Pepsi Bottle RC Boat

My initial attempts at building an RC boat were a disaster. The first one I built used 433MHz RF modules that somehow worked properly only on land. The moment I placed the boat in the water, the electronics would go crazy (probably due to EM noise) and I had to dive in to save the boat. So I decided my next one would use 2.4GHz RF modules, and this post here is about my successful attempt 😀

I used a 2 liter Pepsi bottle as the boat hull. For the RF link, I used nRF24L01+ RF modules , and the friendly Arduino as the boats brains.

boat_rx_electronics

The boat uses two small DC motors to provide differential steering and propulsion. The propellers are made using plastic from SIM card packaging ( Tip: You can use heat from a hair dryer to shape the propellers). The motors are secured using a cable tie and hot glue. For water proofing, I used a silicone gasket maker along with hot glue to plug the holes.

motors

To control the boat, I built a joystick controlled transmitter unit using another nRF24L01+ module and my minimal Arduino.

boat_tx_electronics

Fritzing sketches and schematics of the transmitter and receiver units (click the images to zoom in):

TX_Sketch_bb

Transmitter Fritzing Sketch

transmitter_schematic

Transmitter Schematic

RX_Sketch_bb

Boat Receiver Fritzing Sketch

Boat Receiver Schematic

Boat Receiver Schematic

And finally, the Arduino code on github.

Additional Notes:

  • You might have to insert capacitors at the motors and nRF24L01+ module (see schematics) to prevent erratic behavior caused by EM noise.
  • I used a li-ion battery without protection circuitry for powering the motors. Using the protection circuitry caused the batteries to unexpectedly go in to low power.
  • The weight of my Li-ion batteries helped submerge the boat to a desired extent and provided a center of gravity (for stability).

 

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4 thoughts on “Pepsi Bottle RC Boat

    • Thanks yogesh 🙂 No I did not use bluetooth for this boat, I control the boat using another arduino that transmits values from a joystick potentiometer over the 2.4 Ghz RF module. So the setup requires two RF transceiver modules, one for transmitting commands and the other for receiving instructions.

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