Home » I Went Crazy During COVID Turning A Cheap R/C Car Into A Complex Solar-Powered Rover That Conquered The Australian Outback

I Went Crazy During COVID Turning A Cheap R/C Car Into A Complex Solar-Powered Rover That Conquered The Australian Outback

Aussie Explorer Robot Ts
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For much of my life, I’ve always held a strong interest in robots, particularly those that we send out to explore. The idea that these machines can give us a window into a wider world always captivated me. Eventually, as my engineering skills and bank balance grew, I decided to finally pursue a passion project I’d been dreaming of since childhood. I was going to build a solar rover to send into the Australian outback, controlling it from hundreds of miles away in the comfort of my home.  It ended up being the most challenging project I’d ever taken on.

The idea for the project started all the way back in the 1990s. I was small child already obsessed with cars and electronics. One day, a family member showed me their latest creation—an RC car that could be driven via keypresses on an Amiga 500 computer. There was just one problem, eight-year-old me identified. You couldn’t drive it out of the room, because you couldn’t see where it was going. I figured a camera mounted on the car that fed back to the computer would be the perfect solution. The only problem was that technology wasn’t really there yet.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Fast forward to 2016. I’d recently moved to Melbourne to pursue an engineering career at a major automaker, and that saw me sorting through boxes full of personal items from years ago. Inside one was my Radio Shack Dodge Raminator RC car, complete with working suspension and a four-wheel-drive drivetrain. Seeing it again sparked memories in my head, and suddenly I realised that the time was ripe to build something great.

Car
The base for this build was a Radio Shack RC car I received for Christmas in 1999. I should have really started with a more robust base, but hey.

By this time, cellular data networks had spread across Australia. You could get decent bandwidth across most populated areas of the country on your mobile phone or with a USB modem. Webcams were cheap, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation had just launched the Raspberry Pi Zero, a computer the size of a stick of gum that could run on a mere trickle of electricity. Combine all these, and I realized you could make a remote control car that you could drive remotely from anywhere with mobile phone coverage. Throw a solar panel on top, and you could explore indefinitely. It sounded so easy and so compelling, I just had to try it.

The first steps weren’t even that hard! I bought myself a Raspberry Pi, along with some new batteries for the Radio Shack RC car. Unfortunately, it wasn’t built like a proper hobbyist-grade RC car, so interfacing it with the Raspberry Pi proved a little difficult. With some probing and investigation, I set it up so the Pi could trigger the drive motor in forward and reverse using the original RC car’s electronics and some transistors. This came with the limitation that there was no fine throttle control; it was either full forward, or full reverse. Radio Shack had also used some weird geared motor for the steering, which I ripped out entirely. I mechanically bodged in a standard hobby servo to the car’s steering linkage instead, which could be easily controlled by the Raspberry Pi.

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Solarboi
Early tests on WiFi saw the car explore my kitchen.

On the recommendation of one of my best friends, an engineer named Alex, I chose to write the robot’s code in Python. Alex isn’t a software engineer or even particularly involved with computers, but he was right on the money. I was able to whip up code in a few days that let me drive the RC car over my home’s wireless network, giving me a glimmer of hope that this project could really work. Going by the name TK on YouTube, I nicknamed the little rover TKIRV—short for TK Internet Remote Vehicle.

The next step was getting this thing on the cellular network so I could drive it beyond the bounds of my home. I grabbed a cheap 3G USB dongle, and set up a VPN server at my house. This was necessary as the vast majority of consumer grade mobile data connections will not accept incoming connections. Thus, I couldn’t just look up the robot’s IP address and dial into it from my house. Instead, the robot would run a VPN client, and connect to the VPN server running on my home computer. This would then let me command the robot as if it was on a local network.

Getting a camera feed up proved more challenging. On my austere automaker salary, cash was tight, and I had to scrounge for parts. A local pawn shop had an old Microsoft webcam for $5 that ended up doing the trick. Hours of research and fussing around at the command line later, and I got video streaming up and running with an arcane tool called gstreamer.

Finally, all the pieces were in place. I had an RC car outfitted for remote control over a cellular data link and it had a camera on top. I dumped it in the driveway with Alex tailing along behind for safety, and sat myself down in my bedroom-cum-command center. Alas, our first attempts were to end in failure. The video feed kept dropping out, control was jerky and laggy, and we couldn’t go more than 30 feet without crashing. Several seconds would go by between me hitting the keys and the robot responding. It just wasn’t happening.Hoeper

Ggg

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Solarboi2
With a cheap webcam fitted, the first drives on 4G saw TKIRV drive up to about 400 meters from home, with Alex tagging along for safety. The GoPro was for capturing additional footage for YouTube.

After hours of trying and failing, all seemed bleak, until a brainwave occurred. What if we just needed more bandwidth? We ran to the shops just minutes before close, and handed over a wad of cash for a faster USB modem. Some tinkering later, and we had the robot lashed up with its new faster data connection. I logged in with baited breath. Alex stood ready on the other end of the walkie-talkie, guarding the robot by the footpath.

“Oh my god, it works!” I exclaimed over the walkie-talkie as TKIRV took its first staggery steps down the road. With a few hundred milliseconds of video delay, and on-off throttle control, it wasn’t easy to keep it on the footpath. Regardless, this early test convinced me that the concept could work.

The overwhelming grind of full-time employment robbed me of time and joy over the years, but slowly and surely, I chipped away at the build. By early 2020, I’d upgraded the robot with finer throttle control with a hobby-grade ESC so it could drive more slowly instead of always zooming off into the weeds. I’d added a better camera and IR LEDs to give it a rudimentary ability to see in the dark. Test missions around the local neighborhood revealed further flaws, like a limited range of vision and vibrations ruining the view through the camera. More tweaks to frame rates and the streaming  software helped iron these out, along with a gimbal-stabilized camera mount that let the robot look left and right as well as straight ahead. Throwing a GPS on the robot helped me keep track of where it was and where it was going; I was able to pinpoint its location on Google Maps from back at base. With all this done, I had to undertake a major rebuild to implement the solar charging capability. With so many changes due to be made, I dubbed the new iteration SOLARBOI.

At this stage, I rebuilt the whole robot to properly accommodate a solar power system to recharge the batteries. This would give the robot the ability to stay out on a mission for days at a time. The main Raspberry Pi computer remained, responsible for talking to home base over the Internet, commanding the motor and steering, and handling the camera. A secondary Arduino microcontroller was then installed for power management reasons. The problem is that the power available from the solar panels wasn’t enough to keep the robot’s computer switched on and online at all times. Instead, the main Raspberry Pi would be powered down most of the time. The Arduino, which used far less power, would run a schedule, waking up the Raspberry Pi every few hours. The Raspberry Pi would connect to the internet over 4G, wait to see if I logged in, and go to sleep after 5 minutes if I didn’t. Keeping the main computer powered down most of the time massively reduced the robot’s daily power use, to the point where it could readily gain a good amount of charge from the sun each day.

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This upgrade also saw the drivetrain and communications hardware split to run on separate batteries so that excess power draw from the drive motor wouldn’t compromise our 4G link back to base. The new design saw all the electronics sealed to prevent water ingress from rain and condensation, and the body got a coat of drab green paint for camouflage. Most of the upgrades were achieved with bits and pieces from my electronics junk box. The comms battery was a pack reassembled from a 1990s Toshiba laptop and some electrical tape. Camera brackets were fabbed up by hand out of old aluminium strip, because I had no 3D printer to do anything fancier.

Image14689
SOLARBOI initially had a stabilized gimbal for the camera, offering pan, tilt and rotation. However, this sucked a huge amount of power in use, and was eventually replaced with a simple pan-only mechanism on a high mount to give a broader view.
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Kinda miss that cute little face, though.
Path1422 5 8 0 6 5 5
SOLARBOI in a later configuration. Notably absent is the little hat that protected the camera from rain.

I’d gotten to the point where it was time to leave the kiddie pool. No more tests in the driveway and the backyard. We had to go out bush and really put this thing to the test.

I picked out a route between two distant country towns as the first mission for my robot adventurer. The plan was to kick off in the first town, wind through the streets in the dead of night, and park on the outskirts to catch a charge from the sun during the day. Then, we’d start rolling again the next night on a hiking trail between the two towns, aiming to hit a distant phone box as our end goal approximately 10 miles away.

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Electronically, SOLARBOI was pretty complicated. As time went on, I kept adding new features by hand, and the whole thing turned into a quagmire that eventually became slow and cumbersome to maintain.

The idea excited and terrified me in equal measure. On the one hand, I was getting to fulfill one of my longest dreams, to send a robot out into the wild, entirely on its own, while I controlled it from a great distance away over the Internet. On the other hand, there was little stopping anyone from finding the robot out on its adventures and simply picking it up and stealing it away. At this point, I’d invested hundreds of hours building it and a not-insignificant sum of money. Still, that was the whole thing that made this enterprise so exciting—the sheer thrill of not knowing what would happen.

From the outset, I wanted these missions to be an event. I rigged up a Mission Control set at my house, and based my outfit on the NASA guys from Apollo 13. I spent the day of deployment driving a great distance to drop the robot off in the empty lot of a friendly local, then driving all the way home to get ready for the mission, to kick off in the dead of night. A first attempt faltered due to poor mobile signal in the distant country town, so I scrubbed the launch, did a ton more driving, and fitted upgraded antennas to the 4G modem. Finally, we were ready.

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Solarboi's First Deployment! 1 23 Screenshot
SOLARBOI immediately prior to his first deployment.

My Robot Meets A Kitty Cat Solarboi's First Mission!!! 35 16 Screenshot

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We met a cat on mission 1. We also got stuck on a rock.

Friends tuned in to watch my robot’s first unaccompanied steps into the big wide world. Our first night out, we saw a kitty, struggled with the terrain, and got tangled in a wire fence. The second time, we got high-centered on a big rock stuck in the walking path. The poor field of view from the camera was making it difficult to drive, as was the dim output from my IR headlamps, and video lag of around half a second meant that progress had to be slow to avoid crashing into obstacles. Fog on the lens needed the fitment of a heater so we could still drive when the conditions got frosty.

Regardless, every mission was teaching me something, and I was more determined than ever. I was desperate to get the first multi-day mission in the bag, where we actually used the power of the sun to juice up the batteries for the next day’s attempt.

As COVID raged, Melbourne plunged into lockdown. Suddenly, effectively trapped in their homes, friends of friends were pouring into the Twitch streams to spectate and a little community formed to cheer SOLARBOI on. The missions weren’t always the most compelling to watch after the fact, but it was magic for those that tuned in live on Twitch. The idea of not knowing what was going to happen next, the drama, the suspense… we were seeing just what our little robot friend could do as he took his first steps into the world.

In mere weeks, I’d hit over 100 subscribers on the livestreaming platform, with over 20 concurrent viewers chatting away with advice, commentary, and speculation about what would happen next. A few weeks later, we blew past 30. It was a huge achievement for me just a month into streaming for the first time.

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People dived in with offers of help. Popular chiptune musician and video expert ctrix helped rework my streaming setup. Pro coder Derwent X stepped up to upgrade my code, letting me hotkey all kinds of camera controls and other commands rather then having to waste time in the command line on stream. Telecoms expert Brett consulted on antenna upgrades and how to avoid noise impacting communications.

Donations poured in to help fund the project as I scrambled with every spare waking hour to improve the ‘bot. They came at a crucial time. COVID was raging, and business across Australia was feeling the pinch. Shortly after the first few missions, I was made redundant from one of my jobs, where I was designing a cutting-edge arcade machine. The business faced difficulty and with my first project complete, I was shown the door.  I had been on the verge of buying a house, and my life was suddenly thrown into shambles. I threw myself into my work on the robot, redoubling my efforts to make it all work. It was a troubling time, but SOLARBOI kept my hands busy and my mind occupied. Ultimately, I would end up overcommitting, but I had to see this through.

Can We Escape The Town Solarboi Mission 4 1 23 59 Screenshot
By mission 4, we had an upgraded camera, live telemetry, and live GPS tracking to help keep us on track. The distance-measurement code by yours truly wasn’t yet perfect, as you might have noticed.

By our fourth time out, I was weeks into this crazy ride. Life was now about SOLARBOI, and SOLARBOI was life. The mission went well. We made it a good 2 kilometers the first night without too much trouble. The engineering updates to the bot had proven fruitful, our new high camera mount and fisheye lens was giving us a great view, and the wind was at our back. I parked up the robot out of the way, hoped nobody from the stream had figured out where it actually was, and went to bed.

I was so excited by the clean run, I could hardly sleep. The mission had lasted hours and I was spent but also peaking off caffeine. I’d been mainlining beverages from a Pyrex jug, which kind of became an in-joke in the streams. The next day I was too preoccupied to work. I kept frantically checking my back-end spreadsheets to which the robot was writing hourly location updates, to make sure nobody had stolen it. Battery voltages were slowly ticking up, showing the solar panel was doing its job. Eventually, in the early afternoon, I booted up a Twitch stream to see if we could really pull it off. What was, to the best of my knowledge at the time, the first DIY solar rover to undertake a multi-day mission under the power of the sun.

I logged in to the robot, raring to go. We had signal. The video feed came online. The viewers tuned in. I tapped out the commands, and it all came to fruition. SOLARBOI was a success. I cranked the tunes and screamed for a full minute at the glory of it all.

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Of course, we still had a mission to do. Our objective lay a great distance away. Mission 5 saw SOLARBOI stretch a few hundred meters closer to its target, before I elected to stop to pick up more charge. Mission 6 saw us stretch ever further, a third day into proceedings. All was going well, until disaster struck. We were now a long way from the nearest mobile phone tower, with our tiny little antennas just a foot off the ground. When our proud robot rolled down an embankment, the steep roadside began to block our signal. I spent the best part of an hour trying to climb back up the steep slope, fighting a jagged video feed and minimal bandwidth. In a small boon, the camera heater did a great job of keeping the lens free of fog, but it wasn’t enough. I elected to park for the night, hoping another day’s charge might free our robot. Alas, it wasn’t to be. After driving our 20-year-old toy RC car 3.62 kilometers, it had dug itself into the dirt and the motor had ripped the drive pinion to pieces.

A series of fresh attempts followed as I fought the robot’s feeble Radio Shack underpinnings. I tried time again to upgrade the motors for more torque, locked the rear differential for more traction, and had friends donate new gears and other parts to try and beef up the drivetrain. I tried to fix communications issues with more hardware, better antennas, and more hardware. I desperately wanted to start afresh with a new design on a better chassis, but I felt like I didn’t have time. The fanbase was crying out for more regular content, and rebuilding the robot from the ground up would take months. I elected to keep trying running repairs with mixed success.

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SOLARBOI in its late era. Servicing anything on the robot became a huge time sink as disassembly and reassembly took hours. Unfortunately, the push to get back to streaming as quickly as possible meant I felt like I didn’t have time to start from scratch with a 2.0 build.

The robot grew heavier with each upgrade, and drivetrain failures became common. Hilariously, though, sometimes this was actually great fun. A successful multi-day mission in a new location actually saw us make some new friends, as I called the local publican to see if they could find my robot out in their backlot and rescue it from a sandy trap. I guided them via phone live on stream, while they wandered out into the paddock with a torch, listening out for guitar music playing from SOLARBOI’s speaker. Myself and the audience laughed like drains when we saw the torch beam glitter into view as our rescuers came across our stricken robot. We’d sheared another pinion gear, and the mission ended there, but it was a right laugh.

SOLARBOI being rescued by the local publican on its last bush mission. Aussies are always ready to help a robot in need.

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Yvette
Publican Yvette kept SOLARBOI safe for us after our little robot stripped another pinion.

From there, I retired SOLARBOI from public missions. The whole endeavor had become a huge strain on my life, both financially and mentally. I was spending morning to afternoon engineering upgrades to the ‘bot, before handing it off to a delivery driver to take it out to the countryside. I’d scarf down a quick dinner, spend a couple hours tweaking code, and then start broadcasting at around 9 or 10PM. The late-night missions were propelled by caffeine and sheer elation, and then I was generally too tired to sleep before 5AM. I’d spend the next day obsessively checking the robot’s vitals online, or I’d be on a recovery mission to pick it up and fix whatever broke. It wore me ragged, and it was time to take a break.

It’s hard to focus on real life when you’re spending every spare moment working on a complicated project. It’s even worse when you’re spending all day stressing about your multi-thousand-dollar robot and whether some passing stranger has chosen to nick off with it. In any case, by this point, the toy car I’d built it on was beyond repair. After a few experiments letting Twitch drive the bot, I chose to turn SOLARBOI into MOWERBOI, repurposing it with an autonomous GPS guidance system that would see it mowing my back lawn for me. That project itself taught me a great deal about autonomy and navigation, and left me wanting more. I still have a stack of videos of how that project ended up that needs to see the light of day.

I’ve since sourced a far more capable off-road platform for a future SOLARBOI 2.0. I’d love to invest the time and money into building a new revision from scratch. It would have a better camera, better night vision, and the ability to guide itself on a GPS path to solve some of our issues with driving on video delay. Plus, it would be far lighter and lower to the ground for better handling and better efficiency. Most of all, unlike the original toy-based version, it would have a stout high-torque drivetrain built for crawling along and dealing with soft terrain. That alone would be the biggest upgrade over the initial build, which was meant for tearing around at speed on hard surfaces, not fighting through coarse Australian sand and mud.

Gfgg
We haven’t yet made it to that phonebox…

Given the opportunity and the engineering time, I hope to one day see SOLARBOI roam farther and wider. I’d love to complete a week-long mission and see it break the 10-, or even 20-mile barrier. With the right location, ideally free of cars and nosy interlopers, I think I could achieve that and even more. Here’s to the future, and long may SOLARBOI roam.

Image credits: Lewin Day, What Up TK Here via YouTube screenshot

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Kody Dagley
Kody Dagley
4 months ago

SOLARBOI!!! I used to be so excited when I saw the streams come up! 🙂

Would love to see a Solarboi 2.0 debut someday….was always hilarious, fun and exciting to see if we’d make it anywhere! 😀

I’d love to try something similar someday…pity the Data plans required to make happen cost ridiculous sums of money in Canada :/

Kody Dagley
Kody Dagley
2 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

I bet some old Solarboi fans would chip some funds your way!

Kody Dagley
Kody Dagley
2 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Good luck mate! 😀

You should see if the Autopian would let you post some links to the old streams…could get some new fans and hype? 🙂

Love seeing all your articles here by the way! Always good stuff!

Ricardo
Ricardo
4 months ago

Hi Lewin, great to see another ‘orstralian’ here.

Please tell me that you have seen the movie ‘Malcolm’. It was a semi obscure movie from the early 80’s (well before your time) where the main character builds things…… including remote control ashtrays that he uses to rob a bank.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNvS97Kt284

Fair to say that there is a whole lot of movie magic involved in what you see on screen but thought you get a kick out of it.

Rob_from_Ottawa
Rob_from_Ottawa
4 months ago

I’m getting my teenage kids to read this, not because this was kids’ stuff — it’s so obviously not — but to show them how you can start with nothing but a fun idea and achieve so much by figuring it out and seeing it through. More Lewin Day please!

Uberscrub
Uberscrub
4 months ago

This is really cool, really fun to watch the progress and added complexity. it really seemed like you learned a lot and each new step was furthering your skill

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago

A few years ago I built an autonomous duck decoy using a water jet drive from an RC boat, an Arduino, and GPS. It could self deploy and navigate on a lake, run a pattern for hours, then return.

The hours spent testing on the lake in a rubber raft to perfect the hardware and software allows me to feel the pain and joy of your journey. Well done. BTW, I only sunk one duck.

Chronometric
Chronometric
4 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Yes the trickiest part turned out to be using a jet for steering. The inputs have to be non-linear to get it to turn, like riding a Ski-Doo

Parsko
Parsko
4 months ago

Lewin, this was fantastic. Thank you for the article. I also took an RC car, the Lunchbox, and microcontrolled it for funsies. Also in Python! I did not do what you did, but it ain’t stock. I also made my own remote.

For the extra $50 bucks, I wish you had started with something like the Lunchbox, as it may have led to more success. Obviously, you’ve figured all this out.

I’m looking forward to more stories and the next journey. I would love to contribute. Seeing as how I’m on the opposite side of the world, it would be an interesting challenge to build two identical robots, and set them out on a journey to someday meet one another somewhere in the world.

Parsko
Parsko
4 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Are you / were you okay with that? It wasn’t malicious or anything, right? Just people wanting to join the fun? Funny how things work when you have a good idea and it gets out.

Parsko
Parsko
2 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Wow, Lewin, you’re way behind in your replies!

Yes, us engineers all tend to get along. We’re way more interested in solving problems than doing bad stuff.

Geoff Tuck
Geoff Tuck
4 months ago

This is epic Lewin!!
A friend of mine tried to develop a similar concept a few years ago. He did a few test runs on his farm but would only get about 100m or so before mechanical failures (probably due to weight) brought him undone.

Hopefully SOLARBOI 2.0 comes to fruition, good luck with it mate!

Canyonsvo
Canyonsvo
4 months ago

This is awesome and everything. But as the pedantic son of a retired special-ed teacher, it’s bated breath, not baited.

CSRoad
CSRoad
4 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Great article.
Obsession broken, not really, you may get better, but you’ll never get well.
Get back to it when you can, while you can.
You realize that could be weaponized as a loitering “drone”? Government job?

My English teacher Miss Pelling voted for “pawed” and my polydactyl cat gave it a thumbs up.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
4 months ago

Now there are two writers on staff who love R/C vehicles. Let the content roll in!

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
4 months ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

I mean, you forced a Radioshack R/C into a life into didn’t even dream was possible, so you definitely went beyond what most of us do. We usually stay in our lanes.

Tristan Hixon
Tristan Hixon
4 months ago

You’re the same Lewin Day from HaD, aren’t you? Badass, my dude. Badass.

10001010
10001010
4 months ago

Making me have to google “publican” and read the definition on wikipedia like a nerd just to know what’s going on… still enjoyed reading it though! 😉

Phuzz
Phuzz
4 months ago
Reply to  10001010

To help other non-Commonwealth readers; a publican is the person who owns/runs a pub.
In US English it would probably be “bar owner”.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
4 months ago

This was quite an enjoyable read!

As someone else said, RC crawlers are purpose-built for this stuff. They’re insanely capable out of the box at 1/10 and larger scale. A proper one with a metal geartrain and sensored brushless motor would make for a great base.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
4 months ago

Solarboi is my new favorite EV in the world. That is an epic story, and exactly the kind of thing I’ve wondered about as well. Hope to eventually see Solarboi 2.0 see the light of day 🙂

Tbird
Tbird
4 months ago

Ahh – recall my first RC, a 1985? Radio Shack yellow truck that ran on “C” cell batteries. Modelled after a late 70’s F series. Serious good times with that toy. I love your work and dedication. Want to see more.

Parsko
Parsko
4 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

I had this EXACT truck!!!! I bought it with my own money, in like…. 5th grade?? I eventually took it apart to see how it worked. It’s literally the first thing I took apart. :'(

Lincoln Clown CaR
Lincoln Clown CaR
4 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

Me too! It lived out the rest of its years without batteries as a toy truck for the grandkids in my mom’s basement. My mom just moved, so I assume the truck’s life is over.

Parsko
Parsko
4 months ago

HUGS!!!

Tbird
Tbird
4 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

Howdy – I think I was in 4th. Late Gen-Xers unite. My younger brother got the blue one they released few years later that ran on a different frequency. Races!!

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
4 months ago

This is the best thing I have read all week. I want to be in the audience for the next round of missions!
As for the platform; there are many many options out there in the scale rock crawler truck community – ready to run chassis, brushless motors, portal axles, oil-filled suspension… there is a cottage industry cranking out custom parts and 3D patterns. I’m sure you could find everything you need, and all the help you could ask for.
Good luck, and godspeed.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago

Well, then.
I somehow missed that you are a proper Boy Genius/Mad Scientist type in your CV.
Really enjoyed your joyous screams there. All that hard work vindicated [thumbs up]. Loads of work, dead ends, dashed hopes, wrong turns (both kinds)….way cool to have you here writing for us. Thanks for this article!

gonna go finish the video now

Harmanx
Harmanx
4 months ago

Nice! Looks like things I’ve seen testing in the JPL Mars Yard.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago

I see stuff like this and wonder if people who write stories of the zombie apocalypse are aware of just how ingenious people can be when they want to do something.

Data
Data
4 months ago

Crikey!
Take that Team Associated.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
4 months ago

Very cool write up. I one heck of a job building it, cheers!

CatMan
CatMan
4 months ago

Lewin have you ever watched Good Night Oppy (2022) – IMDb I was reminded of it quite a bit while reading this. It’s funny how a piece of machinery can turn into something very personal.

Buzz
Buzz
4 months ago

This is really cool! If you aren’t familiar with the YouTube channel rctestflight, they have some really cool autonomous and solar powered projects that I think you would find very relevant.

https://youtu.be/nv2FbwjIZRE?si=UDQeq1YnXfOWZ_xu

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
4 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Especially his autonomous boat missions

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
4 months ago

Falling down the rabbit hole of a hobby is one of my favorite feelings.

I’ve consciously put it off since my divorce as I just don’t have room for one, but when I get a house…. whooo boy.

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