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.
- 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.
Nice toggle switches. Who makes them?
Swany: Those are illuminated 12v automotive toggle switches from Radio Shack.
Thats a nice looking Remote Controller ..!!!
Can hall effect joystick use directly with Arduino Mega ? (with out any current amplification)
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.
Did you get the casing off the shelf or build it yourself ?
The aluminum sheeting (called omni chassis) comes from this website: http://www.lmbheeger.com.
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?
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.
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!