Radio Controllers

The controller can be simple or very very complicated based on what you intend to use it to control. To control a simple radio controlled tractor with just forward, reverse and steering you only need two single axis joysticks which is a very common RC controller configuration for RC cars. If you want to control an RC excavator with lights, you need a switch for the lights, two single axis joysticks for the tracks and then two dual axis joysticks for the boom control. That is not a standard configuration and to buy one would more than likely cost a small fortune so you will probably want to make your own. There are five possible ways to build your RC controller.

  1. Use an RC controller from an old RC vehicle as a base for your controller
  2. Use Arduino shields to make a basic controller
  3. Build it from scratch with as many controls and displays as you like
  4. Use a serial app on a Tablet or Smart Phone
  5. Convert an old playstation or Xbox controller

Controller from old RC Vehicle

This method takes the controller from an old RC vehicle like a boat or an RC car and replaces the electronics with the Arduino based system. The benefit of this method is that you have a good controller frame which is easy to handle. The downside is you have limited room to expand on controls.


Basic Arduino Based Controller

The basic Arduino based controller requires no more than plugging a few standard modules together and uploading the code. The benefit to this method is the quick assembly time. The downside is the controller doesn’t feel natural in your hands due to the small size.


Complex Arduino Based Controller

The complex controller includes enough controls and visual aids to control every vehicle in your fleet, from a simple tractor to an excavator. The benefit to this is that you are designing it to suit you so you can include every control you need and arrange them to suit your preferences. The downside is this methods is much slower as it requires additional wiring, more complex coding and the construction of a frame to support all the controls.


RC Controller App for Phones and Tablets

In the future I may have an app made to control the RC vehicles from a phone or a tablet. The benefit is that controls can be added easily in the code. The downside is you need to construct a repeater to convert from the tablets bluetooth signal to the RF signal the tractors use. I demonstrated this idea with the RC Scania R620.


PlayStation Steering Wheel RC Controller