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  1. #1
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    Traxxas VXL-3s in a Power Wheels

    I was horrified to find out that Power Wheels don't have proportional throttle. It's just an on/off switch. Either full speed, or nothing. The jerkiness scared my kid and he didn't want to ride it any more.

    So now I'm working on giving it proportional throttle/braking/reverse by using an ESC. It's not intended to be radio-controlled; I modified the original throttle and pedal to move a potentiometer instead of pressing push-button switches. Just need to program a micro controller to read the positions of the pots and generate a throttle signal for the ESC.

    Here's a video of an early test of the ESC (using a radio system to control the ESC): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCFiwKG99-o

    And here's where I'm documenting my progress on the project (you can see pics of the physical mods I've done): http://forum.modifiedpowerwheels.com...hp?f=26&t=1724

    Maybe a steering servo or two from a 1/5 scale car would be enough to give me steering control too

  2. #2
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    That is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1- Traxxas Slash 2wd Greg Adler edition

  3. #3
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    My power wheels mod thread is now updated with details of converting it to use an ESC: http://forum.modifiedpowerwheels.com...hp?f=26&t=1724

    Here's a few pics for those of you that are too lazy to click the link above and scroll:



    Nothing is secured yet. ESC will be easy (servo tape). The receiver won't even be used in the end (a microcontroller will take its place; see the power wheels forum thread for more details). I'll be looking for a velcro strap for securing the battery.

    I hope to get started on the microcontroller programming and circuit board this weekend.

  4. #4
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    I can't wait to see the outcome. I was just thinking if he every wants to go faster you could use a mamba monster esc instead of the velineon a 6s lipo powered power wheels would be really cool
    Brushless Summit!!!!!
    Slash 4x4

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtnel View Post
    Check out puretechproducts.com ...
    I ended up just using some Losi straps. The thread on the Power Wheels forum is updated with details about my progress and lots of pics, including the battery straps, but I'll post a few pics here:





    It can hold between 2 and 5 cells.

    Quote Originally Posted by zanek View Post
    I can't wait to see the outcome. I was just thinking if he every wants to go faster you could use a mamba monster esc instead of the velineon a 6s lipo powered power wheels would be really cool
    I already tested with a Mamba Max Pro and 4s lipo and got about 6.2mph (according to GPS). 6s lipo should get it to about 8.5mph (stock is 5mph, btw). A dual Mamba Monster 2650kv setup with a higher gear ratio gearbox from a different power wheels should get it upt to about 16-17mph on 6s lipo. I'd just need to use full torque limiting and punch control to have any hope of not destroying the gears. Although, it would cost so much that I might as well just buy a used dirt bike or something instead.

  6. #6
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. BaldyDaniels's Avatar
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    I bought the power wheels arctic cat quad and the kid trax dodge charger for my son last fall and they both have a speed limiter screw on the shifter that, when removed, it gives an extra click on the shifter that puts them into high speed mode. The charger tops out at 12mph and the arctic cat tops out at 13mph right out of the box! My lil guy didnt like the jerky stops n starts so i installed 2 Traxxas titan 12t motors in the dodge and ran them off an old school acoms transmitter and proportional servo and it went well over 25mph. Gonna throw xl-5 in it so i can put it in training mode more easily than having to adjust the servo linkage. Also working on a block n tackle type steering setup to be able to use a steering servo to be able to steer it. A mamba esc would be even better due to the programmability. As for the arctic cat quad which is quite a bit heavier, i found a cheap n easy fix for the throttle control. I just wired in an old sewing machine pedal and voila! Full throttle control, and i got the pedal from a sewing machine that i bought for for 3 bucks from a garage sale. Works awesome and i weatherproofed it by cutting an old rubber ball in half and covering the pedal assembly. I know how it is for us parents, spoiling the kid with something thats gonna be just as fun for us too! Nice work on ur set up. Im anxious to see how you work the throttle without a transmitter. Im not so advanced in electronic programming, but i can use duct tape like nobodys business!
    Last edited by BaldyDaniels; 04-16-2011 at 06:44 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldyDaniels View Post
    I bought the power wheels arctic cat quad and the kid trax dodge charger for my son last fall and they both have a speed limiter screw on the shifter that, when removed, it gives an extra click on the shifter that puts them into high speed mode. The charger tops out at 12mph and the arctic cat tops out at 13mph right out of the box!
    You must have done something else to get those speeds. Both of those vehicles go 2.5mph, or 5mph if you enable "high speed" mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by BaldyDaniels View Post
    I installed 2 Traxxas titan 12t motors in the dodge and ran them off an old school acoms transmitter and proportional servo and it went well over 25mph. Gonna throw xl-5 in it so i can put it in training mode more easily than having to adjust the servo linkage.
    What did you link the servo to? Linking to the pedal wouldn't give you proportional throttle control because the pedals are just on/off switches.

    And how did you get 25mph? You'd have to either run over 60 volts through those motors to get that speed, or you'd have to increase the gear ratio to be 5 times higher than stock. Either option would surely fry the motors.

    Quote Originally Posted by BaldyDaniels View Post
    Also working on a block n tackle type steering setup to be able to use a steering servo to be able to steer it.
    Check out this thread for some ideas on steering. Later in the thread, he mentions where he got the servo. Ignore all the crazy stuff he did with expensive relays to setup the throttle and just use an ESC

    http://forum.modifiedpowerwheels.com...php?f=26&t=715

    Quote Originally Posted by BaldyDaniels View Post
    Im anxious to see how you work the throttle without a transmitter.
    There won't be much to see. The potentiometers in the throttle and pedal will connect to a custom circuit board, and that will plug into the ESC, sending the ESC the same signal that a receiver would. I guess I could post the code that I write for the microcontroller

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by UselessPickles View Post
    And how did you get 25mph? You'd have to either run over 60 volts through those motors to get that speed, or you'd have to increase the gear ratio to be 5 times higher than stock. Either option would surely fry the motors.
    I just realized you said Titan 12t. I was thinking Titan 21t. The 12t is definitely a faster motor, but I wouldn't expect it to have enough torque to move a Power Wheels without burning up (especially with a kid on it).

    The 21t is the popular choice for Power Wheels. It's about 25% faster at 12v, has a little more torque than the stock motors, and seems to hold up to 18v fairly well, even though it's only rated for 14.4v.

    For reference, the stock motors are believed to be somewhere around 27 to 30-turn motors (I think I found a thread where someone actually disassembled and counted, but I can't find it now).

  9. #9
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. BaldyDaniels's Avatar
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    Sorry i meant km per hour. i forgot to mention that i put quite a bit larger diameter rubber tires on both right when i got them cuz the plastic were too annoying. I was running 18 volts throught the dodge charger when it went 25km per hour with no kid on it and its a really light car. I had pc fans cooling the motors but they still got way too hot. To get the proportional throttle i just unhooked the pedal and used the acoms resistor type throttle control thats powered by a steering servo. On the arctic cat i just used the sewing machine pedal which by itself is proportional. i got the idea from a buddy that uses the old sewing machine pedals for regulating the speed of home made tattoo guns. thanks for the link for steering, gonna check that out right now. its not an easy task to get it to steer with a servo, i was thinking maybe a power antenna or power window motor. Too much time on my hands lately. lol.

  10. #10
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    That makes a lot more sense now. I assume the 13 km/hr was with 18v?

    I think that furthest I'll end up going with this is 5s lipo (18.5v) and the Titan 21t motors. Going higher voltage than that seems to just be too rough on the vehicle (gearboxes and motors) and/or too expensive for what you get in the end. Any faster than that, I think I'm better off putting money toward a small go-kart that is actually made to go those speeds.

  11. #11
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    Also, the 21t titan can handle more power, because the emaxx, (brushed version) has a evx-2 esc, which is made to use 16.8 volts, ur 14 nimh cells. I know, the full voltage is 16.8, but it should be able to handle it.
    if you want me to i can break your truck for free!

  12. #12
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. BaldyDaniels's Avatar
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    The 13kmph or 8mph was actually just with 12 volt, everything stock except a significantly larger diameter set of rubber tires. the dodge real easy to change rims and tires cuz they are bolted on. I hear ya about not wanting to spend anymore money on them. im pretty sure that a couple runs at higher speeds would kill em dead. i just used stuff i had laying around. I have a go kart for my lil guy and a kids quad that the throttle can be set, only problem is that my lil guy dont like the noise and i dont like the fumes from exhaust that hes gotta deal with when only going 5mph. not to mention that the quad and the kart are both heavy and could injure pretty easy, plus moving parts and hot exhaust etc. i just like him to be able to keep pace with me when im on my pedal bike.

  13. #13
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. BaldyDaniels's Avatar
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    Have you seen these yet? pretty cool if they would be just a lil bit faster.

    http://www.raidentech.com/rarecoelrife1.html

    http://www.raidentech.com/6420-ride-on-car.html

    these things have speakers with mp3 input capability, radio control, lights, sounds, adjustable seats, and working ignition keys and more.... 129 bucks
    Last edited by BaldyDaniels; 04-16-2011 at 11:59 PM.

  14. #14
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    Wow... those are pretty sweet. They only run on 6v batteries. I'm sure it could be modified to run 18v to get some speed

    I'm interested to know how they setup the steering so that it can be radio-controlled or kid-controlled, and how they did it for so cheap. The best option for a steering servo for a Power Wheels costs more than these cars!

  15. #15
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    IT'S WORKING!!



    That black box is where the magic happens: custom circuit board with a microcontroller I programmed to read the position of the throttle and brake pedal and generate the correct signal to the ESC.



    This is just the initial basic hardware and software. I have plans for improvements

    Will add more details in the Modified Power Wheels forum thread later when I get the time.

  16. #16
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    The thread on the Power Wheels forum is now fully updated with details and pictures of the entire mod: http://forum.modifiedpowerwheels.com...hp?f=26&t=1724

  17. #17
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    Time to bring this thread back from the dead for a little update....


    What's that just to the right of the black box?


    Yup; that's a receiver! I've wired it into the custom electronics and updated the software to let me take over control of the throttle remotely.

    Kids get easily distracted by things like airplanes and birds in the sky, barking dogs, etc., and they'll keep going full throttle on a Power Wheels while looking at the distraction. I've had to run and stop my kid from crashing into my parked car several times, and it scares him every time. Now I can quietly hit the brakes on a transmitter from a distance.

    The radio system takes over full control of the throttle any time a non-neutral throttle signal is detected. The radio system retains control until both the radio and the throttle/pedal on the vehicle return to neutral for about 1/2 second.

  18. #18
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. BaldyDaniels's Avatar
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    Nice job man. I have the exact same problem with my lil guy, he'll see a dog or another kid playing and he'll be so busy showing off that he doesn't notice he's heading for a parked car or driving into traffic. I use an old car alarm with starter kill so when the alarm is off he can run the unit like normal, but when I hit the arm button it just skids to a stop and won't go til I disarm. He gets a kick out of it too, and so do his lil friends, cuz I put a lil siren in there so he can arm it and it chirps. I also bought him his 3rd power wheels unit in the fall. He wanted me to paint his red dodge charger like a police car cuz the police versions hadn't come here yet, but they finally arrived just at the start of fall, so now he's got the police edition dodge charger, and its even worse for him not paying attention cuz it's got buttons inside for the lights and sirens and a mic for the loudspeaker. Gonna have to mod that one too now. Lol


    Sent from Dan's iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited by BaldyDaniels; 01-10-2012 at 05:06 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Great job, man!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldyDaniels View Post
    I use an old car alarm with starter kill so when the alarm is off he can run the unit like normal, but when I hit the arm button it just skids to a stop and won't go til I disarm.
    I started to look into something similar. There's remote power switches available like this one, for not too much $$$: http://www.xoxide.com/remote-12vdc-relay-kit.html

    The problem with those is that most have fairly low maximum amperage limits, and they all seem to be for 12v. I don't know how they'd deal with different voltages that I use (7.2v, 11.1v, 18.5v, 22.2v). I'd probably have to use the remote switch to trigger an automotive relay (or possibly 2 in parallel) to have safe amperage capacity through the switch for when I start running higher voltage, and then I'd still possibly have to use a secondary 12v battery just to power the key fob receiver.

    Then I realized that I could do much better for much less. Fully proportional remote throttle control override for $0, about 20 minutes of soldering/crimping, and about 10 hours of programming/testing, of which about 4 hours were spent tracking down the simplest problems (ESC connector plugged in wrong, forgot to set a single bit of memory at the beginning of the program, stupid basic unsigned integer arithmetic error in my code, etc.)

  21. #21
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. BaldyDaniels's Avatar
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    Thats sweet man. a little more work than im willing to put in on these units! lol. as soon as i modify one, he wants the same for all of them, and with three now, theres no way! 12v remote switch i picked up for the new one is from princess auto for 20 bucks and it can control 4 devices so ill see what i can do with that. maybe hook up some more lights and accessories along with a kill switch of some kind.





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