Let's Make Robots!

SquaresVille / MSP430 to cheap RC Tank

MSP430 Tank Controller

UPDATE JUNE 11, 2011:

I'm calling this one done....

The goal was to learn how to program and interface the MSP430 microcontroller with a toy tank and make it drive autonomously in a square after a button is pressed.  The project demonstrates simple control of two DC motors (output) and the ability to process a button press (input) with the MSP430. There was no goal to create a pretty robot and I guess I got that done as well. ;)

The material list: 

$12.00 toy tank,

$4.30 TI MSP430 LaunchPad,

$2.50 SN754410NE Quad Half H-Bridge

The program is written in C and upload into the MSP430 via the Code Composer Studio 4.1 software.  

See the final result (20 seconds) at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoVR29Q0RmU



My first post here.  I'm a robot "rookie", but according to the FAQ I am "talented" so here we go.

I've never programmed a uController and wanted to give it a try.  The MSP430 LaunchPad is just $4.30 (includes shipping!), so the price of learning is too cheap to pass up.

My goal is a simple one for most of you and it's been done a 1.0EE6 times:  Use the MSP430 uC to control the tanks movements.

Here's a pic of my $12 tank:

$12 Tank

Here it is 5 minutes later:

$12 tank open

I figured out how to blink an LED on the MSP430.  Not too hard.  I connected that MS430 output to the output control on the tanks RC receiver.  After only a short time I got some results.  The RC receiver got pretty hot.  Maybe because I was backdriving it(?).  So, I cut the RC reveiver out of the tank.  I'll use that on another project down the road:

And I just ran wires straight to the motors. I will use the MSP430 to controll my on order motor driver IC.  Right now the tank looks like this:

Right now my goal is to just have the tank drive in a square or something.  I have a PIR that I think I will mount as an input to change the tanks motion when it "sees" heat.  The tank does have an airsoft cannon on it, but it only shoots a killer 12 inches or so...

I'll post back soon.  Like I stated in the beginning, this is a first on many levels and I'm open to ideas on any cool things that I could make this thing do.

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I want to do something simliar, where did you get the tank, what is the tank called? Are you in the US?

Yes.  USA.

Krumlink found (and posted) a link to the tank.  See:


Thank you, I saw that, I was just hoping for a local store to buy it from.. Thanks..

Okay.... We have movement....

It's ALIVE!!!!!

ill be following this projects progress


Awesome!  Presure is on for me to either make this tank walk with the MSP430 or produce a lot of green smoke in the process!  


I found the tank online, heres one for 13 bucks


Just be aware that the airsoft "cannon" (on mine anyway) only shoots about 12 inches.  Not very "deadly"!

Still, at that price....

Be careful about wiring the MSP340 right to your motors. The board cannot supply that much current, and you may damage the output pins or the chip itself.

It should be fine with a motor driver.

Nice project, BTW. Good luck!

Oh, you put the link for the YouTube video down in the section for videos when you are editing.

No plans to use the MSP430 to drive the DC motor.  I plan on using SN754410NE for that.

Thanks for the embedded video tip.  I edited my original post.