Screens and more for Scale RC Cars, Planes and Ships

ThomasI · 7 · 13572

ThomasI

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Hi Tiny Circuits Team.
I am a customer of your products (Tiny Arcade) and really enjoyed the miniaturisation in your devices.
I come to you with a product suggestion.
Background: I recently created a working digital dashboard for my 1/10 scale RC Car. I used a simple Arduino Nano and a Monochrome Oled screen. The feedback in RC forums is stunning. I immediately got requests on selling it as a product. But I am no manufacturer. I just did this for fun – and continue improving it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbwphEDqrHE
There is no product like this on the market. This is when your company popped back into my mind. In your products, you have a basis that is by far more powerful than the Arduino platform. And your experience in miniaturisation lends itself to model making. There are RC cars, ships and airplanes out there that could profit from all kinds of displays and other stuff.
With your “Project Kits” your already have a product line, that is 95% there on the technical side. Just missing a board that can be connected to a standard RC receiver and fitting software for RC use. And of course the electronics would need to be packaged for use in a shaky, dirty environment of an RC Car/Ship/Plane.
(You may want to have a look how “RC light kits” are designed for use in RC Cars)
RC people are used to pay good prices if they get special products. But I think your products are generally not known in the RC world.
Maybe a market worth looking into?



lennevia

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Thanks so much for your interest and ideas! It would be cool to have some tutorials or products tailored to RC Cars.

I love the video! Thank you for sharing it.

What board would we need to connect to a standard RC Receiver? What software do RC Cars normally use? We're not experts on this, so any details or info you share would be helpful!

Cheers,
Réna


ThomasI

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What board would we need to connect to a standard RC Receiver? What software do RC Cars normally use? We're not experts on this, so any details or info you share would be helpful!

Cheers,
Réna

Hi Réna.
There is no "Software" involved in RC - when I mentioned "Software" I was thinking about the software that would need to be written to run screens or other stuff.

The most common way RC receivers "talk" to Servos/Speed Controller is through a simple PWM (puls width modulation) signal. One wire per channel. One channel per Servo, Speed Controller or whatever. Only one common role seems to be: Channel 1 is "stearing", Channel 2 is "throttle"... and from then on out it is open do whatever needed (Lights, Sounds, other addons). Here is an explaination of signal types including the PWM:
https://www.dronetrest.com/t/rc-radio-control-protocols-explained-pwm-ppm-pcm-sbus-ibus-dsmx-dsm2/1357
You can easily find more comprehensive ones.

So the way I do it, is simply split the signal cable and "listening into" the PWM signal with the Arduino ... and then making a "display show" out of the values I get.
In Addition I added a voltage regulator that takes the commen 7-12 volts that powers the RC Car and brings it down to 5 volts for the electronics. There is plenty of WH of energy available as the main battery is designed to power the main motor of the vihicle.

You can check out other videos on my channel on my solutions. Code-wise I am very much limited by the 8bit/2kbyte Ram in the Arduino hardware - with the computing power in your devices you could go completly "over the top" with crazy ideas.

As said, check out RC-Car Lighing kits you get in every hobby store: they do the same - they "listen into" the PWM to light up turn signals, breaking lights and more.

A simple RC Transmitter Receiver setup may set you back some $50 - and with an oscilloscope you can quickly see what is going on.

More or less you need a connector/power board to connect to the RC and the battery and go from there. Should be easy for you to get this going as you already have all the rest on the hardware side.

 
Additional thoughts:
- I guess the internal logic level in Tiny Circuit devices is 3.3v ? From what I see with my crude equipment the logic level of the RC PWM is higher. Some 4-5v. Any IO device should be capable to handle these voltages without being destroyed.
- an RC device should be able to handle accidental short circuiting and wrong polarity, as this happens a lot when fiddling around in models.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2023, 05:11:24 PM by ThomasI »


ThomasI

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Bth: I have just rolled out my first prototype on a GPS unit - so the speed on the display is based actual GPS data.
You see, there is no end on "stupid over top" ideas in this area. https://youtu.be/5HTcwyTTPfE


lennevia

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That's so cool!

Do you have any other product ideas or ways that TinyCircuits hardware could be used in an RC Car? It would be fun to work on a project tutorial that shows how our stuff can be useful with this community!

Thanks so much already for all your details and information, we're very new to it and have lots to learn it looks like!

-Réna


ThomasI

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Hi Réna.
Speaking of RC in a general term: there are two kinds - people who “race” and “scale builders”. Racers don’t invest much in detailing their vehicle - car, ship or plane. Speed is what counts – nothing else.
But scale builders invest a lot in the looks.
There are smaller companies offering detailed interiors for cars – for example http://www.killerbodyrc.com/
I have seen RC Planes detailed with Pilot figures and gauges. But even when some products offering LED light installations, they are all static displays. Nothing ever moves or is able to show actual values.
I could imagine "real" screens on a bridge of an RC boat showing a compass or GPS. Maybe a “glass cockpit” in a plane showing actual pitch, jaw and roll. And of course the working dashboard for a car.

For sure: Something like this is never a “product for the masses” – put people inside this scene are willing to spend good money for exclusive addons to their builts.
If you are interested in a collaboration or a brainstorming based on my experience, send me a PM.
P.S.: Current videos on my built – including the limitations resulting from the use of the 8-Bit Arduino.
https://youtu.be/JswIZk_Kg9k
https://youtu.be/SEq_LAHHIo4


 

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