feasiblility of RC control panel using touch screen

hiya all,

I am new to this project design. but I learn quickly.

I am building a RC Crane and I am going to use a stepper motor to control the telescopic boom in the way the real crane does it. the mechanics of it is fine. I just need to figure out how to create the electronics.

I know what I want it to do but I am not sure how to achieve it or if it’s possible. I do a lot of 3d printing and am looking at using similar principles.

I have attached the design for one of the modes which is boom control created using inkscape. I also want to make a drive control and a stabiliser control mode. the principle input out put is based on normal Radio controlled transmitter where the above is integrated.

It will be a fully customised transmitter so dismantling and rejigging things is accepted.

Boom Control Mode:

The way the boom works on the real thing is each section is pushed out one at a time (see attached image). inside there is a single hydraulic ram that moves a hitching block that locks into a boom section, then releases the boom section from the next boom section via a locking pin. moves it up to a new position (there are 3 positions it can go to for each section) locks it into place and the hitching block unlocks from the section and retracts to the next boom section to lock into it and release it. this is then moved to the next position pushing up the previous boom section along with it etc…

so with the stepper motor I can program each boom section’s home position for pick up by the hitching block and I can also program each locking pin location so it knows where to go in order to re-lock the boom section into place.

the attached image shows three buttons for each boom section indication the three positions the section can extend to. I have also included read outs for each section and a total.

  1. Can I integrate a TFT touchscreen with adruino board into a modified RC transmitter, use a channel or more to control the boom over 2.4Ghz. and use a stepper motor and an adruino board programmed with the functions I need. I am sure that I can achieve feed back to represent the readouts.

  2. Can each move made by the stepper motor be remembered so when I press home it will know the last location of the boom section and go to it lock into it and bring it to the home position.

  3. Can it be set up so that if two or more sections are extended that if I press home on a boom section that is further out than the stepper motor can go to that is will home the the sections in revers order until it has home the requested boom section.
    Not do anything apart from reporting that it is an invalid command because it’s too far out.

  4. If the above is possible, what components would I need to achieve this. ignoring cables and connectors, but what boards would be able to carry out the processing of the script, what TFT screen would be ok and what would I need to run the TFT Screen as a touch screen to the suggested board.

I think I have conveyed the idea I want to achieve, but as with all things it makes sense in my head so if I have lost any one who is willing to help let me know what I need to explain further and I will be happy to do so.

Many thanks

Rebekah Anderson

Images from Original Post so we don’t have to download them. See this Simple Image Guide




IMHO the simplest way to implement wireless control would using a pair of nRF24L01+ modules. They are cheap and effective and give you complete control over the data you send and/or receive. They will be a great deal more flexible than a regular R/C system such as is used for model flying.

If you can create a mechanical system then all you mention should be feasible with an Arduino. My only doubt (because I have no personal experience) is with the touch screen system. I believe it should be possible.

You could also consider a Raspberry Pi for the hand controller and an Arduino for the on-crane controller.

Simple nRF24L01+ Tutorial
Planning and Implementing a Program

Welcome to the forum.

Please read the first post in any forum entitled how to use this forum.

Can you please tell us your electronics, programming, Arduino, hardware experience?

What scale is your crane, is it a mobile type?

How do you aim to mechanically extend the booms, this will make your choice of electric drive and position or limit switches.

When you telescope the boom sections back in you will be best to have a HOME limit switch to make sure that the booms are HOME and as a reference when you begin to extend.

Tom... :slight_smile:


Thank you for your responses.

Thank you I will look into using the wireless module. I was thinking of it but kinda was looking at a short cut. So what I will do is use the control sticks (buy them as parts) and integrate them. As for the raspberry Pi yes I have considered it. I am making a list of parts and options and either accepting the part as usable or discounting them for either incompatibility or not suitable.

Thank you for the link. I will employ as much as possible.

My hands on experience is limited in relation to the questions I have. My programming is only what scripts I’ve read but never written any. Arduino is also limited to what my first 3d printer had, so I know what it looks like and I’ve checked out quite a few YouTube video of people connecting up a board with stepper driver along with some of the script. Hardware I have plenty, I’ve been 3d printing for 4 years now, running 2 Ultimakers (2+ and 3) I do metal work, moulding parts and some machining. I have built a variety of 1/14 scale trucks from scratch using the above. I do all my own 3d design on autodesk inventor and the sheet metal design which is sent off to laser cutters.
I’ve done replacement parts for friends such as electric scooters, ford cortina trims, cogg for electric window.... all sorts.

The crane is a LTM 1100 5.2 which is a mobile crane and will be in 1/14 scale. I’ve designed the boom profile so I know the space I have available.

The extending drive will be a stepper motor using a ball raced leadscrew. The limit switch is something I was looking into but wasn’t 100% but I’d need one for each moving boom section. I’m pretty sure there’s the push button style but the lever type might fit in.

I’ve been trying to find something online that demonstrates how to set up a TFT touch screen with function buttons that control a mechanical function but not found any yet. Found input through the screen but they control functions that show on the screen.

Really appreciate the input.
I’m pretty sure that someone will mention to do something simple first but I have no project nor the funds to do so. In addition I learn quick and can build upon the knowledge.
My real job is programming Apache (not the sort of programming useful for this though)

Many thanks hope to hear more.


Can I suggest start by just getting your steppers, drivers, powersupply working before thinking about remote control and TFT screens.

You could make a very simple switch panel to get your Arduino and steppers working.

What you learn doing those first steps will help you later.

The aim with programming is to do things in stages, getting each stage to work before attempting the next.
It sounds laborious but it will help you learn and minimize your bugs.

Fine on the stepper and thread screw, there are many different actuation types of micro switches, from button to all sorts of lever combinations to use as home indicators.

As @Robin2 has suggested, when you get to the RC bit, don't try and mod a RC controller, there are some very good Tx/Rx units that interface with the Arduino controller, eg nRF24L01.

Tom... :slight_smile:

that’s great. thank you TomGeorge.

I will take your advice and move forward.

could you recommend a board that would fill my needs as per above. I was thinking the mega. not sure if it has enough to do the job as bigger doesn’t always mean it has everything I need.

I have designed a portion of what I am aiming for and I have printed prototype as proof of concept and it works but I still need to make a few changes to improve it.