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Can anyone help me build a RC tracked vehicle?

I want to build a RC tracked vehicle but i'm a complete novice and have no idea what i'm doing. i'm looking to build one with decent speed for exciting off road use. i can buy a chassis with tracks and motors. i think i need a control board of some sort for the motors, a wifi/radio transmitter, batteries, an arial and a control pad. do i need anothing else? and can anyone point me in the direction of those parts?

eventually i'd like to mount a go pro on it and then be able to use it by using a screen to see from it's perspective. maybe add a modular section to have either an arm, nerf gun or other perhiperal.


January 2, 2019 08:25

Hi, no worries. It seems you have a vivid idea of what you want so I think it's now a matter of choosing which platform works best for you and for us to help you piece the system together. Like you say, you don't need a lot of complicated parts (speed controllers are for AC motors) but you need to make sure all the respective parts interface nicely with each other when you wire them together. The other chassis you stated apparently uses 12v brushed DC gear-motors, which sounds great for what you are looking to do. However, the majority of existing of-the-shelf RC toys either use 4 x 1.5v AA (6v) or 9.6v NiMH rechargable batteries which would make it very cheap to scavenge a whole working control system (including the controller) and should be easy to rewire it for your chosen chassis. It does get more complicated at higher voltages as you need to start hacking the boards to supply the required power, or to make your own. There is also the option of powering the motors with a lower voltage control board, but the motors will run slower. You should definitely share that youtube video so I can see what you would like to do.

You can buy dedicated RC control system components from stores such as HobbyKing rather painlessly as most components conform to a standard of some sort. There are small details that you need to be aware of, such as correct power supplies and using compatible transmitter/receiver technology for everything to work correctly.

I'm also a big fan of rally games, I have all the WRC titles back on PS2 and I am looking at getting into DIRT on PC. I also have a PC 360 controller and while it is possible to link it to a control board you would need to develop the hardware and a software driver to map the controls to different functions on your RC vehicle, this is probably where an Arduino board would come in.

Let me know what you think.

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December 28, 2018 07:34

sorry for the long silence, just Christmas and that.

I found the one I was thinking of or something similar. it's the Taiyo FAST TRAXX.

it doesn't look as beefy as I remember. anyway it seems fast and exciting. I would prefer some form of compression suspension like that aluminium chassis I shared earlier. metal is a must because I have a habit of not knowing my own strength!

I am currently playing dirt 4 on my pc and it's encouraging me to build this vehicle with a camera up and just behind, so I can almost be playing dirt in real life!

the tracks are a focal point because there's a lot of stones and other obstacles that could get in my way. also because it's a more complicated build and it's macho edge I feel it gives more bragging rights when I've built it!

i'm going to have a wait a few weeks before I start because i'm just building a new mountain bike but I want to have it all running perfectly before the spring, so I've got to get started soon.

here's the other chassis I am interested in. this one is lower, so give a more sleek and faster look.

correct me if i'm wrong; i'll need chassis, motors, transmitter, receiver (controller) and batteries. I just watched a youtube video and it was that simple, one board, wire the motors and battery to it and you're done. for some reason I was thinking there was going to be separate speed controllers and other random boards, like Arduino and things I don't know about! if it's that simple I could buy all the bits now! just need to know what board to use, it would be great if I could use my pc 360 controller, plus it would save me buying another one!

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December 14, 2018 08:54

I can't find any pictures on Google for "the Raptor" you remember but I do know that tracked vehicles are usually not designed for speed, more for traction and terrain handling. That's not to say it isn't possible to build, just that it might be hard to find an "off the shelf" model designed for speed. The chassis on the Amazon link looks like an excellent base for what you want to build, for a carry around platform it looks like it would fit nicely into a backpack. It's aluminium as well, so any maximum load ratings are probably more for the sake of the tension springs which you could replace easily; even so 3kg is a pretty decent weight limit. It uses two 9v DC motors with a magnetic resolver for speed sensing. This will be very accommodating when creating a control system for your tracked RC project, with plenty of room for any hardware and a camera. I might buy one myself actually! Running the whole system on 9v batteries and motors might be quite unspectacular, although the battery-holder that is supplied with the kit suggests the manufacturers might have tested the speed using a 3v supply? My initial impulse would be to test if the platform goes any faster using a 9v battery, otherwise I would be looking to replace the motors with more powerful 12v DC gear-motors instead and a small 12v lead-acid/ 11.1v Li-Po battery for vastly improved power capacity. (mount them lower down for better stability when doing jumps). You should then be able to buy DC motor drivers (H-bridge circuits) and a simple multichannel transmitter/receiver pair online for peanuts. Just to throw out another idea as well... does it need to be a tracked vehicle at all, as they are generally slow and complicated? You may be able to achieve a better result with a skid-steering wheeled vehicle. One of my robotics projects uses this concept if it is of any interest: Otherwise, it will probably be worth playing with some initial ideas and seeing what best meets your requirements, if you document your thought processes and developments on DesignSpark there will be plenty of people to comment and point you in the right direction. :)

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December 13, 2018 13:15

if you remember the 90s, there was a rc tracked vehicle called 'the raptor' (I think that's what it was called). I was thinking of something like that. I have looked in rc shops but the only tracked vehicles they do these days are tanks, which are made to scale speeds, so minimal and completely boring!

in my searching I have found a product similar to what I want to build. unfortunately it is a lego technics set![*Adgroup*]-_-[*searchterm*]_[*KeywordID*]_[*AdID*]&utm_campaign=Generic_[*Campaign*]&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=bing&utm_term=[*searchterm*]

I am lacking in any specialist tools. I am a mountain bike mechanic, so have all bike tools and i'm willing to buy other tools. although buying maching tools like laser cutters and a lathe are too expensive for the minimal use i'll get from them. because of this I have been looking to find a set of premade tracks. this will help me avoid amassing a collection of one use tools. now a lot of tracked chassis have all the 'wheels' fixed rigid to the frame, this has a slow speed feel to it and no compression suspension. I have found a chassis that comes with a form of suspension and motors but when I asked the speed it goes they said 20 meters a minute! that's .333 m/s, which is 0.75mps! I walk at least 6mps! I thought about putting higher rate motors to improve the speed.

currently I have a gopro type camera on my mountain biking helmet. it's a sjcam sj5000x. this has built in wifi and I can use my phone to see in real time what is visible from the camera. I could use that for the vehicle, so the video transmission would be completely separate from the control system.

so that's what I've done so far. i'm more than up for documenting the entire build. it will help me too as if I post evidence of me doing something wrong people can point it out and help me build it correctly.

now my requirements it has to have enough speed that it's exciting (and maybe possible to do jumps?) but that's part of the reason I definitely need suspension in the track system. 50mps would be 22m/s, I feel in my minds eye that could be about right, although I really should go find someone with an rc car that does that speed, so I can see how fast it is! 30mps might be acceptable at 13m/s. anything less than 20 would be pointless. size wise 1m2 seems a bit big but I would like to be able to mount things on it for fun after I've got it's rc vehicle status working properly. i'd say 0.6-0.8m2 is the butter zone. not to big to be cumbersome to carry around (I don't drive) but still big enough to mount things on it. i'm not sure what you mean by range, I assume you mean about battery life for it. i'd like a couple of hours minimum for each charge and the ability to swap batteries because I don't mind carrying more in a bag. the thing about the motors i'll have to find out when I find a chassis. I didn't know motors could be incompatible, I thought they're just an rotating shaft. a lot of the chassis I've looked at already have only had the load capacity of 3kg, which is completely pointless! the internal components will take that up (especially the battery!). the control boards bit I have no idea about, i'm sure you or someone can help me with that when I get to it. the camera bit I said about earlier. the nerf cannon bit I can worry about later but I was thinking that left and right can be controlled by turning the whole vehicle, so the gun would only need up and down to aim, plus a button to fire.

thanks for your interest, have a look at the two links I shared up there and say what you think.

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December 13, 2018 13:14

I love tracked vehicles, it would be great to see a documentation of your progress on DesignSpark. Ultimately, it depends on what you are trying to do, if you want to build the control system circuitry yourself you may need to flesh-out your requirements a bit more so we can help develop a design e.g. size, speed, range etc. Alternatively, for general RC parts I would point you in the direction of the HobbyKing online store, they will have most of what you probably need. A lot of RC systems nowadays use high power AC motors which are optimised for speed and you can usually buy the electronic speed controller (ESC) with it as well, which plugs directly into a standard 2.4GHz RC receiver. However, tracked vehicles usually have heavier requirements for starting torque, so it might be worth considering brushed/brushless DC gearmotors instead (check what your chassis uses to see what you need). For some additional customisation I would also suggest having a look at the Ardupilot control boards which are based on the Arduino environment and have become quite powerful in a number of RC/robot applications. For an FPV (first person view) camera, there are a lot of "off the shelf" telemetry and antenna options available to buy from specialist RC shops, and for a headset, the "Fatshark" brand VR goggles are pretty ubiquitous in this market. RC components are pretty standardised (which is both good and bad) so it should not be hard to buy and add additional servos to your chosen receiver to control a custom peripheral such as a Nerf cannon, just make sure you have enough channels on your transmitter and receiver! Hope this helps.

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