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This topic has 2 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 4 months, 4 weeks ago by Steve.

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    Hi, I’m completely new to this game, but I’ve been a programmer for 30 years. Having dragged our beach trolley (https://www.divein.com/beach-wagon/) across the sand for so many years I’ve decided to create a tracked (i.e. tank) version, but I’m not sure how to start. My basic requirements are:
    – Motorised – to make life easier, especially on terrain such as sand.
    – Speed – 1.5m/s or 3mph – basically walking speed.
    – Distance – must be able to make a return journey of over 2 miles fully loaded.
    – Load – must be capable of supporting a load of 30kg (not decided yet).
    – Terrain
    – Must be capable of driving over grass, sand, tarmac, concrete.
    – Stones and obstacles of 5cm must be passable over. Think rabbit holes, stones on the beach, dropped pavements, etc.
    – Must be water-proof for any electronics
    – Must be dust/sand-proof for any electronics
    – Draggable – must be capable of freewheeling and being draggable (if batteries go flat).
    – Control – must be simple to control (RC initially).

    My longer term goal is to embed a raspberry pi and get it to follow my mobile phone or an Ultra Wideband beacon or GPS, but the first stage is to build something, so RC seems simpler.

    Basically, I’m not sure how to start, I’m guessing:
    – Get tracks, wheels, motors, build chassis
    – Work out how to RC to control the probably high power motors.

    If anyone has any thoughts on how to start or points on how to learn the RC stuff required, or how to calculate the power of motors required or the amount of battery needed that would be brilliant. Anything in fact would be good.

    It seems like a good community here, so thanks.


    Hey there Steve!

    Welcome to the world of robotics, you’ve chosen a great time to get into this! Having hauled beach wagons I can sympathize, it’s definitely a drag. I’m going to try to go through your list of specifications and see if we can provide some advice.

    We have a support wiki that has a section on building robots. It offers some information on the different components and a bit of advice on picking parts. Here’s a link to it!

    First, the biggest challenge for you is going to be getting it waterproof and dust/sand proof. Any open points of the chassis will need gaskets/seals. You’ll want your charging port and switch to be waterproof or have waterproof covers. You’ll also want to either house your internal components inside a waterproof container or apply a coating of epoxy, silicon, or other material. Your motor shafts and their access points in the chassis will also be tricky in sand.

    • A tracked chassis or 6-wheel drive system would be best for sand and off-road terrain.
    • For the motors, payload, and speed, I’d recommend looking at our Tracked Chassis Payload/Speed chart. It shows some ranges you can expect to get out of different motors/chassis combinations. Even if you don’t use one of our base kits, it’s a great starting point to understand what motor would fit your needs.
    • For distance you’ll want to pay attention to your battery system, making sure it has enough juice to go the distance. SLA is cheaper than LiFePO4 batteries but weighs a lot more.
    • Obstacle/terrain should be fine on a tracked system as long as you make sure your chassis has a bit of ground clearance. Something like the HD2 system [/url] can handle curbs head-on.
    • Control through an RC is easy enough to implement, we use the FlySky RC system for a lot of our robots and it’s reliable. Good range, multiple channels, and affordable.

    Also, I’d recommend checking out the Robotics subreddit, they have an active community and a resource section that can help you get started on the fundamentals of robotics.

    Happy to have you join the robotics community Steve and we hope this helps!

    -Ben at SuperDroidRobots

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by SuperDroid.
    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by SuperDroid.
    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by SuperDroid.

    That’s brilliant. Thanks for the response. Lots to go on there. I’ll spend the next few days in my free time absorbing all the links.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond and I’ll let you know when it’s done.



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