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Atticbot

 
Navigates around the attic via RC controller, transmitting video back to the controller.

I've had bats in my attic, or at least in the gable vents of my attic. I needed to inspect the situation, but I REALLY REALLY didn't want to physically go walking around the attic to inspect for bats. So, I built Atticbot, which technically is just an RC vehicle that I hoped would be able to traverse the rafters. I used $5 worth of yardsticks to construct some wheel-like things, mounted them to some cheap continuous-rotation servos, connected the servos to an RC receiver, and that was pretty much it for the mechanics.

For video I mounted a cheap gimbal/camera so that I could look around left/right/up/down, connected that to a cheap 5.8ghz transmitter. It worked, but not as well as I hoped. I think I need more battery juice to the servos. They tended to not want to turn. Nevertheless, it did drive across the attic, inspect the place the bats used to live, and found the place that they've moved to. I wound up having to retrieve it though, it was too low on juice to get back.

Sorry about the lack of audio on the video, my setup doesn't have a microphone.

The cost of the thing was around $25 for the yardsticks and servos, radio control could be done for as little as $40, but I've probably got $150 in my radio and receiver. Video could be had for around $100, but I've probably got around $150 in the monitor/transmitter/camera in this video. So, total, you could probably build it for around $200, and after you're done you'd have plenty of generic RC and video parts for another RC/Robot project.

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Interesting project!

I like the way you want to inspect the place: it's like a nuclear power plant concept: you can't/want to enter there, so you send a commanded robot to do the dirty job.

The simplicity of the robot is also an interesting point, instead of being a problem it's an advantage: it is light and can adapt to different surfaces, like guano ;-)

Contratulations and keep sharing!

Nice work, hoggernick!

Very simple and clean robot, and it's cool that you made it not just for prototyping and stuff, but to use it on a real situation. For me this is the coolest use of robotics. Congratulations! 

By the way I was working in a robot using whegs (a "wheel" design that look just like yours) but I had problems with my motors (they didn't have enough torque and I couldn't find another motor that attended my needs. Trust me man, it's really hard to find robot and hobby stuff here in Brazil). That continuous rotating servos set seems really powerful. Could you tell me some more information about the motors, like the model and where to find them? I think it may be the solution for my problem.

Thanks Calango - I apologize for not replying to your question earlier. The servos I used were about $15 servos from HobbyKing. They're not super powerful, but the yardstick was so lightweight that it didn't require super powerful motors. I think they were probably about like this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073F4TRSK/