Continuing my series on hacking a UCTRONICs Robot Car, I show you how to change the WiFi setup and install WiringPi and JupyterHub.
Hacking a UCTRONICS Robot Car Kit
I picked up a Raspberry Pi based robot last week and started to hack around with it. I am going to write a series of posts documenting putting it together, getting it running, and then replacing the factory code with something a little more hack friendly. There’s a lot of photos here, so please be patient with the page speed.
Also, when it comes to photography, I guess you’d say I’m a great programmer. Hopefully, these shots are good enough to help you out if you decide to try one of these robots out.
You can find the robot here (affiliate link.) It comes with a camera, a sonic sensor, and a line-tracking sensor. You’ll need a Raspberry Pi for it, too. I recommend a 3 B+, like this one (also an affiliate link.)
Here’s their photo of an assembled car.
Unboxing photos are all the rage with the kids these days, so here’s the box. (DC vintage calendar not included.)
Inside, the parts are very well-organized. I’ve assembled kits in the past that were packed in a bunch of unlabeled plastic bags. This was a pleasant surprise.
You’re best off getting yourself a couple of small screwdrivers and at least a 7mm and 5.5mm box wrench. The tools are not great.
The packing list, however, was another pleasant surprise.
It’s easy-to-read and is mostly complete. The only let-down is that the photos of the screws don’t always match what’s in there. It all worked out in the end, and you get plenty of extra parts!
That’s right! An entire back of spare parts. Great stuff for future projects!
Finally, the instructions were…pretty much what you’d expect.
Diagrams and adequate descriptions.
So let’s get started.
First, charge those batteries! The lights will turn green when they’re done.
These are 18650 batteries, and if you find you need spares, they’re very easy to find.
First, you’ll attach the motors to the base plate.
The motors come in two sets of two, for the front and the back. They’re clearly labeled, and the mounts are very simple.
The mounts are plastic tabs that sit on either side of the motor. The two screws go through the mounts and motors.
The mounted motors look like this, with the wheels pressed on.
Next are the pan and tilt servos. This is the part I found the most confusing.
First, not that the mount ends up a little off-center.
It’s hard to see here, but if you mount it where they seem to be telling you, it ends up a little off to one side.
I think the directions make assembling the camera look more complicated than it needs to be. Here are two more shots of the finished product.
And on the other side.
The rest of the job was pretty easy—Mount the sound sensor.
And the line follower.
And then the Pi.
And then mount the controller card, the battery holder, and wire it up!
Driving the Car
Now it’s time to fire it up!
You need to install their app on your Android or iOS device. (The apps works on an iPhone and also as a full-fledge iPad app. I assume Android has similar support.)
The car will create a Wifi network named UCTRONICS, with a password of 12345678. Connect your device to that network and run the app.
That’s it for the quick start.
It works out of the box. But is it hackable? Yes, very much so. More on that coming very soon, including Python code!
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