IR Battle Tanks

I would like to start a forum on controlling tanks via rf and arduino/atmegas.

I have had some success reusing the receiver boards on toy state industrial tanks and using the nrf24l01 module for receiving RF.

Yesterday I was able to read a psx analog controller which I think would make a better transmitter interface than my previous namco pacman joystick transmitter.

Currently I am able to read and reproduce IR pulses from Forces of Valor, Huan Qi, Danbar, and Airbender devices.

I have also created some pcbs that can reproduce for $1.40 each (must be purchased in packs of 10).

I would like to create a smaller version that will fit in a megatech megatanx.

I would like to open this forum to talk about useful things we learn as well as possibly defining standards that could allow multiple teams to compete. I believe the nrf24l01 is a good choice for rf as it is a low cost, decent range, and supposedly has 100 software selectable channels (I have only used 1 so far).


atmegaDuo.brd (34.9 KB)

I combined the PSX Analog controller with an nrf24l01 transmitter to control a tank. I uploaded a youtube video:

Wow, that looks really nice ! It's a shame that the controls don't seem to be proportional...


I hacked the receiver board for toy state industrial tanks: State Industrial Tank,megabotz:, megatank: Mega Tank, and heng long 1/30 Sherman: Long 1/30 Sherman.

The idea is to reuse the receiver board so that you don't have to buy an h-bridge. Also reusing the power supply makes the finished product a little cleaner. Next I want to reuse the receiver boards from battle bots and Heng Long, scale 1/16 tanks

I hacked a usb missile launcher. Here is a youtube video:

This is really good stuff! I'm pretty new to this, but my plans are making as many Arduino controlled RC toys as I can. I already have found a few of these things on your page at the local Savers. Awesome.

I hacked the Heng Long Scale 1/16 Tank receiver board.

Here is a link to the information Long 1/16 Tank


Confirmed that the Heng Long receiver board will respond to arduino 5V signals

Good stuff, keep it up.

Confirmed that the Heng Long Scale 1/24 (Type 90?) has same receiver board and pinout as the above scale 1/16

hi Paulware, Long 1/16 Tank is really a good stuffs link. tkx sharing.

Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them.
I hacked the IR pulse on the BattleMachines helicopter. They are very stable and I highly recommend them. You can get them at Target or Toys R Us for about $50.00 (with air-ground unit and 2 controllers).
I integrated this air component into the existing ground (tanks) plus added a repair (Rumble) robot.

Here is a short video:

Back in September Dan mentioned it would be better if the tank movement was more realistic/proportional. I agreed but was limited by the number of pwm outputs on the atmega168/atmega328. I use up 1 PWM output on my IR transmitter (D3) and more are tied up with the SPI output to my RF component (D8…D13). That only left me D5, and D6 but I needed 4 PWM outputs for Left/Right Forward/Reverse.

To solve this, I placed an additional slave atmega168 on my pcb. The master communicates with the slave via IIC. The slaves sole purpose is to control Left/Right Forward/Reverse. Here is a sample video:

Thanks for your comments
Paul (1.2 KB) (59.6 KB) (14 KB) (32.4 KB)

Spy gear has a tank that also has a camera on it. I believe that the feed that goes from the controller to the eyeglass can also be sent to the RCA input of a television. I need to confirm this.

I was able to find the pins that controls the tanks movement:

Created a video showing the tank created in the previous post. I also created some IR towers that use an ultrasonic range finder to detect enemy vehicles.

That's awesome stuff. Is there a way for the towers to identify friend-or-foe or do they target any nearby target ?

That's a good point. Currently the ultrasonic sensor only detects distance rather than type, a tank could be killed by friendly fire.

IR pulses are unique and could be rejected, if the tank detected a "friendly" IR shot.

For example HuanQi pulses are different from Forces of Valor pulses which are different from Battle Machine pulses.

Currently my "hacked" tanks output all the pulses and accept all the pulses as hits.

I was thinking that I might add RF receiver to the tower to turn them "off" when I wanted to pass.

Alternately I could add an IR receiver to them and use an IR remote to turn them on/off. This is probably the cheapest method.

What do you think?

I presume these turrets are not going to be immortal in the final design? If so, another option (not as straightforward perhaps?) is to have your turrets use their iR sensor that's used for recording hits to decode an iR beacon LED on each tank which broadcasts a friend/foe or team iD?

To add an element of strategy, I used the repair robots to enable/disable the tower. Previously the repair pulse only fixed vehicles, but now the tower will respond to a repair pulse by stopping its scan and firing.

Another possible future option would be for a repair robot to repair a disabled enemy unit and "claim" it for the friendly side.

Note: I hacked up this rumble robot pretty bad. The problem ended up being old AA batteries. It needed fresh ones. The way their motors are geared, they don't behave well with marginal batteries. I ended up adding a TIP120 (NPN transistor) to the arm movement because I couldn't find the pin that controlled them. If anyone knows where this pin is located, please send me a .jpg...thanks.

Most people place their rumble robot controller in the head, but this requires that the arm motors be removed. I kind of liked the arm motion, so I had to place my controller on the outside of the robot...Not very pretty, but the arm motion is cute for simulating the repairing of the vehicle.

I think landmines could be made cheaply using: force sensors made from conductive foam + atmega168