BTTF Delorean using Arduino ??

Hi Everyone,

I’m very new to Arduino, having been just introduced to it by a friend.

I would like to build an R/C model of the back to the future car, including the hover feature. To do this very simply, I thought of adding a switch or lever, etc. that would manually turn the wheels the required 90 degrees.

My question is, can this be done using an Arduino board ? And if so, could you please advise as to which one would be best, as I’m still a bit confused as to how the different models differ.

Also, if anyone has any suggestions or comments as to this project, they would be more than welcome.

Thanking you,

Turning the wheels 90 degrees could probably done with servo(s), those can be driven by an arduino. Actually getting it of the ground will probably be close to impossible, Aerodynamics probably won't allow it.

The electronics probably aren't the most difficult part, with the right model RC-equipment you might not even need an arduino.

Being able to drive the car in normal mode and being able to turn the wheels 90 degrees will require a lot of mechanical ingenuity though.

Hi Simpson Jr,

Thank you for your reply. It is much appreciated.

As you suggested I will look at using servos for this project. When you said that they can be used together with an Arduino board, does it matter which board you use or doesn’t it matter ?

As for the “getting it off the ground” part, I am not too worried with it. My plan is to have fans running on the axles, just behind the wheels, so that when they turn 90 degrees, it should create enough force to lift it off the ground.

Although, you say that it can be done using R/C equipment instead ? Won’t that be more complicated to set up than using an Arduino ?

I will admit though that if I manage to get it airborne, the steering will be quite a bit harder to manage. I would like a better system than just put fans everywhere.

Thanks again,

Hi Aaron,

For a flying model I'd personally use the smallest board I could find in order to make it as light as possible. The number of pins probably isn't very important since a pro-mini already has 20 you can control/read. Something that could make it less desirable is the fact that it has an soldered SMD-chip. Those can be quite difficult to replace should... you blow up the micro controller for some reason. You also need a USB-breakout board to be able to program it. The controller on a larger board with DIP-chip like the Uno is easy to replace. You could buy also the Megaboard, advantage more memory (also has an SMD-chip though), but with efficient coding you probably have enough room on a smaller board.

Aerodynamics, Should you have/know someone with a cheap small helicopter, you could try to make a construction attached to it holding a flat piece of paper just above the propellor covering the area of the propellor.

If you try to fly it, you'll notice that there is airflow downwards, but the air will suck the paper and construction (resting on the heli) down. The helicopter more or less becomes heavier which makes it really hard to get enough lift to fly. The harder the rotors spin, the more it pulls the paper down. To get the most out of a propeller/rotor it must be able to move as much air as quickly as possible. Any big obstruction attached above/below will be a serious disadvantage to get it airborn. Since propellers mounted on wheels probably need to be quite small... they would need to spin super fast. With props between chassis and wheels, the air will probably only be able to travel sideways. You could ofcourse start building, but I would try to see first whether it is possible. Spending hours & hours of work building a car with difficult constructions, spending lots of money and not seeing it fly would be a real bummer.

RC-equipment. RC-equipment does have the possibility to drive servos/motors/relays directly. It almost works out of the box, you "hardly" have to programm it and it's already fitted with transmitter/radio. Using arduinos you'll have to buy a set of wireless communication-modules, write the programming to have 'm talk to each other and you may need a second arduino to control the one in your model. My idea of using RC-equipment was based on a non-flying model though.

Difficulty of a flying something with 4 props is indeed steering, should 1 of the props give too much/little lift it flips over, something that will be difficult/impossible to correct by hand while flying. That could be handled by a micro controller like the arduino and sensors needed though.

If you would like to fly something special that is in some way similar to your idea I would google "Quadracopter" a lot. It has no wheels, but who needs 'm when you can fly ;-) ? has for example an open source quadracopter using an arduino to keep it leveled etc. Costs for the parts do get quite high, but having looked at factory built ones briefly, it still seems a bargain.

My experience with flying objects comes from making/throwing and (with a bit of luck) catching boomerangs for 30+ years. I do know something about RC-controlled stuff, but what's best and where to get it best is not something I know much about.

Best wishes, Bart.

I don't know how big you model is going to be but this: is life-size, made of the sort of foam they make burger cartons out of, and filled with helium has barely enough lift to carry the batteries, motors and lights.