Smartphone Bluetooth controlled toy

Smartphone Bluetooth controlled toy

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It was started with my 3 year old son after he started to be interested in electronic parts I have. Now he knows the difference between microcontroller and motor driver, which got me excited and willing to share my project to the community.
The goal of the project is to make a Smartphone operated bluetooth controlled toy such as a car, tank or other kind of vehicle.
The project is planning to support iOS, Android and Windows Phone as a remote control, and any 2WD, 4WD or similar platform.
The idea is to keep it all open source and be a beginner's platform to learn electronics and how to build those things at home for students, kids and their parents.

The whole idea is to support as many basic platforms available online as DIY kits so others could replicate and extent the project to their needs.

The Arduino part receives control commands via Bluetooth from your Smartphone app. All "brain" tasks will be performed by a Smartphone such as calculating motor balance while turning, while Arduino will just directly drive the motors, lights, servos based on the received commands.

Here is the schematic of Arduino part which receives commands.

  • 1 × Smartphone (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) Any modern phone has Bluetooth capability
  • 1 × Arduino Pro Mini (Atmega328)
  • 1 × Motor driver L298N or LMD18200
  • 1 × Bluetooth HC-05 module HC-05/HC-06 or other Bluetooth slave compatible module
  • 1 × Li-Pol 7.2V battery Can be used with any portable power such as 4xAA or similar

View all 8 components

  • Programming with Scratch

    nochkin08/21/2014 at 16:52 0 comments

    I was doing a research about something different and came up with the idea to add the ability to control the toy using Scratch from your PC over Bluetooth. So the toy will not just teach the kid to build things, but also learn some basics of programming using Scratch progarmming language.

  • Android and iOS apps

    nochkin08/16/2014 at 23:10 0 comments

    I also started to develop Android and iOS apps to control the toy. I went through several joystick-like libraries, but there is nothing I liked. I may need to develop my own or heavily customize some existing one. If you know something, feel free to buzz me about it.

  • Windows Phone 8 app

    nochkin08/16/2014 at 23:07 0 comments

    Not sure why I started with WP8 app. I guess this is because I like C# or have WP8 or both. Anyway, my first version looked nice. Once I installed it on my phone and let my son to play with it, he immediately discovered several UI flaws (you can see some on the included Video), so I had to make changes to make UI run smoothly.

    I'm still in the process of cleaning and fixing the code. I'll be posting the source code on GitHub once done. In case if you don't have Windows Phone Developers account, you can get the app from the Windows Store:

  • Arduino sketch

    nochkin08/16/2014 at 23:03 0 comments

    The sketch is pretty simple and straight forward. All commands are received in ASCII to simplify development and debugging. It uses SerialCommand library to parse incoming commands and decide what to do.

    I have the sketch available on GitHub:

  • Choosing components

    nochkin08/16/2014 at 23:01 0 comments

    Arexx Mr Basic TR-3: I picked this 4WD platform as the cheapest and still durable platform for my project. The price is about $30 or so. It survived some moderate hits and crashes during my tests.

    Li-Pol battery: I decided to go with it just to make runs longer and charging easier. However, the Arexx and many other cheap platforms come with 4xAA or similar battery holder for more usual battery cells like AA. Having them as rechargeable Ni-MH is highly recommended.

    KIW-3312S DC-DC step down power converter: If you don't have anything like this, you can easily go with linear voltage converter without losing too much since all low-voltage components drain low power anyway. Something like LM1117-33 will do.

    Motor driver: L298N seems to be a popular choice. I also designed Android sketch to support LMD18200. In case of LMD18200, you'll need two of those to control two motors while L298N has all channels in one chip. I purchased an assembled board with L298N to simplify that part of the build.

    Bluetooth HC-05 module: the module is cheap enough (about $5-$10) and versatile enough. It's popular too, so there should not be a problem to find it online.

    Arduino Pro Mini: any Arduino-based board will do. I like Pro Mini due to their size.

    LEDs for head lights: just see what looks cool on your platform and use them.

View all 5 project logs

  • 1
    Get the parts

    All modules are easy to find and purchase online. I used AliExpress and eBay to purchase all parts.

  • 2

    The actual assembling requires soldering some wires. It can be built using a breadboard, but I normally don't like it's lower reliability since it's a moving platform after all.

  • 3
    Burn the software

    Connect Arduino to the PC and send the sketch to it.

View all 3 instructions

Enjoy this project?



Thalanayar Muthukumar wrote 12/04/2018 at 13:45 point

I joined hackaday today and came across this project. The demo video (real test) is impressive. I currently have a 4WD chassis and Arduino and am motivated to replicate your project. Thanks for the inspiration

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