to MSP 430's(or 8051)input ports through RS232(8051 or USB which I use it for launchpad.
     
  11. windoze killa

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 23, 2006
    605
    24
    Hi. First question. Does your computer have a parallel port?

    If so, Use it. Connect five of the O/P lines to your five control lines of your transmitter.

    Some very simple programming will have the car doing what you want.
     
  12. b2s

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    5
    0
    No parallel port!:(,Its a new system
     
  13. windoze killa

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 23, 2006
    605
    24
    PCI parallel card. Problem solved. :D

    But seriously, it would be a simple option. Sooooooo easy to program.

    It is a pretty simple car you wish to control. BUT later down the track you could put sensors on the car and have collision avoidance as well fed back to the computer.

    Maybe even automate it so it will run a set course................ oopppssss getting out of hand here.

    PS. The above is part of what I do for a living.
     
  14. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
    35
    By hacking, i just meant to solder some wires to the TX-2B side of the button inputs, and connect a common ground, and 3v? supply. We are on the same page here.

    As far as PC software VB or Python or ?? Doing some browsing around with VB, and using the GetAsyncKeyState function would handle multiple key presses (e.g. like "f" and "left arrow" or "b" and "right arrow") like in this thread http://www.bigresource.com/Tracker/Track-vb-oaYt3XzThj/.

    Of course the other part is checking up on the serial port http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.io.ports.serialport.aspx
    There is plenty of code out there on interfacing a micro with VB through the PC serial port.
     
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