RC Control

I'm new to the Arduino platform, and I've yet to pick one up myself. It seems like it'd be really interesting, though.

What I want to be able to do is make a simple tiny robot driven by two servos and controlled by an RC remote.

While lurking, I came across a 433 MHz transmitter/receiver combo from RobotShop, which seems like it would be ideal. However, I don't have that frequency transmitter. Can I simply swap out the crystal on the receiver with one that I have from a Vex robot kit and use that remote control? Or use the receiver and transmitter from an old RC car? Would that be easy or tough to program? I've got a decent amount of experience in C, which is pretty much the same as wiring, right?

Can I simply swap out the crystal on the receiver with one that I have from a Vex robot kit and use that remote control?

Probably not. It depends on the design of the receiver. It is not normally the frequency of the receiver that is directly given by the crystal but the receive frequency plus an offset of the IF. This can be different on different designs.

Or use the receiver and transmitter from an old RC car?

You can but what are you going to do with the Arduino if it is all being controlled by remote?

I was planning on using the arduino for being the brains of the operation so I could do some more complex things than just simply using two motors.

I guess I worded it wrong. I simply wanted to use the receiver part of the RC car, not the whole "brains" of it.

There's really not much more "brains" to an RC car than the receiver itself. The receiver basically just translates the radio data into turning motors on and off. Of course there's typically some feedback from the steering servo, but that's very basic. How complex are you thinking of getting?

I was thinking of attaching various sensors to allow the robot to do things without needing input from a controller. Eventually, I'd like to be able to control the robot (somehow) from a computer wirelessly. Is that a completely unattainable goal? I've seen it done with other hardware; would the arduino be able to handle this?

It's all very possible, just depends on how hard you're willing to work! :D Take a look at this here, it uses the PicAXE board instead, but the Arduino is still very capable of handling everything the PicAXE does, and more. :) http://letsmakerobots.com/node/696

Not unattainable at all. It's just that an RC car of the toy variety typically has two channels of three possible values each: forward/stop/reverse and left/straight/right. That means you can send a maximum of 9 distinct commands from the controller to the receiver. If you go to a fancier RC system as used for higher end RC cars/aircraft/boats, you'll be able to send up to six or so channels of 8bit (maybe? if you're lucky? depends on the quality of the receiver and environmental factors I would guess) values. However if you really want to send data and complex commands to and from the robot, you probably want something like XBee, which would provide a wireless serial communications channel between the computer and the robot.

I've got a Vex Controller; it's pretty bulky, has two joysticks, multiple buttons, and options for different frequencies. I'd imagine that it's pretty close to a hobbyist's controller.

Anyway; if my goal is to eventually be able to control the robot from a network, and maybe the internet, what should I start with? RC Control? The XBee? Or could I just buy a bluetooth adapter for the arduino? (I'd imagine that a simple usb dongle would be too convenient, mi'right?)

Yeah I would like to know that too ... (this is my attempt at bringing this post back to life :P )

That’s my firs post here. So… Hello everybody!
Did someone considered using some cheap wireless game pad? It won’t be easy(?), and it’s only one way data transmission.
Or maybe wireless usb or even wireless serial port? I dunno. Just starting playing with arduino.
IMHO Xbee is probably the best solution. Quite expensive but powerfull and easy to use.

Hi, yh i'm sure that the cheap game pad option is possible but I still have no idea how, i'm guessing you use an Infra red ps2 remote or something like that and an Infra red receiver. As far as I know the wireless usb ideas is possible but expensive (google it) and I don't know about wireless serial port.

If you have one, you can use a netbook (mini laptop) on the robot to stream a USB joystick over WiFi. It's expensive, but if you already have a netbook or are planning to get one it's an easy and powerful way to do this. Also, with a netbook that has a webcam, you can use a video streaming app to send back a video feed to your other PC so you can drive it without seeing where it is. I did this (using an Arduino to control some Vex motors, they're just 12V servos that take a 5v PWM signal on the white wire) and it works very well.

You can also use the Vex R/C controller but you have to figure out the protocol it uses (which I think I saw an article on how to decode it but forgot where I saw it).

This is what I made:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyCCOuI07_4

(sorry for double post, needed 2 posts to post link)