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Old Jun 25, 2014, 12:53 AM
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Robo Viking Ship

Hello all,

A while back I had purchased a Viking ship that is actually a robot kit that paddles it's oars to move the ship in the water. It is solar powered so I thought it would be cool to build the thing. I was right and totally enjoyed the build! Unfortunately I would love to set the ship to sail in our man made lake at the park but i know it would be lost forever if i do. My 10 year old son said wouldn't it be cool if it was radio controlled and it can come back. Well, I thought that was crazy because only in my wildest dreams would i be able to convert a toy like this into a RC. So I kept wondering about it and was shocked to see even paper airplanes being converted to RC with micro servos! I used to have a few RC cars back in the day and have never built a RC from a toy and was wondering if it really could be possible. I wanted to reach out to the RC community to see if I could be pointed in the right direction to see if this little boat can be converted. Any suggestions will be appreciated. The boat is an OWI kit called "Valiant Viking Ship" Thanks in advance for any help.

Also, here are the specs that I could find on the ship:

Specifications:

Solar Panel Output : 1.1V x 50mA

Assembled Size : 170mm x 200mm x 105mm

Unit Weight : 5.5 oz

Solar Cell Life : 2 yrs in normal use

Motor : DC

Power Consumption : 1.2V x 10mA

Tool needed : diagonal cutter; screwdriver
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Old Jun 25, 2014, 02:27 AM
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It would need a good pool test to see if you can get enough way for a rudder to work.
That would be all you really need if you just wanted to turn it loose and steer the model.

An esc or switches could be added to make the model row forward and reverse.
However, there may not be much steerage in reverse.
Ideally you would want to split the oars, and be able to row left and right sides.
That would require a second motor and speed control.
Splitting the rowing action would allow the boat to steer using the oars by rowing
on either side, or by rowing one side foward and the other in reverse.

The easiest modification would be to add a rudder and steer by RC.

RC Viking Ship @ Bellevue Regatta (1 min 23 sec)


This one, in Europe, is gorgeous.
battleship rc Galley RC Modellbau (1 min 15 sec)


RC Viking Ship @ Toronto Hobby Show 11B4 (5 min 10 sec)


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Old Jun 25, 2014, 02:56 AM
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Nice idea but I think 170mm is just too small to run anywhere except a swimming pool.

How about buying 2 or 3 of them and then combine the oars and motors together in a bigger model like this Revell 1:50 scale viking ship?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Revell-1-50-.../dp/B000N2F5G4

It's about 385mm long so room to fit a rudder etc.

Have a read through the threads in the Micro and Sub-Micro Boats forum to find out what micro electronics can be had these days.
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Old Jun 25, 2014, 11:14 PM
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Hi Umi and Ben,

Thanks for the reply.

Umi, those huge boats are great! I think it my modest boat might be capable of steering and rowing forward by RC, at least in theory. Your ideas are great but I am no expert so I will settle for just getting it to steer and row forwards and possibly backwards by RC.

Ben, your idea about the two motors and modifying that boat sounds great also. But that would take more skill set than what I have since I am new to RC. All I can do is find some components and put it on the ship and pray that it works and who knows maybe learn how to build RC boats in the process. I think your thought about checking out the micro electronics is a great place to start.

Would you guys have any recommendations as to how to get a rudder on the boat? putting a hole on the hull may not work because there is a ridge that runs along the bottom part of the boat.

Thanks,
Hal
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Old Jun 25, 2014, 11:55 PM
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Perhaps cut a block of wood and drill a hole, maybe 5/32"(4mm OD?) diameter through the block.
then shape the block to fit over the keel, and contoured to fit the stern.

You could also laminate several pieces of wood to sit on top of, and hang down either side of the ridge.
The drill vertically through the block.

Cement that block into place using CA glue, or epoxy.
Then use the hole in the block to guide your drill through the hull.
A 5/32"(3mm ID) tube can then be cut to size and inserted into the hole and through the hull.
The top should be slightly higher than the waterline of your little boat.
That will prevent water from coming up through the tube and into the boat.
You can then use an 1/8"(3mm) brass rod as your rudder post.
It will slide through the tube, and you can cut it to size and create a rudder.

You will need at least a 1/4"(6mm) above the tube so you can attach a control arm.
The control arm can be linked back to your steering servo.
The rudder should hang down even with the bottom of the keel of the boat.

You can shape the rudder using brass plate and solder it to the rudder shaft.
Or file some notches in the shaft, and laminate wood over the shaft to create your rudder.

Barring all that work, you can purchase a rudder set up here.
http://www.mackproductsrc.com/rudders.htm
I think you would need some 3/16"(4.76mm) ID tubing to mount one of these.

If you are in the UK, browse Cornwall Model Boats, they are very good with shipping.
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Old Jun 26, 2014, 03:19 PM
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I feel that the rudder described would probably sink the boat. Better to think in terms of the size of plastic tubing that you find in a Q-tip (or cotton bud) and matching wire for shaft/linkage.
Why have a hole in the boat for a modern conventional rudder? The real things didn't have a rudder, they had a strong lad standing at the back end holding a steering oar over the side, a micro servo should be capable of doing the same job. Just enlarge the steering oar blade with some clear styrene sheet.
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Old Jun 27, 2014, 02:00 AM
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Wow, Umi, if this was a rocket I can call you a rocket scientist! Very impressive. I was hoping to not have to put a hole in the hull though. Partly because I did not want to damage the boat to where I can't repair it and also because it is one piece which makes it nice and leak proof. I was thinking of saving that plan for when I can't find any other feasible way to do the rudder. mfr02, i was wondering about using an oar as the old viking ships did and like what you suggested. but they only used one on the right side which makes it seem like it did not turn very well on the other (sorry don't know any sailing terms yet like the parts of the boat). I think the company that sells these boats will sell me some oars if I ask for them and I can use those as steering oars. I was thinking maybe two? one on each side so that it has better control on both sides. Not sure if that is a good idea, please let me know. Also I have been researching to see how these oars would work for steering and I can't figure it out. I mean do they have to be turned just like rudders at 45 degree angles to affect a turn or do they just need to be pushed away from the hull or pulled close to the hull to make a left or right turn? not really sure. Also is the servo the best way to go or will a coil and magnet work just as well? I saw it on you tube for a plane rudder.
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Old Jun 27, 2014, 03:17 AM
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The blade got trailled and leaned on one side or the other to give steering both ways. While it was effectively on one side, it was also very near the curved stern, thus not far off the center line. Anything over 35 degrees on most boats is braking rather than steering, so not a real worry. The main steering when the lads were rowing was done by the oarsmen doing differential power, the man working the steerboard was more of a trim tab when under sail. Best to regard the boat as a paddle boat with reciprocating, rather than rotary, paddles. When the paddles of both sides are permanently linked, they do need a rudder with a large surface area to be effective, hence the suggestion of extending the area. A coffee stirrer might be a good start.
No reason to hide the servo - the rest of the crew are robots, why not the steersman? He will be the only Viking on board with a proper reason for horns on his helmet. A coil and magnet might be too thirsty on current for comfort unless it was done like a polarised relay, but that only gives two positions. Pulse for one way, opposite pulse for the other, nothing between. The pulse would need to be powerful enough to move the area of the blade through the water, maybe a big ask.
Rather than mess with the drive, it might be an idea to just control the steering. That's how I did my first RC boat, back when the budget didn't run to a speed control.
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Old Jun 27, 2014, 01:38 PM
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It's not rocket science, many of us make this up as we go...

To be simple, again, you could just mount ths servo over the side, and angle it back.
The rudder could be stuck into the center of servo shaft. I would give you more than
enough rudder, and the battery and reciever could be used to balance the boat.

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Old Jun 28, 2014, 12:06 PM
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Hi mfr02 and Umi,

Nice info you guys! I am going to do this. Yes I think starting with the steering will be great. Let me see if I understand this right. I can order an extra oar or two and use it as a steering board and all I have to do is trail it along the side of the boat near the back and that moving the steering board towards and away from the boat will put the oar at 30 to 35 degree angles which will be sufficient in steering it. I have to go with that because the robot oarsman are linked and I can't get them to paddle separately so this will have to be the main steering for my boat and not just a trim. I will purchase the paddles and see where they can be mounted and test it out and see how it steers. Hooking it up on the servo will be the next thing once the proper steering mechanism is determined. Thanks guys, I will post when the oars come and when I test it.
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Old Jun 28, 2014, 01:23 PM
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You only really need to twist the paddle like any other rudder.
Then you would only need one servo and paddle.

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Old Jun 29, 2014, 05:39 AM
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Here's a few Viking rudders:

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Old Jun 29, 2014, 09:24 PM
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Hi Harquebus,

Thanks, I was just wondering how I was going to hand that rudder over the side, now I have an idea.
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Old Jun 30, 2014, 04:33 PM
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In one of the first model boat magazines that I bought there was a free plan for a sculling dinghy. Power and steering were both achieved by the action of a single oar held over the stern by the "crew". He was an "action man" repainted and cut in half, with the lower half hiding a servo and the upper half fixed to the servo horn. To drive, you waggled your right thumb, to steer, you stopped waggling when you thought that having the oar pointed that way would do the job. I never built one, but have used the technique to get becalmed yachts back in.
Since it is a technology demonstrator rather than a scale model, I don't think you need be too inhibited about appearance, other than what good sense tells you will work.
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Old Jul 06, 2014, 01:06 AM
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Hi mfr02,

I think I understand what you are saying. I am concerned with how the finished boat will look. I bought it because of the fact that it was a viking ship after all. Had it been another robotic boat I may have thought twice about it. I don't know how much of it's current appearance can be saved but I would like to try to do that if possible. I know that functionality is more important at this juncture to get the boat steering but I am a stickler for elegance and art, just some of the things that I strive for in all that I do. Right now it seems that purchasing the oars will be out of the question as the company selling it informed me that the oars will be 5.00 dollars each and each holder for the oar is 50 cents and with a shipping cost of about 20 dollars it would be cheaper to buy another ship to use for spare parts. I may go that route, just waiting for payday. In all honesty, the idea is there in regards to the oar steering the ship but mounting it to the hull itself and how to get a servo to move it will be the real pain. By the way, talking about a robot crew and steers man you might find this interesting: The term cybernetics stems from κυβερνήτης (kybernētēs) a Greek word that means "steersman, governor, pilot, or rudder" (the same root as government).
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Last edited by Hal Sy; Jul 07, 2014 at 01:42 AM.
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