What Digital remote control and receiver would be best?

Hi there. I am about to TRY to build a heavy duty wheeled robot. I plan to use the motors and gears out of a power wheelchair and run them "tank style" to two wheels each. I was wondering how I am going to control it remotely. I need your basic forward and reverse X2, turns will be done tank style (forward on one side and reverse on the other. Also I need to have several push buttons on it to control a horn, a small water pump (for spraying targets/foes, he he he), to actuate a few "yet to be determined" add ons, and to turn on and off led lighting. The main thing I would like is a decent range of 100-150 feet or more. Any tips, dos, don'ts, or advice on where I might source the parts to do this would be great! I am in my second year of school for Computer and Electronics Engineering so I am not a total laymen. That being said, I AM still only a student; so easy on the big words! Thanks in advance for any replies, Steve.

The main thing I would like is a decent range of 100-150 feet or more.

That rules out IR and mandates you use radio.
Look at the model control band radio transmitters and receivers.

Thanks to my cuz from across the pond! My grandma and dad moved to the states from Rushdon.
Are there any main features that I should aim for? Are there any brands that are junky and should be avoided? Also, when it comes to the DOF, how many do I need? If I have say 4DOF on two joysticks, 8DOF total (up, down, left, right, X2) if I push left, will it know that means back on left motor and forward on the right one? If so then the other one could control the up, down, left, right, for my mini water cannon. (water and electronics, I AM feeling lucky!) I just want to make sure I get the right one for the job on the first try. I would rather have too much remote the to little. Are there any cool features (that I have no clue about no doubt) that I should try and make sure to get? Thanks again! Steve

What you want to do is relatively simple. Is it safe to assume you know some programming? If so, it is just IF statements.

What are to looking to control it with? Phone, homemade controller, a hobby shop controller maybe? Look into RF transceivers, or even XBee transceivers.

Yes sir. Not a pro but I am good with C programming and programming in ladder logic, and I am getting decent with the Arduino language as it seems similar to C. So it would be something like "if" right toggle switch left goes high, move left motor back and move the right motor forward, but in Arduino code. Lightbulb!!!! Thanks!
I will be back soon with some links to what I find that is in my budget and post them for opinions.....If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would damn near be an EE, like sushi (used to think that it was bait!), and be THIS interested in engineering widgets (I even dream about this stuff sometimes!), I would have laughed. Back soon, Steve.

Does anyone have any likes or dislikes about these? Will all of these work?





From what you've said so far, a plain old hobby radio control system would seem the easiest way to do everything that you want. With this solution you would control everything manually (joystick to move the cannon, button to fire etc).

The Arduino-based approach would make more sense if you wanted the 'bot to be controlled beyond line of sight, or to have more smarts about what to do (one command triggers a sequence of actions, that sort of thing) or to be autonomous. If you start with an RC system then the hardware and installation work would carry over to an Arduino based solution later, if you decided you didn't want manual control of everything.

So something like this would work?


I am going to use the Arduino as you said, so that I can push and release a button once on the RC, and it calls a whole series of actions from the Arduino (led light show, wolf whistle thru a small speaker, to trigger a relay that activates a 12v car horn, ect.) Should be kinda cool if I can pull it off. What do you think? Any suggestions? Thanks!

On the software side, this site should help -


Duane B


Thanks! So what about that last transmitter (the cheap one) that I posted, will it do the trick? It is programmable too.