Tiny wi-fi robot

I use a esp8266 to control a BEAM style robot

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When Hack a Day announced their Wings, Wheels and Propellers contest I decided to make a small BEAM style robot using a ESP8266 -01.
I had some parts from some old mini helecopters so I threw this together.

When I read about the Wings,Wheels and Propellers contest I decided to build this for it. I had a box full of old mini helicopters that I had bought at a garage sale. Looking through the box I liberated a couple of motors, a Lipo battery and the control board from on of the toys and grabbed a ESP 8266 and some 123AP transistors and other parts. I threw this together in an evening. I stiil need to hook up the motor drivers.

Looking at Ebay gets the following prices:

ESP8266 - $2.19

Micro Motors (2) -$1.98

123AP (2) - $1.98

1N4001 (2) - $.08

1k (2) - $.04

LIPO Battery - $1.98

LIPO Charger $2.70

Assorted perfboard, wire, MISC

Total around 11 -12 bucks. Should be cheap enough to make a small swarm.

Pictures coming soon.

  • 1 × ESP8266 - 01
  • 2 × Mini motor
  • 2 × 123AP NPN Transistor
  • 2 × 1K Ohm Resistor
  • 1 × 3.7 V Lipo battery pack

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  • Back in business

    ccates07/10/2015 at 16:16 0 comments

    Well I didn't win anything in the contest 8( but I'll continue to work with this anyway. Good news is I figured out my programmer problem. Somehow I switched out my wall wart. The programmer didn't like 6v at 250mA but it's happy with 9v at 1A. So I can start with software development now. First I'll write a quick test of the motor control. Both motors on for 1 sec, then right only for .2 or so then left only for .2 then repeat. Then on to PWM then wifi control.

    Gonna have to leave soon but I'll work on it tonight. Check back.

  • The hardware is finished BUT

    ccates07/10/2015 at 03:37 0 comments

    Just finished adding the drivers. When the driver inputs are jumpered HIGH both motors drive forward. Yaaa! When a ESP8266 is plugged in it drives forward. I assume GPIO 0 and 2 default to Pull up so they appear to be outputting HIGH.

    Bad news is my programming carrier for the ESP8266 seems to have quit on me. The serial-usb I was using bit the dust so I replaced it but now I can't get anything but ESPCOMM_OPEN failed. ARRRRGGGG! Now I have to figure out what's wrong. I get readable output at the "magic" esp8266 bootup baud rate (76800) but when it goes to program or run mode I get gibberish at 115200. Not sure what is going on. As soon as this issue is solved I can start writing software but until then I'm stuck.

    New pictures coming tomorrow.

  • First thoughts

    ccates07/09/2015 at 04:57 0 comments

    As I mentioned earlier I threw this together in an evening. It's more of a proof of concept than anything. My first attempt was to use a coin cell battery for power but ESP8266's don't like 3.0 volts. I had to find another power source so I dug a battery out of one the minicopters I had. The ESP likes 3.7 Volts just fine. The combination of the small gear wheels and the high speed of the motors means it's very zippy. With the gpio lines as output I can use pwm to make it go whatever speed I want. The limited GPIO of the 01 modules means that there is no room for inputs. A better choice would be a 07 or 12 module. That could give you 9 GPIO which means you could 4 bits with a H-bridge on the motors to get full control of direction and you would still have 5 gpio plus an ADC for Inputs. As it is it can only go forward and turn left and right.

    Once I finish the drivers I will have to start the software. Basic software could serve up a web page and use buttons with links to give the signals for output. Not sure what kind of lag I will encounter though. I could make it a telnet server and use single character codes to drive it left,right or forward. A enhancement to this would be to allow it to load up codes and then execute a sequence. It should be fun to play with.

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JOhn gado wrote 02/06/2016 at 16:51 point

why 123ap transistor ? Could I use something else ?  Any remark about this ? ( I am a beginner)

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JOhn gado wrote 02/05/2016 at 23:10 point

what kind of rubber did you used for the feet? 

Is is possible to drive the 2 motors independently, with pwm? 

Would it be possible to implement a controller via the web? for example a joystick on my phone that control the robot? 

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Astearon wrote 11/07/2015 at 17:41 point

that battery in the pic looks kind of gone... i suggest you use another one and dispose of that one as soon as possible. Even miniature fires are no fun. 

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ccates wrote 07/10/2015 at 16:05 point

Yes, all of my minicopter batteries were "poofy". With a lipo that means abused. All of the minicopters were at least 3 - 4 years old.

It does put out 3.7 volts consistently so I can make due with it for now. It probably won't have much life in action but that's ok for now. New ones are $2 from our Chinese friends so I'll probably order some more and proper chargers for them if I build more of these robots.

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yominetube wrote 07/10/2015 at 15:10 point

Is the battery damaged?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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