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Make a custom and versatile Arduino wireless robot controller.

Controls various Arduino robot projects you may have

This guide will show you a way to make your own arduino friendly robot controller. you can control any arduino robot wirelessly with this controller. 

Parts List:

Materials:
1x A4 3mm Acrylic sheet. (3mm minimum. 2mm was flimsy!) 
22 m3 x10 screws 
22 m3 nuts
44 washers (optional)
hexagonal standoffs, your desired height. 

Tools:
Cordless drill or drill press
Scroll saw or dremel/rotary tool
Sander/ or file.
crimping tool (SN28B) 

Control:
 

LCD Screen 2.4" +
Xbee wireless controller
2X generic ps2 Joystics
4X toggle switches
10x 10k potentiometers 
1600mah 2 cell (7.4v battery) 

 

Part 1: Planning:
I wanted a controller that could be used on a variety of projects so i narrowed it down to the set up i have now. With this setup I can control:
1. A robotic arm
2. Robot chassis
3. Switches for switching things on and off.

I accidentally cracked my  screen when i put the lcd in my bag and it got crushed by my laptop. (My bad!) The lcd still works
I wanted to make a custom controller customed to the robots functions. I was inspired by the crew at Quantum Robotics with their Q2 and Q4 controllers.(see below)


I decided to make mine out of acrylic plastic and i used a 2.4 inch TFT LCD put 11 potentiometers for a future robotic arm (5 axis), leaving  spare ones for other functions. I also implemented 4 toggle switches for switching things on/off, emergency stop and to enable remote triggered datalogging to log data in areas that i want to gather data. I used 2 PS2  joystick controllers to control the robot and also the pan and tilt camera system for FPV or the recording camera i will implement later on.

Build Process: Part II

Started of with a sheet of acrylic A4 3mm. i decided for the controller to be about 140x 210 as it fit all of my intended fucntions.

 

Holes for joysticks. I used an 8mm drill bit and then finished off with a 25mm spade drill


All done!

Used a scroll-saw to cut the square for the screen.

Main controller all done.

The LCD Screen Part III.
I purchased this lcd screen on eBay and for $15, its very good for graphics, displaying bitmaps, visuals e.t.c but finding libraries for it was quite a challenge. The lcd driver is  called "SPFD5408" To find out how to get libraries for the lcd an getting it to work with arduino mega/uno, please watch this tutorial i made:

https://www.robotshop.com/letsmakerobots/how-use-24inch-tft-lcd-spfd5408-with-arduino-mega-2560

Part V: Wiring.

I cimped my own cables as pre-crimped cables were not the correct length. For those who are wondering, i used a cimping tool called the SN-28B crimper.

I highly recomment watching this video on how to crimp the cables.....very handy.

How to crimp Custom Cables

What you need to crimp custom cables:
-SN-28B Crimping tool.
-Male and Female crimp pins
-Cables (preferebly 24awg)
-Crimp Housings 

You have to buy the SN-28B for the 2.54mm arduino style dupont connectors or you won't get a good crimp. I bought mine on eBay but you can get youurs on Adafruit

SN-28B ADAFRUIT 


For this part, i highly recommend ribboned cable it will be a lot neater and easier to open/close for any troubleshooting.

I also recommend making a custom "5V power distribution board" since the MEGA only has three 5v ports. I made one (see below)

Wiring Complete:
Progress so far:
Any suggestions/pointers welcome! 
I am thinking of having a raspberry pi or similar and a larger touchscreen, to be able to program either of the arduinos on the robot itself or the arduino on the controller

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Thats a lot of input switches for any robot, great build.

What is the mode of communication? Is this going to be a wireless remote? I would suggest a RF communication for this high tech looking remote. 

Edit: I missed it,its wireless and using Xbee modules. pretty cool.

Im using xbee for communication. I will post source code for any interested people later on when my project is just about done!

Nice post! I really like this, will you be posting a schematic?

I think I'd like to make one. Keep up the great work :)

I'm Glad you like it. I'll try to make a schematic but basically its a whole bunch of potentiometers and switches connected to the Arduino Mega. I'll update it soon!