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Mythbustering my 03 Explorer

Discussion in 'Modified 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Mustangman66, September 29, 2011.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Mustangman66

    Mustangman66 Member

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    Ok, well im sort of "mythbustering" my truck,

    I picked up a bunch of servos and robotics equipment recently and have decided to put them to good use, by remote controlling my explorer.

    My Controller
    [​IMG]

    this is not my first rodeo with this sort of thing either, so have faith in me, i have done this before, if you would like to take a look at my credentials check out the Mercury Sable i RC'd http://youtu.be/89OJA35u1Lw I learned through mistakes the first time, so this time i know what to expect, i plan on using multiple fail safe's (such as an air piston to depress the e-brake, an electronic engine kill switch, and a servo fail safe that will depress the brake upon loss of signal.)

    I intend this thread to be some sort of a log/brainstorming thread, we will see how that works out.

    so here's the basics:

    Im going to be using either 1 or 2 (i haven't figured out if ill need a second yet) High Torque winching servos to actuate the controls (gas, brake, steering). I plan to mount all the electronics and servos underneath the drivers seat. then using the cables from a bicycle i will connect the servo to one of the two pedals, when the winch pulls on the cable, it will either release or depress the pedal.

    my servos
    [​IMG]

    For the steering i will be using two more identical winching servos with a similar cable system. i will have a custom spool machined that will be able to bolt directly onto the steering shaft either below the dash up against the firewall, or in the engine bay. by wrapping cables around this spool, i should be able to use the winching action of the servos to turn the wheel.

    Custom spool
    [​IMG]

    Dual Steering servos
    [​IMG]

    The layout
    [​IMG]



    there are quite a few things that i am nervous or concerned about in my design, such as friction occurring in the cables resulting in uncontrolled acceleration (no im not turning a ford into a toyota... lol) and things of those nature.

    i am also concerned about the strength of my servos... if for some reason the dual servos controlling the steering are not powerful enough to turn the wheel, then i may have to build a custom servo (which i have done before but it was the steepest learning curve ever, i cooked like 5 or six motors before i got it right.

    The last thing that i am concerned about is cost... believe it or not almost everything that i need for the electronics portion of the build i already have... but i have a feeling that getting the high quality GoreTex cables i want and the custom spool for the steering are going to get VERY costly VERY quickly...

    For the most part, i am still in the R&D portion of this build, However, i am making progress. i have built the housing to hold the servos, and gotten everything installed in it and wired up. i have been consulting bicycle mechanics for the best cables for my application, and i am searching around for any machinist who can make my spool cheap (so if any of you want to make it for me, that would be awesome). Everyday i am drawing diagrams and blueprints, refining the idea in my head.


    now for my closing remarks,
    i can not promise any of you that this system will work. but by god will i try. this build may last for a month or for a year, there's just no way to tell when it will be completed if ever, but i will try.

    Stay tuned
    Mustangman66


    Ps. Smilies are totally overrated...
     
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  3. lounge lizard

    lounge lizard Active Member

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    have you thought about converting the steering to full hydraulics with a self centering valve that you can control with one servo ?
     
  4. Mustangman66

    Mustangman66 Member

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    yes i did consider that, they make hydraulic brakes for bicycles, and that was one of the things that i mentioned to the bike mechanic, the reason why i decided to go with cables instead is simply based on the KISS rule, with hydraulics you risk air in the line, leaks, kinks in the tubing, etc. i felt that with cables, their durability and reliability would be superior to hydraulics

    oh and hydraulics are EXPENSIVE and im a cheap ba$%@rd, lol

    EDIT: reread ur post,

    im assuming you are implying that i would be using the pressure from the power steering pump and the power steering rack to turn the wheels. i feared that there would be a lot more to go wrong, and getting all of the hydraulic lines tapped into the factory power steering and pump would become to huge of a project, but i like the way you were thinking and if the servos are not strong enough to turn the wheel i may resort to that option, but right now, like i said, im obeying the KISS rule...
     
  5. lounge lizard

    lounge lizard Active Member

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    I like the kiss system too.

    but when it comes to steering I like something a little bit more than simple.

    was also thinking a stepper motor with a stepper drive that you can wire the receiver directly to and have proportional steering.

    a stepper motor would be strong enough to turn the rack
     
  6. Mustangman66

    Mustangman66 Member

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    Im fairly certain that the servos will be able to turn the wheel, they are rated at 152.75oz.in of torque (think foot pounds only smaller) with a 60degree turn time of 1.68seconds with a spool that has a one inch radius. Its a Hitec HS-785HB Sail Winch Servo, (if you feel like looking it up...)

    and since im using two that means that if i were to use a spool on the steering column that had a 2 inch radius i would be exerting about 600 Oz.In of torque to turn the wheel 1.75 revolutions full left to right full

    one option i considered was using the circuitry from the servo rewired to some relays and what not to control a larger motor(non stepper but heavily geared down) this is how i did it with my first RC project, but this time around i am looking for a smaller and more compact package.

    EDIT: now you got me thinking about it
    where would you get your hydraulic parts and what parts would you get?
     
    Last edited: September 29, 2011
  7. Mustangman66

    Mustangman66 Member

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    well the RC project needs to be sidelined for the moment...

    this morning as i was coming home from a party, i started having problems, it started with slow wipers and then progressed to an ABS light going on, then my battery light came on, then i lost my radio, and then my gauges went dead, but then came back on briefly. Then, just as i got off the highway, it died, lucky for me i was able to roll into a gas station, where the attendant was nice enough to let me use his truck to recharge my battery... turns out it was a bad alternator, because after i got it running again i disconnected my battery and it died instantly... i managed to make it to my place of work and i swapped out cars and left it there...

    so the alternator is cooked... anybody have any suggestions on a cheap replacement alternator? or should i just go to a junkyard and get a used one? i think it might be in my best interest to go with a high output alternator, since i will be using a lot of electricity for the RC project.

    so what is the best High output alternator available for my money???

    i got a quote for $180 for a new alternator from napa, is that a good price???
     
  8. Kazer

    Kazer Well-Known Member

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    Rockauto . Com usually has good prices on parts
     
  9. snoranger

    snoranger Well-Known Member

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    Did you ever think about 1/4 scale servos? A futaba 3306mg might work better. (They make a 3306 and a 3306 MG, the MG is a few bucks more, but it has metal gears.)

    3306MG Specifications:

    * Torque:
    o @ 4.8V: 267 oz-in (19.2 kg/cm)
    o @ 6.0V: 333 oz-in (24.0 kg/cm)
    * Speed:
    o @ 4.8V: 0.20 sec/60°
    o @ 6.0V: 0.16 sec/60°
    * Dimensions: 66x30x57mm (2-5/8x1-3/16x2-1/4")
    * Weight: 4-7/16 oz (126 g)

    They go for about $50 each. Pull it apart, cut the connection to the potentiometer and it will rotate either direction all day long, instead of its normal 270° or so rotation.


    I would dedicate 1 channel to a remote kill. Something to shut the engine off. Also run a failsafe unit on the brake servo. Set it up so if the truck goes out of radio range it applies the brakes.
     
  10. Mustangman66

    Mustangman66 Member

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    if i were to cut the potentiometer then i would not have proportional control of the steering, which is the whole point of the multiple rotation servos...

    Yup, channel 6 is my landing gear toggle on my transmitter, i use a micro servo to flip a tiny switch off, which flips a relay that interrupts power to the fuel pump via the impact sensor located in the passenger footwell
     

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