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KidsWheels
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HobbyMasters
M.L. Toys
KidsWheels
HobbyMasters M.L. Toys
Gruber
KidsWheels
Adding R/C to your Powerwheels vehicles? Using R/C parts on your Powerwheels?
By bdsearle
#76185
Ok, so I am in the process of gathering everything I need to make an
R/C Power Wheels for my son, who has cerebral palsy. I would like to
get some of your opinions and to see if there is anything I am
missing... Oh yeah, this is my first PW Mod ever :-) So far this is
what I have "acquired"...

PW Cadillac Escalade with battery, but not charger - $30
PW Dora Quad 12v - Free
PW Spiderman Ride-On 6V Quad - Free

Two of these batteries


Schumacher SC-300A Speedcharge Charger/Maintainer.


To make things easier/cleaner, I got two of these battery tender harness
(with inline fuse) to connect to the battery.



I would like to make the Escalade R/C so he can go out and play with
the other kids in the neighborhood that have PW's. Right now, I am
trying to gather my list of everything I need. I have been reviewing
a lot of the forums here and there seems to be a few different options
(servo/linear actuator and ESC's...) Please let me know if I am missing anything...

Here is what I am looking at, but have not purchased yet...

This is the transmitter I was looking at... also saw that a few of you
on here have this one too. But it has been out of stock for a while
now...
http://www.hobbypartz.com/fs-g2-24ghz-radio.html
If they do not restock it soon, I will probably just get this one.
http://www.hobbypartz.com/79p-gt3b-carradio-lcd.html

ECS's.... If I haven’t mentioned it already, I am very new to R/C, electronics, actuators... basically this whole thing... One of the things I am having a lot of trouble deciding on is the ESC. I see a lot of you prefer the Mamba Max Pro, but that is a little bit more than I want to spend right now. Can any of you tell me if any of the ECS's below will work, and which is the best pick out of them?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-30A-300W-DC ... 19d1adfa23
http://www.goodluckbuy.com/waterproof-m ... -50a-.html
http://www.ebay.com/itm/PWM-DC-12V-30A- ... 277wt_1163
http://www.rcplanet.com/HPI_EN_1_ESC_wi ... hpi340.htm
http://www.rcplanet.com/Castle_Creation ... 094-00.htm
http://www.rcplanet.com/Venom_550_55T_6 ... r13022.htm

What is easier to install for steering? Servo or actuator? Eventually, we plan on taking this in the sand on the beach (that will be another topic later on down the road). From what I have read, the actuator is more "sand proof" than the servo and has been said to perform better. However, the actuator installs I have seen on here have had brackets welded on to attach them. I do not have the skills/welder to do this. Has anyone ever bolted one on?

Did I leave anything out :?:
User avatar
By Jornum1
#76191
I have done a few RC builds now so maybe I can help you with the esc and steering choices.

If this is something you are going to use outside your back yard then dont skimp on cheap parts. Trust me, I have been down the cheap esc road and there is nothing worse then having your truck fail out in the middle of a park and having to drag it all the way home!
I am sure there are plenty of good esc's, but if your going to stay at 12v then the mambo is great. Simply for how you can customize it via a usb cable. Everything from controlling the soft start and stop curves easily. But I know its pricey.
If you want to go with something a little cheaper I was going to suggest the syren 25a esc. I use the 50a on my 4x4 gaucho. But it looks like they are out of stock.
Cant go wrong with the mambo though, great tech support as well.

And for steering I hated the servo gearboxes. Hard to get right and keep running good. And if your going to see sand forget about the gearbox.
The firgelli actuators are awesome, cant go wrong. And you can bolt a bracket on easily, no welding is necessary. Firgelli even sells brackets for them. But you can easily get the hardware from any home improvement store.

Thats my $0.02 about those subjects, I am no expert but its juts my opinion.
But seriously think about if your going to invest the time and effort into doing this project, you want something to last and be reliable for your son.

Also I did a RC escalade and it was super easy. Lots of room in it for wiring and any other add ons you might want.
Let me know if I can be of any help, I am sure your son will love it!
By bdsearle
#76215
Jornum1, Thanks for the information. I guess I will go ahead and get the Mamba. If it is as reliable as everyone says it is, then I will have to agree that it is worth the price. I will look into the firgelli actuators and the bolt on brackets, that's perfect! If anyone else has used a bolt on bracket let me know or post a pic please.

I think we are going to stay at 12V for now and see how that goes. I like this little escalade, it does have alot of room. In fact, I have to move the seat forward so my son could reach the stearing wheel while he is strapped in. That is the other think I am working on now too. I have piced together a 4 point harness for him to wear. After my wife sews it up, I will post a pic incase any one else needs an idea for a harness.
User avatar
By Jornum1
#76320
The first link is the one I used. Worked out really nice. Know that if you want to customize the controller you will need one of these usb adapters too in order to hook it up to a laptop.

Its by no means necessary but you can customize a ton of things. Like what battery your using, when you want the low battery cut off to be, and best of all the acceleration and braking curves.

Also with the seat, maybe attaching a used child car seat that already as the harness already in it? I am sure you can find a expired one for free or just a few bucks from a garage sale. Just a idea.

One thing to remember when using the linear actuators. If you are going to use a separate 12v power supply for the steering and accessories(recommended), you have to disconnect the BEC coming from your RC receiver. Which is one of the 3 wires that come from it. One is a ground, one is a pulse signal, and the other is 5v which normally powers a servo. You can use this for the actuator, but you wont be taking advantage of all its power. You can put a full 12v to it. But you MUST disconnect the 5v input from the 3 wires going to the actuator controller. If you have both you will fry your receiver and your mambo(been there and done that, expensive mistake). Dont want you to do the same.
Let me know if you need any help with the wiring. Its pretty simple once you have a general understanding.

BTW here is a quick write up on my build. It was a quick one, so I did not take too many pics, but it might give you some ideas. 2 12v batts fit under the speakers nicely. But you might want to keep one up front to keep some weight under the front wheels.
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=4598
Last edited by Jornum1 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
By bdsearle
#76355
Jornum1, Thanks again for your help with this. The price was a little hard for me to swallow, but I took the dive. This is what I have on order now.

https://firgelliauto.com/
2 x Mounting Bracket for all FA-150 FA-240, FA-70 FA-35, and FA-PO model Actuators (MB1)
1 x 2" Stroke 150 lbs Force Linear Actuators with Potentiometer Feedback (FA-PO-150-12-2)

http://www.hobbypartz.com/
FlySky FS-GT3B Digital 3ch 2.4ghz TX & RX LCD Transmitter & Receiver
HobbyPartz LED Angel Eyes Flash Car Headlights (Red, Blue, White)

Amazon
Castle Creations Mamba Max Pro 1/10 Brushless ESC with SMARTSENSE
Castle Creations Castle Link USB Programming Adapter

I do plan on having a separate 12v power supply for the steering and accessories, like you recommended. Do you use the Linear Actuator Control board that works with the firgelli actuator?
http://store.firgelli.com/ProductDetail ... ctCode=LAC
I saw in the R/C Jeep Build Thread, he used one there...

I will take you up on the wiring assistance :-) Once I get everything in(that is on order) and laid out, I will draw it up for you to look at so I don’t fry anything (Thanks!). What kind if wire do you use? Do you use different gauges between different components?

I like the Escalade project you did! That defiantly helps me plan for where I am going to install everything. I think I might start looking around for a speaker box (or make one). That looks pretty cool. Nice work!
User avatar
By Jornum1
#76363
That looks good. Yes use the firgelli controller. It is easy to use, and will work well.
http://store.firgelli.com/product_p/lac.htm
I would suggest buying the case for it as well. I shorted one out by letting it touch metal on the back side. Another $50 down the drain.

The wiring depends on how much power you expect to put through it. At 12v stock wire size is fine. But if your going to go up to 18v I would do 10 or 12g wire from the controller to the motors. For the actuator it has a small amp draw so I would think 18 gauge wire would be fine.

Its really pretty simple to wire up, for the steering two wires for power, 5 for the actuator, and two from the RC(ground and pulse, no 5v BEC).
The controller automatically detects the input method and sets it up. Then you just adjust your end points with two dials right on the board.
By bdsearle
#76456
Great, Thanks! I ordered the LAC Board and case this morning. It looks like everything should be in around the middle, or end, or next week. Thanks again for your help with this project. I have a feeling these modifications could become addicting :D
User avatar
By Jornum1
#76488
oh yeah it does! Next thing you know you will be going crazy with lights and such :-)

I also have to order the LAC board as I fried mine as stated above. Be careful when bench testing is all I have to say! I had mine on my metal table with a sheet cardboard over the top. The cardboard slipped out and the board touched the table. Zap, fried the board.
User avatar
By Jornum1
#76633
Yeah live and learn, small electronics are not really my thing, but I dabble. I am more of a fab guy at heart.
Just take your time and you will be fine. Make sure to bench test everything first. It will eliminate trying to hunt down wires and such once its installed. Verify everything works before you put it in the vehicle. Wish I took my own advice sometimes ;-)
By bdsearle
#76950
I received the two new batteries and the charger I ordered. Got'em both charged up and ready to go. Over the weekend, I noticed the original PW battery had a small crack/leak in the bottom corner. Replaced it last night with one of the new ones, but had to notch out the battery compartment a little to make it fit.

We also finished the harness we have been working on. I will post some pictures later tonight in case anyone needs some ideas. If this harness wears out, I am going to use Jornum1's idea and use the straps/buckles from an old car seat.

I also received the ESC with USB adapter on Friday. Should receive the transmitter and receiver early this week. Once they arrive, I am going to start laying everything out so I can figure out where I am going to locate everything.
By bdsearle
#77001
I was also looking at using this type of connector for hooking up the components (ESC, LAC Board....) The description says they are rated up to 300v. Do you think these are safe to use?

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... =CT2032231
and
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... =CT2032231

Also, for accessories (LED's, radio or MP3 player...) would you suggest a terminal like this to hook them up to?

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... =CT2032231
User avatar
By Jornum1
#77103
Those connectors are fine, they are color coded for the size wire you are using.
I ended up buying a whole crap load of connectors from TNC scooters since I was already placing a order.
http://tncscooters.com/index.php?route= ... ry&path=69
I am sure you can find them cheaper, but it was more convenient just to get them from here. I use the 3 pin for my servo connections, and the 2 pin for my battery and motor connections. I like them better then single bullet connectors because it keeps your wires together and its less confusing.

And yes that is the same terminal strip I use. I like them a lot. I just split it in half and make one end + and the other -. Then you can easily add or remove wires for accessories.

Also dont forget to fuse everything right off the battery. a 30 or 40amp fuse for the esc side, and 10amp or so for the accessories.
By bdsearle
#77630
Well, I think I have everything on hand now... I am in the process of laying everything out for battery #1, which will power the ESC and the motors (in parallel). I was reading over the Mamba max manual and it says the orange wire supplies 5v to power the receiver.

Jornum1 wrote:One thing to remember when using the linear actuators. If you are going to use a separate 12v power supply for the steering and accessories(recommended), you have to disconnect the BEC coming from your RC receiver. Which is one of the 3 wires that come from it. One is a ground, one is a pulse signal, and the other is 5v which normally powers a servo. You can use this for the actuator, but you wont be taking advantage of all its power. You can put a full 12v to it. But you MUST disconnect the 5v input from the 3 wires going to the actuator controller. If you have both you will fry your receiver and your mambo(been there and done that, expensive mistake).


So if i understand you correctly, I can leave this orange 5v wire connected (mamba to receiver), but when I hook the actuator up to battery #2, I need to make sure the 5v wire between the LAC board and the receiver is disconnected... right?
By bdsearle
#77634
Houdeani01 wrote:For Servo Connectors and such you can look at your local RC Hobby store they will have all kinds of great connectrors to use.


Thanks Houdeani01,

We don't have a hobby shop very close to us (about an hour away), but we do have a Radioshack. I have to stop by there tomorrow. I will check to see if they have any servo connectors while I am there.
User avatar
By Jornum1
#77641
Yes,
Some are orange, some are red.
Leave all 3 wires between the esc and the receiver. Going from the receiver to the LAC board disconnect the orange or red wire. That is the +5v that usually would power a servo. The yellow is the pulse signal, and black is ground.

Do you have your LAC and actuator? I am curious how it works out. I am having trouble with my 35lb actuator. It keeps stalling out after a few seconds. While my steering components are heavier then most standard pw's it should nt have a issue turning the wheels on a concrete floor. I have been emailing back and forth with Firgelli's tech support trying to figure it out. I am hoping its not that the 35lb actuator is not strong enough for my chassis. That would scrap my power steering idea. Its not ideal either that when it stalls out you need to restart the LAC in order to get it to work again. From what Firgelli says, I shouldnt be stalling it out so hopefully my battery wasnt fully charged or something simple like that. I never had a issue with the 150lb actuator.

Let me know how it goes.
By bdsearle
#77650
Jornum1 wrote:Yes,
Some are orange, some are red.
Leave all 3 wires between the esc and the receiver. Going from the receiver to the LAC board disconnect the orange or red wire. That is the +5v that usually would power a servo. The yellow is the pulse signal, and black is ground.


Ok, that sounds good. Just wanted to make sure I was on the same page.

Jornum1 wrote:Do you have your LAC and actuator? I am curious how it works out. I am having trouble with my 35lb actuator. It keeps stalling out after a few seconds. While my steering components are heavier then most standard pw's it should nt have a issue turning the wheels on a concrete floor. I have been emailing back and forth with Firgelli's tech support trying to figure it out. I am hoping its not that the 35lb actuator is not strong enough for my chassis. That would scrap my power steering idea. Its not ideal either that when it stalls out you need to restart the LAC in order to get it to work again. From what Firgelli says, I shouldnt be stalling it out so hopefully my battery wasnt fully charged or something simple like that. I never had a issue with the 150lb actuator.

Let me know how it goes.


Now that you mention it... I don't have the LAC yet :( I just checked tracking on it and it should be here tomorrow. But I did get the actuator in today. I will keep you updated and let you know how it goes. I am hoping to get the ESC, motors, and battery #1 hooked up by tomorrow night. That will give me the weekend to get the actuator mounted, battery #2 and the LAC installed. Thanks!!!
By bdsearle
#77856
Today I was able to finish installing battery #1, ESC, motor wiring, and the receiver. It took a little while to get the Mamba calibrated... only because I had to figure out all the different settings on the transmitter (FlySky FS-GT3B). Took it out for a test run, and everything worked great! I had to install the dash board and seats so I could let my boy test it out. He absolutely loved it! R/C sure beats walking behind the PW, pushing the pedal with a walking cane, and reaching up front to steer! Tonight I am going to start laying out the wire and everything so I can see how this actuator is going to work.
By bdsearle
#78375
Quick question.... I do not have any servo connectors yet (to connect the LAC to the receiver) They didn't have any at Radioshack) :(

So if I were to use one battery, single power source for testing only, I can connect the servo connector from the Mamba Max to the LAC with all three wires... right?
mamba_LAC.png
mamba_LAC.png (233.39 KiB) Viewed 7551 times


And then connect the actuator to the LAC as shown below? I'd like to hook the actuator up like this for now to check the clearance between the actuator and the bracket i installed. Once I get the servo wires I am going to install battery #2 for the actuator and accessories.
actuator_LAC.jpg
actuator_LAC.jpg (61.48 KiB) Viewed 7551 times
By bdsearle
#78381
Another quick question :D
Is there a difference between servo connectors :? I have seen Futaba, JR style and a few others.... are these just brand names, or are they different "types" of servo connectors? It looks like I am going to have to get these online and I would like to get the wire with the connectors already installed.... at least on one end to plug into the receiver and the other ends can just connect to the screw terminals on the LAC.
User avatar
By Jornum1
#78420
I would think that should work. Only problem is how are you going to control the actuator if you do not have the receiver hooked up?
If I am understanding you correctly, you want to move the actuator around to get your mounting right? You can just touch the red and black to a battery. Even a regular 9v will work. The three pot wires are just for the boards reference. The red and back are the power. Use the red and black and the actuator will move. There are internal limit switches so no need to worry about going too far.

The futaba style have a little notch on the side to fit in specific receivers, the others are just straight. Its just so you dont plug it in backwards. Its not a big deal though, the notch can be shaved off with a razor knife very easily if you order the wrong ones by accident. Otherwise they are all the same and it does not matter.
By bdsearle
#79118
Ok, I have a lot of pictures to post.... but right now, I am trying to make sure I have this wired up right before applying power to the LAC :|
LAC_Wired.jpg

What do you think?
By bdsearle
#79288
Well, I have everything hooked up to the LAC.... and I can't get the actuator to move :( So I tried to hook it up to USB to see if I could move the actuator, and no-go.... I think I am going to have to call Firgelli tomorrow to see if I got a bad board.
User avatar
By Jornum1
#79292
Are there any lights on the board? If you have a valid input you should get a green light around where the motor power connectors are.
When hooking up the usb did you install the software and drivers?
User avatar
By Jornum1
#79334
I believe when I did it the drivers self installed.
If I remember correctly a green light means you have a valid input. I would try switching the white and the blue. Yellow is definitely the signal, cant hurt to try. Also make sure all the mini pots on the board are turned all the way clockwise.
By bdsearle
#79454
I will try switching the blue and yellow wire tonight. I tried turning the mini pots full clockwise and full counter clockwise too. I went ahead and sent an email to Firgelli tech support just in case. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks!
By bdsearle
#79615
:D Alright! We have movement! Switching the blue and white wires worked! Thanks :D

I'm going to see if I can make some adjustments now, and then see if I can get it mounted later tonight!
By bdsearle
#79719
Yeah, good call on switching the wires! I actually got an email from Firgelli telling me to do the same thing later that night.

Super stoked tonight! Got the actuator mounted and temporarily mounted the LAC so I could take it out for the first test run. Hooked everything up, even secured the LED's with some tape (since it's dark out), and took it out for a drive. It looks like I have to do some minor adjustments to the steering, but other than that everything is working. I'm going to route all my wires and then mount the LAC, Mamba, and receiver in their permanent positions tomorrow night. I promise to post pictures this weekend too. The actuator and LAC set me back a little, i will post more about that process too. My main goal is to get it back together so I can take my son for a ride this weekend. I will get a good video of his first ride with full R/C too. I couldn't have gotten this far, this fast, with out your help.... Thank you sooooo much! :D
By oosillyoo
#79949
You guys are awesome parents! A lot of us do this to make are kids happy but I don't think I've seen anybody on here give their child a better gift than you have given your son. If there are any other parents who have done something special like this for your child too you should proud of yourselves too.
By bdsearle
#79983
Internet is out tonight, so i am posting this from my phone. I wanted to get something on here tonight so you all could see how it went



I'll get more pics up tomorrow when the internet is back up.
By bdsearle
#80085
Starting to get all my pic's together... This is the harness we made for him.
harness.jpg


And the anchor I mounted
anchor.jpg


Some of you may get a kick out of the things I used to mount the actuator :)
mounting_bracket.jpg

mounting_bracket_2.jpg

arm_1.jpg

arm_2.jpg

arm_3.jpg

arm_3.5.jpg

arm_4.jpg

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