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RC car controlled via laptop

I'm an absolute beginner regarding of this --

I want to control my RC car through PC by means of using my keyboard as controller...

I want to connect to my laptop via USB, is it possible? USB only, no converter eh

From what I know is, connect the transmitter to a board, then from the board connect to the Laptop??


Can anyone help me out with this? Have any program kit regarding of this?

I would like to use MPLab, if there'sa source code regaring of this...that would be nice :)

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If you main goal is "something" controlled from your PC, then you should make this the focus for now. Don't worry about servos, motors, mechnicas and building a robot for the time being. Concentrate on building a circuit and writing some code which can switch an LED on and off from a terminal emulator or something like that. In total we need how many Microcontrollers are needed to implement this project? The project is basically an RC car with "Eyes" controlled using laptop via serial port..

wireless security systems

Dose anybody know a toturial on how to creat a usb interface from scratch?


There are USB to serial chips, I believe USB to SPI, and probably USB to I2C, as well as USB to Ethernet. So which one were you interested in? USB to serial is the most common since most microcontrollers usually have a serial port somewhere. FTDI seems to be a leading manufacturer, used in a number of places. Sparkfun has a cheap USB to RS232 breakout board here.

This project could be helpful. Or at the very least educational. It's called the bus pirate and purports to be a universal serial interface.

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Hi, I'm not doing this for a school project.  I simply got hooked on the show Robocars, and want to play now.  Here's what I'd like to do (by the way, total noob with RC, but a background in IT so I'm not a total idiot), use two laptops, and build a robot (don't know what I want it to do yet... maybe fetch beer).  1 laptop as the remote control, and the other MOUNTED TO THE ROBOT to control the robot, or run an automated program.  How do I interface the mounted laptop to all the motors, servos, bottle openers and such?  I have no hardware (except the laptops) cause I don't know where to start.  I will probably use Microsofts Robotics Studio (if that matters).


Thanks for the help,



Sounds like a job for a pic right enough. find a PIC on the Microchip website which has a build in serial port (USART) or, if you're feeling adventurous, a USB interface. Write a program on the PC to send segnals out the serial (or USB) port. Write a program for the pic to receive these. Once you've done that, the I/O pins of the pic can be made to di virtually anything from taking inputs from switches to driving motors.

All the information you need is here at letsmakerobots.com! 

This is actually my College's project...a huge project, I can die from this...zz

I really utterly need to use a MicroC..by means of whatever method you connect the car to the laptop and control it via keyboard. And also with the camera. Like the site given by robologist, the interface that i want is something like that, either controlling via mouse or keyboard. But not Java cause I dun have any clue how to deal with Java..zzz!


RC_overview.jpgI offer this as an overview solution. It would be morally wrong for me to help with the detail, but I think it right and fair to steer you in some direction (whether it's the right direction remains to be seen).

It should be noted that this is my solution based on the tools with which I am familiar. I make no recommendation that it is your best solution. I don't know your background. It seems unusual that you would have been handed such a project without first having been given some tuition in microcontrollers and robotics. Your major hurdles are:

1) You need to design a protocol which will allow the laptop to communicate to the micro. One possibility is you send it a 4-byte packet, where the first (header) byte is 255, then two values for the two digital pots, then a (footer) byte with a value of zero. This will allow you to do some error checking and synchronisation on the packet.

2) You need to learn the protocol the digital potentiometer requires. It's not rocket science.

3) You need to learn to program a microcontroller. This is why I'm not sure this is your best solution. If you've never done it before and you've received no tuition, then I can't see how you're expected to do this project. I presume you only have one academic year. That's not long enough.

4) You need to modify your R/C transmitter. You need to open it up, locate the potentiometers which are connected to the control sticks and wire in the digital pots instead.

5) I think the best idea for sending video back to the laptop is a commercially available solution. The control transmiter is already an awful lot of work for you. Perhaps a wireless security camera?

I selected the PIC 16F882 because it has a master I2C interface and a UART built in. Alternatively, you might consider one of the devices which has a USB interface instead of UART (so you don't need the USB/serial interface) OR even one of the ethernet interfaces.

This is BIG BIG BIG piece of work. Maybe TOO BIG.

Update: Just realised the MCP4632 is not yet inproduction. You might have to use two MCP4024 instead. (That's what I@m going to use when I get around to this....)

Not as easy as that....

I need to control the Rc car via laptop...and view the video captured via laptop also eh...I need to have at least 1 Microcontroller. Like you said if using the transmitter to connect to the PC doesn't need any MicroC, then I can't do that.

My q now is..For using the Microcontroller, what I have to do 1st..? --

Here is the Surveyor SRV-1 :


It uses an ARM micro, and both it's serial port and the cameras seril output are connected to the XBee wireless link that transmits/recieves from the USB XBee radio attached to your computer. Pretty interesting setup.

What I'd suggested earlier was to seperate the wireless links. One wireless link was to whatever micro you'd like to use, whatever you are most familiar with. Your RC car should have a PCB on it that has an h-bridge or 2. Trace these out, and connect your micro (through small resistors) to drive the h-bridge(s) from the signals on your micro. Program your micro to accept keyboard input over a serial link (I imagine you do have USB) and send commands through a terminal window.

 For the camera, get one of the cheap wireless surveillance cameras, usually $50 - $80. They just transmit, and the reciever that comes with it can be connected to a video capture device, such as a Dazzle. The Dazzle (or others) converts the video to PC usable, and is generally also connected by USB. Actually writing the PC software to make a camera viewing window and a terminal link will be your wonderful joy that I have no real idea on,other than to suggest maybe Liberty Basic, cheap Windows programming stuff.