M.L. Toys
M.L. Toys
HobbyMasters M.L. Toys
Adding R/C to your Powerwheels vehicles? Using R/C parts on your Powerwheels?
User avatar
By TVfuzz
Basically, RC PowerWheels can be summed up in one word: STEERING. This is the biggest barrier in the general function of these things. So I've gone and done what seems to be the most practical: Windshield Wiper superservo.
That's taking a standard servo like you'd find in a typical RC car/truck, disconnecting the motor in it, running the motor leads from the servo PCB to a motor controller, and then that controller connects leads from the 12V battery to the wiper motor. You connect the servo to your radio just like a typical RC car/truck. It just tricks the servo into thinking that it's moving the small integrated motor- when instead, those signals are going to the controller and being used to move the BIG motor (wiper arm). The tricky part about this, is that there's a dial (that's 'potentiometor', for you less-scientific types) that needs to turn with the motor so your servo PCB (connected to your radio) knows the position. This dial is connected to your old servo motor (the tiny integrated one you disconnected) by gears. It needs to be EXACT, and proportionate. What happens is, you turn your controller- it tells the motor "go this far". Well, the only way your motor can talk back to say it how far it's gone, is through that dial. If the dial is not 100% center, the servo thinks "Who guy, you moved off-center, go back! (or forward, depending on which way your dial is off), and spin that motor constantly. You need to get it to not move at all, and be dead-center when your controller is on and not turning.
What happens is, you get it wired- put the power on and the wiper WILL spin. You then have to turn the dial on the servo to find dead-center. The arm will slow, go the opposite direction: "oops too far, turn it back... THERE. Now it's resting and not making noise trying to move" etc. THEN you can turn your remote and adjust the arms position to where you want it connected with your steering linkage, AND connect to the dial on your servo. And that's DAMNED hard, because you breathe on that dial- it'll move and ANY movement might as well be a mile on those things. There's videos online- but I think they don't explain that part. And it's important- because..... You'll get 'jitter' trying to adjust it, and if you mess around too much, that constant banging of back and forth signals to the motor as you try to find center or play with it- will fry your controller. Literally. And seriously, that dial is SENSITIVE. You literally can blow on the small servo arm (the dial) and the wiper motor will spin like a blender (these things have TORQUE. Be warned... It'll snap your finger or carve you up if you aren't careful).
Once you have center, and connect the wiper arm to your steering and servo dial, you'll experience the familiar RC car/truck type of steering from the controller input.

What I've used:

and ... EBIDX%3AIT

Simple to connect, difficult to 'tune'.

Now..... Understand that you're going to STILL be getting "jitter" with bumps to the wheels on uneven terrain, and likely will have some play in your steering. The sensitivity of that digital servo position-read, is crazy. So I've found that it'll eventually burn out over time, as the steering always fights to seek center... What I've done to correct this, has been to add springs to the left and right, so the steering wants to pull to center mechanically. I'm hoping this takes enough load off the motor to keep the "jitter" down so the controller doesn't burn out. So far.... I haven't tested it.

I hope this helps someone. My knowledge of electronics is VERY basic. And for me, it was hard to muddle through the complex explanations and I really just wanted a basic understanding without the years of educational background people often seem to like chest-beating about when someone just want's to know "why is this smoking?" etc... hahaha...

Anyway... That's my contribution. Anyone who knows more- correct me if I'm wrong. That's just what I've learned so far.
Here's how the wiring flows:

User avatar
By Jamarok1
Hi all! I so love this site. Times has changed and its nice to know that there are others out there who enjoy this stuff. I did my first mod on 2 power wheels safari jeep back in 1989. (one for a my son the for my daughter (Modified to be more girly). To this day they both are still operational with a real am/fm cassette car stereo mounted in the back and speakers mounted in the doors. The lighting was from x-mas tree lights I trimmed and wired in series to handle the 12 volt battery I added under the hood to run the radio and lights. I am amazed at all the cool stuff and ideas you guys have.
Anyhow, 26 years later I am at it again. I am modding the kids trak Viper. I had a question about the steering. With the linear actuator connected to the steering, you cant manually steer it. Is there a linear actuator one out there that can be manually steered and remotely? Or it has to be disconnected from the steering linkage when manual steering is in use.
Thanks for everything.
User avatar
By Oddmar
What i do is use a servo tester. Mount the steering wheel to a short shaft that goes through the dash, supported by a couple bearings. Mount the servo tester to one side behind the dash, connected to the steering wheel shaft by a pulley/ belt. You'll want to limit the turn of the steering wheel so the kid can't damage the servo tester...they only turn 45* each way, just like a servo. You could use different size pulleys so the steering wheel has to turn 90* to turn the servo tester 45*...that will result in better steering control for the kid. Connect the servo tester through an RC switch to the linear actuator. When the kid turns the wheel the servo tester will control the actuator...volia! power steering! If you flip a toggle on your (hopefully 8-channel) RC transmitter, the RC switch will disconnect the servo tester as it switches control to the RC receiver. The kid can spin the wheel all he wants but you will have control. Another RC switch can switch the throttle signal. (Gas pedal connected to another servo tester, through RC switch to the ESC or motor controller).

Be careful when ordering the servo tester. They have several modes of operation, you want a unit with a physical switch on the side you can set to 'manual', not one of the units with a pushbutton mode selector, as they always start up in 'auto' mode. You need one like this... ... SwBLlVBy-q

A quality motor controller...

Solid-state RC switch... ... 2-smartfpv?

Or if you are really cheap, you can use a servo to phyisically flip a small switch. One servo could flip several at the same time. Or one DPDT on-off-momentary. Look on Digikey.

Good for killer headlights. Use 3528 16-ft 600-led strips ($8 or so) from Ebay in all the other lights (turn/ tail/ etc). ... oYyS_D09Xs

Awesome RC transmitter. Use a JR-style radio module. Frsky Tx/ Rx with ACCST is the best. ... 0338.m3726
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