Gruber
HobbyMasters
M.L. Toys
KidsWheels
Gruber
HobbyMasters
M.L. Toys
KidsWheels
HobbyMasters M.L. Toys
Gruber
KidsWheels
Use this area as your personal project pages or blog! Each thread belongs to one user as a project page!
#122430
Hello everyone! First post here, thought I might as well make my introduction with the debut of my project.

My 1-year-old daughter received a VW Barbie Beetle for her birthday. She loves it, but really only enjoys sitting in it while eating her crackers while watching a little TV in the morning from the driver's seat. Of course, she doesn't quite have the whole concept of steering and actuating the gas pedal down just yet since she is just one. I figured, wouldn't it be great if I could just convert one of these Power Wheels vehicles into a radio-controlled car??? So I sat down in front of google and found my way here. Excellent site and a wealth of knowledge!

Here's my starting platform:
Image

Let's begin.


#122445
Welcome to the forums! :D

Yes, that darn google has led many an innocent parent into the world of underground PW modding... :twisted: :roll: :lol:

Post plenty of pics as you make your way and there are plenty on these forums happy to lend a hand where you need it :)
#122449
toycrusher wrote:Welcome to the forums! :D

Yes, that darn google has led many an innocent parent into the world of underground PW modding... :twisted: :roll: :lol:

Post plenty of pics as you make your way and there are plenty on these forums happy to lend a hand where you need it :)
Thanks!

I enjoy projects and look forward to contributing.
#122452
The first task at hand is to add an additional motor as the Beetle is only powered by a single motor. Here I have removed the factory wiring harness, battery and axle from the vehicle:

Image

With the factory motor removed, I was able to create a template from cardboard.

Image

Using the template as a guide I cut a crude opening in the other side of the Beetle's tub with a utility knife and a lot of elbow grease:

Image

Image

Image

Now, I have to give credit where it is due. I used the following thread for inspiration on this modification: http://www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/foru ... C_ID=19036
#122453
Adding a second motor/gearbox won't improve traction any further over the stock design as the Beetle is already technically 2WD since the axle is locked to the wheels. This is achieved by way of a rectangular axle design and wheel insert:

Image

Image

What I am hoping to achieve by the addition of a second motor/gearbox is to distribute the workload of the battery and reduce stress on the single factory design. I am planning to upgrade the battery from 6V to 12V. The larger battery and second motor should also allow for a bit better performance both on and off-road.
#122454
The next order of business is to fabricate a bracket to locate the axle. I purchased a small length of metal angle/channel from Lowe's, measured it, cut it to length and used an angle grinder to create the surfaces for which the motor tabs rest. Then I took a drill bit and enlargened a hole in the angle to accept one of the factory axle guides.

Image

Image

Axle installed to assess how things were lining up:
Image
#122455
Of course the Beetle only has one motor so I had to salvage the drivetrain from a donor vehicle that I found on Craigslist. I chose this specific vehicle, My First Craftsman F-150, because I found that it used the same wheel drivers and pentagon drive gears for the motors as found in the Beetle. In this way, I could retain the factory wheels.

Image

Beetle motor in the back, truck motors up front:
Image

I also found that the F-150 is rated at 3.5 mph, vs the Beetle's 2.5 mph so I'm assuming the Beetle should see a nice increase in speed from the new motors alone.
#122456
I bolted the bracket down to the floor of the tub and used a couple washers (top and bottom) and a nylon locking nut to keep things secure. It's actually sturdy.

Image

Then it was time to mock up the new drivetrain:
Image

Image

From underneath:
Image

Wheel driver in place:
Image
User avatar
By jonesee
#122493
wow, great documentation. Looks great! keep up the good work!
#122513
jonesee wrote:wow, great documentation. Looks great! keep up the good work!
Thank you sir!

I enjoy the documentation part of it. I figure it's my way of returning the favor to anyone out there who is a beginner (like me) and needs a good step-by-step. I have benefitted many a times from detailed write-ups on the internet for various other projects.

I'm gonna try and make some updates on the R/C components tonight if I get out of work at a reasonable time.
#122566
R/C Component Install - Drivetrain

First order of business is to Y the motors together. Note that since the motors are mounted opposing each other, they'll technically be rotating in opposite directions, i.e. one will go clockwise while the other counterclockwise. Motor direction is determined by wire polarity so depending on how you hook up the wires to the battery will dictate the direction of rotation. A little trial and error is helpful here if you aren't familiar with electrical polarity. For my set up, I Y'ed the orange and black wires together and the red and blue wires together.

Image

I salvaged some of the black and red wiring from the F-150's wiring harness to create the Y's. I used crimp-on snap connectors to connect the Y's to the motors and heat shrink wire wrapped them:
Image

Image

The Castle Creations ESC comes with female bullet connectors already installed so I purchased the male counterparts and soldered them on:
Image

This is what I ended up with:
Image
#122571
The Flysky transmitter and Castle Creations Mamba Max Pro seem to be popular choices so I purchased these components for my build.

Image

I crimped a couple snap connectors onto the power wires of the ESC
Image

Hooked up the motor wires
Image

Plugged the receiver (included with the FlySky remote) into channel 2 of the ESC
Image

And finally, crimped on the corresponding snap connectors to the "body-side" of the battery wiring harness which was salvaged from the F-150. It's now ready to power the ESC.
Image
#122573
When you receive the ESC it will need to be properly set up to operate your Power Wheels motors. This is achieved by way of the Castle Link Adapter which is purchased separately. It essentially allows you to communicate with the ESC through your computer. As many are aware, if you purchase the ESC you should receive a coupon code in the box for a FREE Castle Link.

The most important change you need to make to the ESC's programming is to set it for BRUSHED motors.

The ESC and remote will need properly paired and calibrated for the initial setup. This process is fairly simple and outlined in the ESC instructions that accompany it.

After I got everything set up, I took the car for a little test spin. Still waiting on the steering components to arrive in the mail, should be here by Monday so just forward and reverse for now....
Last edited by sanchezcruz_20 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
#123133
Factory steering setup
Image

Image

I removed the steering shaft and support bar
Image

Next, I removed the steering rack
Image

The steering rack fits over and is screwed to the body of the Beetle
Image

I drilled out the rivet that holds the tie rod to the knuckle
Image

Then, drilled a hole in the steering rack at the appropriate position for mounting of the linear actuator
Image
#123134
I mocked up one end of the unit by passing a bolt through the LAC and into the steering rack/body of the Beetle
Image

At the steering knuckle, I mocked up a makeshift connection from a piece of scrap plastic and hardware
Image

Looked something like this
Image

Initial testing was successful so I went forward.
Last edited by sanchezcruz_20 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#123136
I found a piece of scrap metal bar laying around in the garage and cut it to size for the connection at the steering knuckle to the LAC
Image

I was concerned about the strength of the connection between the LAC and the steering rack so I made a template of the Beetle's tub where the steering rack resided
Image

I cut a piece of 2x4 and placed it inside the Beetle to reinforce the mounting point and lend some substance/structure to the steering system
Image

From inside the vehicle
Image
#123137
End result
Image

Image

Image

You can see above that I cut an axle spacer that I salvaged from the Beetle and used it as a "crush sleeve" to reinforce the fastening of the LAC.

Also, don't mind the tape in the background, I still need to properly affix it to the tub.
#123141
I was a little apprehensive about wiring the LAC and board, I've never worked with circuit boards before, but with the help of MPW's user Haunted Spider's excellent instructable write-up, the process was pretty straight forward.

Haunted Spider's write-up
http://www.instructables.com/id/RC-Powe ... led-Child/

With the LAC mounted up front, I ran the wires back towards the rear of the vehicle where the ESC and batteries are located. I was able to do this without extensions because the Beetle is relatively small in length. I drilled a hole in the tub and used a spare axle guide as a makeshift grommet.
Image

All wired up
Image

I didn't buy the Firgelli LAC board protector/case so I fashioned one out of a Q-Tips travel box.... not fancy but helps protect it a bit and keep it in place. The 2 wires coming out the top are the power and RC connections.
Image
#123142
One thing that made this particular vehicle difficult to work with is quite simply the lack of available space for stuff. Unlike many vehicle, there's no room up front for an additional battery and with the upgrade to a 12V battery in the back, there really wasn't much space there either. What I did to conserve space was to use two 6V batteries wired together to make 12V. The 2 blue 6V batteries are quite a bit smaller and lighter than the grey 12V cell.

Image

Image

When it's all said and done, the back of the vehicle now looks like this
Image

Image

The blue 6V's power the LAC and the grey 12V powers the motors/ESC.

The blue 6V's are SO MUCH lighter than the grey 12V that I'm actually thinking about just getting a couple more to replace the 12V.
#123224
Experiencing a small quirk with the radio control function. When going from reverse to forward there is a small delay before the car responds with forward movement. What's odd is that when going from forward to reverse there is no delay and I can essentially go from full throttle forward to full throttle reverse at will. It's just a bit annoying if you want to back up to make a turn and have to wait momentarily to begin going forward again.

I'm assuming this is some type of setting or feature in the Mamba Max Pro. Any of you R/C guys out there with ESC experience have any suggestions/recommendations as far as settings are concerned?
Last edited by sanchezcruz_20 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By taz11
#123247
Not sure on the r/c stuff. I just wnted to mention that the f150 donor has different motors than the beetle. Just make sure you keep them as a set. The beetle motor will be slower.
#123260
taz11 wrote:Not sure on the r/c stuff. I just wnted to mention that the f150 donor has different motors than the beetle. Just make sure you keep them as a set. The beetle motor will be slower.

Thanks bud. I did keep the F150 motors together, they are working well! Pretty quick too with the 12V upgrade.
User avatar
By wired
#123347
This is one of the most thorough posts I've ever seen in a while. You have an obvious knack for this type of hobby. I look forward to watching this build evolve and thanks for being part of the forum.
Last edited by wired on Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
#123379
cantdrivestock wrote:I like your solution for the LAC clean and simple. Would like to see some video of this thing in action.
Thank you!

I literally spent probably a couple hours just staring at it, contemplating my approach. I went back and forth on where to mount it, bottom vs front of the steering rack. I even considered hooking directly to the steering shaft, but soon realized after receiving it in the mail that the size of the unit was going to be somewhat limiting on placement.

I really wanted the LAC to be in the same plane as the steering knuckle to simplfy the attachment and hardware, prevent binding and keep the force as low as possible. In all, I'm real happy with the way it turned out and so far it's SOLID. Very sturdy. I used grade 8 hardware on all the connections. I really think the wood block was key. It helped bolster the attachement by "sandwiching" the plastic instead of relying on the plastic.

One thing I was concerned about was the speed of the actuator @ 1/2"/sec. Quite frankly, I think it's near perfect for this application (small child rider). It doesn't jerk the rider side to side and makes controlling the vehicle easy with a nice smooth return to center.

I'll definitely get some video. The video I do have is from my wife's iphone and it just doesn't do it justice to post that up because the quality isn't great.
#123383
wired wrote:This is one of the most thorough posts I've ever seen in a while. You have an obvious knack for this type of hobby. I look forward to watching this build evolve and thanks for being part of the forum.

I am enjoying this build as much as my daughter is riding in it I'm sure!

We've been zipping around the neighborhood the last couple nights and couple of the older (3-7 years old) kids in the area have also enjoyed a more spirited ride so it's fun for me to let the Beetle loose with some full throttle, fish-tailing, drifting fun. :lol:
#123977
Realized that as a result of taking the wheels on and off, the factory push nuts were losing their bite. Decided to upgrade to something a little more secure while also allowing for easier removal.

Picked up a couple shaft collars from Ace Hardware:
Image
#123978
sanchezcruz_20 wrote:Experiencing a small quirk with the radio control function. When going from reverse to forward there is a small delay before the car responds with forward movement. What's odd is that when going from forward to reverse there is no delay and I can essentially go from full throttle forward to full throttle reverse at will. It's just a bit annoying if you want to back up to make a turn and have to wait momentarily to begin going forward again.

I'm assuming this is some type of setting or feature in the Mamba Max Pro. Any of you R/C guys out there with ESC experience have any suggestions/recommendations as far as settings are concerned?
Still haven't figured this out. Wondering if it may be a setting in the Fly Sky transmitter as opposed to the ESC???? Anyone?
#124191
sanchezcruz_20 wrote:Experiencing a small quirk with the radio control function. When going from reverse to forward there is a small delay before the car responds with forward movement. What's odd is that when going from forward to reverse there is no delay and I can essentially go from full throttle forward to full throttle reverse at will. It's just a bit annoying if you want to back up to make a turn and have to wait momentarily to begin going forward again.

I'm assuming this is some type of setting or feature in the Mamba Max Pro. Any of you R/C guys out there with ESC experience have any suggestions/recommendations as far as settings are concerned?
Pretty sure you want to change the "Reverse Type" with your castle link. Most RC cars are set up to go forward when the trigger is pulled and then when you press the throttle forward the car will "brake", you then have to return the throttle to neutral and push forward again to go in reverse. I believe this is how your ESC is currently set up. The problem is your ESC thinks you're going in reverse when you're going forward. You have to change a few things to get it working correctly with that functionality(I believe just motor wires and then reverse the channel on your radio). If you want to be able to go directly from forward to reverse and reverse to forward set your ESC "reverse type" to "forward to brake and reverse" I believe it is currently set as "proportional reverse lockout".

Also you were commenting on the size of the 6V battery in comparison to the 12V, I am pretty sure the 6V batteries are half the capacity(mah) of the 12V batteries, meaning two 6V batteries in series will run out in half the time that one 12V battery will.

I was planing on trying something similar on the hotwheels version of this car, but I waited to long and my daughter is really enjoying driving it now lol. Good luck and awesome write up.
Last edited by DiggityDad on Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#124273
DiggityDad wrote:
sanchezcruz_20 wrote:Experiencing a small quirk with the radio control function. When going from reverse to forward there is a small delay before the car responds with forward movement. What's odd is that when going from forward to reverse there is no delay and I can essentially go from full throttle forward to full throttle reverse at will. It's just a bit annoying if you want to back up to make a turn and have to wait momentarily to begin going forward again.

I'm assuming this is some type of setting or feature in the Mamba Max Pro. Any of you R/C guys out there with ESC experience have any suggestions/recommendations as far as settings are concerned?
Pretty sure you want to change the "Reverse Type" with your castle link. Most RC cars are set up to go forward when the trigger is pulled and then when you press the throttle forward the car will "brake", you then have to return the throttle to neutral and push forward again to go in reverse. I believe this is how your ESC is currently set up. The problem is your ESC thinks you're going in reverse when you're going forward. You have to change a few things to get it working correctly with that functionality(I believe just motor wires and then reverse the channel on your radio). If you want to be able to go directly from forward to reverse and reverse to forward set your ESC "reverse type" to "forward to brake and reverse" I believe it is currently set as "proportional reverse lockout".



Also you were commenting on the size of the 6V battery in comparison to the 12V, I am pretty sure the 6V batteries are half the capacity(mah) of the 12V batteries, meaning two 6V batteries in series will run out in half the time that one 12V battery will.

I was planing on trying something similar on the hotwheels version of this car, but I waited to long and my daughter is really enjoying driving it now lol. Good luck and awesome write up.
Thank you! I fooled around with the "reverse type" as you mentioned and changed the mode to "crawler reverse". It now allows me to go forward from reverse without delay. I now have full control over my vehicle! :D

You're right, I hadn't thought of the capacity issue. Currently, the lower capacity batteries are powering the steering and they appear to be holding up well as far as discharge is concerned.
Last edited by sanchezcruz_20 on Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By noah360
#149812
I know this is an old forum and a long shot. Can anyone tell me how I figure out the correct stroke length I need for the actuator. I have a Barbie Escalade I am converting to R/C I just don’t know what length to get. Thanks in advance!!

The pdf here seems to show just two wires in, two […]

I am looking for one for a Christmas gift for my s[…]

Professional writing or essay service which needs […]

I’m looking for the 88-98 body style Chevrol[…]

HobbyMasters Udemy Course