Remote Control

Friday, August 12th, 2011

We have been hard at work on our latest project called Mechatron. To control our Mechatron robot as well as our Mars Rover, we designed and built our own remote control box. We developed our own communication protocol for transmitting commands from the remote control to the robot. On other projects we used iPhones and Playstation remote controllers, but in this case we wanted to build a large, metal box with lots of retro-switches and joysticks.

Remote Control Box for our Mechatron Robot

Inside wiring for the Mechatron Remote Control


Technical Details

  • Microcontroller: Arduino Mega 2560
  • Remote Control Software: ¬†Beatty Robotics
  • Design and Construction: Beatty Robotics
  • Box: Aluminum sheet and metal screws
  • Radio: ¬†xBee Radio module
  • Joysticks: Digikey x-y-z-axis, hall-effect, 1 button joysticks
  • Rotary LED Encoder Ring: Mayhew Labs
  • Battery: 12v LIPO
1. Although it wasn’t cheap, the hall-effect 3-axis joystick was critical for controlling the function of Mechatron’s specialized drive system. We originally tried a traditional analog/resistive/potentiometer-style joystick and it did not work well at all. We thought our whole project was going to fail until we realized that not all joysticks are created equal. The joystick based on the “hall-effect” principle worked perfectly for us.
2. You can’t see it in these photos, but this controller can be charged via banana jacks and re-programmed via a USB jack without having to unscrew and remove the case. The same is true for the Mechatron robot itself.

Comments (11)

  1. Swany
    September 8th, 2011

    Nice toggle switches. Who makes them?

  2. Camille Beatty
    September 8th, 2011

    Swany: Those are illuminated 12v automotive toggle switches from Radio Shack.

  3. KasunMalinda
    February 8th, 2012

    Thats a nice looking Remote Controller ..!!!

    Can hall effect joystick use directly with Arduino Mega ? (with out any current amplification)

  4. Camille Beatty
    February 8th, 2012

    Thank you. It was fun to build and it’s fun to use. Yes, the hall effect joystick is wire directly to the Arduino without any current amplification.

  5. KasunMalinda
    February 9th, 2012


  6. Kasun
    April 18th, 2012

    Did you get the casing off the shelf or build it yourself ?

  7. Camille Beatty
    April 18th, 2012

    The aluminum sheeting (called omni chassis) comes from this website:

  8. Kasun
    April 18th, 2012

    Awesome thanks.

  9. Balazs Regele
    July 31st, 2016


    I make a same project like you, but my rotary encoder doesn’t work with my mega. (It worked perfectly with my Uno). Do you have any idea why?


  10. Camille
    August 1st, 2016

    Balazs: Check to make sure you’re using the right pins and that your code matches the pins you’re using. Also, understand that not all the pins on a Mega and Uno are the same (the mega might use different interrupts, etc.). But generally you’re right. It should work using the same pins.

  11. Virtual server
    December 20th, 2016

    Thanks so much for showing us your Mars Rover and other awesome robots, Camille and Genevieve! Keep up the awesome work, and good luck with the exhibit!

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