Enrichment Program

Summer School

Contact Us


Mechatronics Learning Studio


Module 1

Remote Control Pick-up

Joël Carbonneau, Raymond Piette, Jennifer Chasse, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ottawa


Power Point Presentation




Objective and Related Work

Our project was inspired by the first project in the Mechatronics for the Evil Genius book, which is the project concerning the mechatronics race car. We say inspired because we have made several important changes. Firstly, we made a pick-up truck instead of a simple car type platform. This aloud more storage room for our electronic parts and gave us a greater challenge. The second change was the integration of a remote control in order to control the speed and the direction of the car from a distance. To do so, we needed a remote control, which came with a receiver, and integrate these with the electrical and mechanical systems. Another change was the addition of a second power supply in parallel with the first to enable us to switch from one type of power to the other. Our goal for the project was to incorporate solar energy, therefore adding a solar cell on top of our vehicle, this being our second energy source, the first being a set of four 1.5V batteries in series. Finally, we added a system of lights to the car. This part isn’t directly related to mechatronics, but we used the lights to create a more realistic look for the vehicle.



The first circuit is for the driving motor. We used 4 AA batteries as the main option to power the motor, the other being a 6.7V solar cell. A 3-position switch was used so that one cannot use both power supplies at the same time, with the 3rd switch position being the off-position. The resistance value of the potentiometer is controlled by the rotation of a servomotor. At the potentiometer’s default position, the resistance value is high so there isn’t enough current to power the transistor so no current goes through the motor. Once the resistance value is decreased, there is enough current to initiate the transistor so that the motor gets current and the pick-up moves forward. Also, for speed control, the less the resistance, the more current to the transistor and therefore through the motor, the faster the motor turns.

The second circuit is the lighting circuit. A DIP switch was used due to the high number of switched needed. When a switch is closed, the current goes through the resistor and the LED and the LED emits light. We have LEDs to represent the brake lights, flashers, low and high beams of a real pick-up truck. In addition, we used the different LED specifications and Ohm’s Law to find the appropriate resistance for each LED.


Mechanical Systems


G:\Documents and Settings\Joel\My Documents\My Pictures\2009 Projet ELG\DSC00715.JPG      G:\Documents and Settings\Joel\My Documents\My Pictures\2009 Projet ELG\DSC00716.JPG

The pick-up truck is composed of two major subsystems: the steering and the driving systems. Both are controlled by a remote control. In the steering system, both front wheels are attached to independent hinges that are connected to the frame by a pin. The hinges are connected together through a servomotor, which controls the angle of the wheels. As for the driving system, the back wheels are connected to a gearbox – driven by a 6V motor – with a ratio of 76.5:1 which gives a rear axle angular velocity of 78.4rpm. The motor is driven by a current as explained earlier.

The frame itself is made out of basswood, a lightweight yet durable material for this kind of application. It is held together with only Krazy Glue® and Epoxy.


Remote Control System

The remote control (powered by 8 AA batteries) sends a signal to the receiver installed on the pick-up truck. The receiver is then wired to two servomotors and is powered by 4 AA batteries. It can control the position of both servomotors. One servomotor is glued to the potentiometer to control the resistor value in the motor circuit. The other servomotor is connected as explained earlier through rods to the two front wheels to control the steering.



The testing of the circuits was done and it has been determined that they work perfectly. In order to make sure there was not too much current flowing through any electrical component, we had to vary the resistor values to see which ones would fit the best in our circuits. When combining everything, the tests on the pick-up were conclusive.



We have come across a number of problems. Our first problem was the difficulty of finding certain parts needed. Indeed, we had to order a few. When we did have the pieces and had everything figured out about how we would bring everything together, we came across a small problem; our drill wasn’t strong enough to make the holes in the chassis. Our solution was to ask a friend for his drill which we knew was more powerful. We also had to wait a long time for certain parts to come through the mail and therefore do some last minute adjustments. We were also very limited in tools. For example, we had to use a hand saw to cut through 1/8” pieces of wood. We had to learn how to solder and as the pick-up truck is very small, we had to work in very tight conditions.



The pick-up was completed with success, but we would have wanted a higher speed. The pick-up has a slow start up and operates at slower speed than intended. This might be due to the weight of the truck that is relatively important. Though this would cause the truck to have less torque, and would be complicated to uninstall the gearbox for modification, therefore we have decided to let the truck as is. Other than that, the pick-up works perfectly.











Power Point Presentation