Enrichment Program

Summer School

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Mechatronics Learning Studio


Module 2


Remote Controlled Boat

Tarek Shawki  Yakib, Fahad Aljenaei, and Danish Qureshi, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ottawa



This is an airboat which is operated using a remote control. The remote control uses two potentiometers as the direction controllers to turn the boat right and left. In addition to direction control, the potentiometers adjust the speed in order to travel in the desirable pace. In order to do so, there are two motors mounted to the back of the boat which uses propellers to operate in the for-mentioned manner.

 Components and Specifications:

There are different components that were used to build up the boat. Bellow is a list of these components and their specifications.


This is the base of the boat. It is made of closed cell foam material. It light in weight, durable and water resistant which allows it to float. It is 12" long and nearly 3" thick, with 1/2" center hole.


These bars are used as trusses in order to join the two bases together and restrict any moments within the structure. Each is 5" long, 1/2" wide and 1/16" thick. These are stainless steel bars, connected together using bolts and nuts, and screwed into the base.


These brackets are used to hold the motor mount in place provided that the location is precise to avoid flipping the boat backwards. Each is 1/2" long, 1/2" wide, and 1/16" thick with a 90 degree angle between the legs.


The motor mount is a wooden piece which is 11" long, 2" wide, and 1/2" thick. It is screwed onto the metal brackets and the motors are press fitted into two holes equally distant from the centre to avoid any moments.


There are two motors attached in order to create a moment which allows the boat to turn in different directions. Each motor specifications and dimensions are:

Voltage: Operating range: 2.4 6 V; Nominal: 6 V

No load: Speed: 13679 rpm; Current: 0.28 A

At maximum efficiency: Speed: 11404 rpm; Current: 1.434 rpm; Torque: 45.3 g cm; Output: 5.312 W; Efficiency: 61.74 %; Stall torque: 227 g cm

Dimensions: A: 0.39"; B: 0.45"; C: 1.20"; D: 0.94"; E: 1.77"; F: 0.08"; G: 0.25"; H: 0.55"; I: 0.09"; J: 0.94"



There are two 7-blade propellers which cause the motion of the boat. Each of these propellers is attached to each motor. These propellers have an inner radius of 1 " and an outer radius of 3" (including the blades).

Remote Control and Components

The remote control unit consists of two individual circuits that require four AA batteries separately. Each circuit requires 6 V in order to operate each of the motors mentioned above.



Power supply


Control Unit 

The control unit is simple in order for the operator to control the motion of the boat with ease. It consists of a two way switch labelled (ON-OFF), and two rotary potentiometers. The cap on the potentiometer is labelled from 0 to 10; 0 being the minimum speed, and 10 being the maximum speed.


Insert four AA batteries into each of the battery holders

Switch on the power from the control unit

Turn the potentiometers to the desired speed

Hint: To turn the boat to a desired direction, lower the speed of the motor which corresponds to that direction from the control unit. If you want to turn the boat right for example, lower the speed of the right motor.

Simulation Results

Below are images taken from the oscilloscope showing the difference in pulse going to the motors by varying the resistance using the potentiometers. When the resistance is set to 0, the pulses are faster and closer to one another. On the other hand, when the resistance is at its maximum, the pulses slower are further apart.



The boat was placed into a swimming pool and operated by each member of the group. We had to ensure that the weight of the components mounted on top of it was evenly distributed in order for the boat to float properly. The power supply was turned on and the boat was checked to ensure it was able to turn left and right as well as vary its speed (videos of the testing are available through the link).



 In conclusion the objective of this project was met. The group was able to successfully design and build a fully function remote controlled boat which is able to turn and vary its speed. The group was also able to learn about what is involved in the engineering design process as well establish the connection between the theory learned and implement that into an actual real world application to reach the final goal, which was building a remote controlled  boat.