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Jan 25, 2011, 05:31 AM
Registered User

DIY RC boat

I'm trying to build my own RC boat with homemade transmitter and receiver. This is due to the school project I take. I have always been into RC boats, but this showed as opportunity to build my first ever. The design (the actual boat) is not my first priority right now. I am trying to find schematics for receiver and transmitter. I have been checking a few sites now, but I have no real clue where to start. I've been checking this site for quite a while, but now I decided to take part in community. I would gladly take any advices about pretty much everything.

Thank you for you answers =)
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Jan 25, 2011, 07:40 AM
Registered User
TecDuck- I think in this instant, you are barking up the wrong tree. I realize that this is a school project but I would put the work in on the boat rather than the radio control system. To build a complete radio system would coat you far more than what a new system would cost you and would probeably not work half as good.

A two channel radio complete can be had for $45.00 or less.
Jan 25, 2011, 07:49 AM
Registered User
CornelP's Avatar
Or much less:
Jan 25, 2011, 08:24 AM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
and... using a non-FCC certified transmitter is illegal. Buy new, or rip one out of a cheap RC toy.
Jan 25, 2011, 10:20 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
I agree with Pat, making your own RC radio is fraught with legal peril :-).

Perhaps you could make an IR (infrared) tx (transmitter) and rx (receiver). Since they don't use radio waves, but light waves, perhaps they'd be free of FCC regulation. Or, you could make the rx for your boat, and use a commercial tx (many toys' remote control is IR, eg Airhog motorcycle, Venom min helicopter).

I don't know the schematics for such an IR set. Perhaps you could find some help over on the Radio or DIY Electronics forums.
Here are my Search theads for "infrared" on DIY Elect and Radios Forums:
a thread that may help:
Jan 25, 2011, 10:51 AM
Registered User
I see you gave me quite a few alternatives, but what am I going to show to them ? I'm supposed to show something I did on my own as for the electronics goes. He/they won't care as much about boat outside... When I told my teacher I'm into RC stuff, he would just say to do it then. I had no clue at that time that meant I'd had to do whole RC on my own with chips, elements and soldering. Right now I am way to late to change the topic onto something easier.

Anyways are there any other ways to do it ? I wouldn't care about double price as long as it would work to show them =)

Thanks for all the answers.
Jan 25, 2011, 11:14 AM
3 Blades to the Wind
Shaun Hendricks's Avatar
You can create a tone transmitter and reciever system and use the FRS bands to control it. This is perfectly legal. You just need FRS walkie talkies and a tone decoder. You can use a small keyboard as an encoder.

You can also go down the robotics road and transmit commands via several legal wireless frequencies. Data commands are allowed on these paths.

There are other creative ways as well, optical transmission is fully allowed.
Jan 25, 2011, 11:18 AM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
No problem, just redefine the project... you don't have to scratch-build your own resistors or chips, right? Why then do you have to scratch build the radio?

Hacking/repurposing is a noble and respected endevour! Gut an RC toy, hook it up to a new set of motors and make it go... you'll get your 'A'!
Jan 25, 2011, 12:37 PM
GILL RC's Avatar
When I was in 9 (1958) grade I build a model of the Lincoln Futura car. The body was balsa and bass wood I used a dumas motor and gears and the radio was a Citizenship 6 channel reed system. The chassis was plexiglass and during the demo it flexed enough too strip one of the gears. Still came in third at he science fair.
I say go for it. You can dazzle them with lights and sound.
Jan 25, 2011, 06:14 PM
Registered User
John- Kinda’ reminds me of what my brother use to say , “baffle them with bull sh_t, and dazzle them with foot work”. You know, like a used car salesman.
Jan 25, 2011, 07:53 PM
Registered User
Thinking back 20 something years, Maplin (a UK electronics supply chain) offered both a receiver and transmitter kit. The instructions required that the builder had a fairly comprehensively equipped workshop having oscilloscopes capable of better than average performance, and wavemeters, all calibrated to a laboratory standard, and that was with the standards applicable back then. That's probably one reason why they dropped the line. That, the chips no longer being available, and the advent of good quality, low priced ready made and certified equipment.
Modifying a butchered toy or figuring how to encode at the transmitter, decode and distribute at the receiver, and transmit over an ultrasonic or IR link could be the way to go. Still not a small job.
What kind of boat were you thinking, and what range to operate over?

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