Crawler1 - Land based rover

3689386322?profile=originalSo, having spent the last couple of years experimenting with UAV systems I felt the need to try something that would stay on the ground. I have been fascinated by rock crawlers, the latest RC off-road trend. They seem the be the ideal platform for a land based all terrain rover system. Traction and maneuverability is very impressive.

Last week I got a HBX 1/8 scale crawler kit, and started modifying it for my needs. So far the system is FPV capable (out to about 2km), but autonomous GPS navigation is planned for a later stage.


- HBX 1/8 Crawler

- 1W 1.2ghz video link

- ServoCity Pan-Tilt system

- GoPro Hero HD camera

- 500mW 433mhz two-way radio modem

- Teensy 2.0 onboard computer / serial to servo converter


And best of all, I don't have to go out in the cold to operate it!

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  • John:

    The pan&tilt system you are referring is the Servo City SPT200. Do you think that would be possible to suspend this platform with springs to minimize some of the vibrations?

  • i see what you mean,, but but all the servos on my heli are moving all the time .!? aslong as there not under too great of a load ,,I would prefer a mount that pivots on the center of gravity of the camera (so it don,t throw of my heli,s CG ) but i havent seen 1 for the GoPro that will mount on top

    about the oscillating only way i could stop it on my  double pan double tilt was ramp the servos speed at the end of a motion and keep them moving very slowly  (i used the ssc32 ) for this basic ramp works like add + - 1,2,3,  to pulse count every 1,2,3,4, cycles . Yea love my MG for sixty bucks cant beat it its amazing what it can do,, I had to go out and climb over some tree,s after pulling it out for pics :)

  • Developer


    Wow, that MG-A1 looks awesome!

    Camera stabilization could be cool to combat larger motions, but I don't think the servos would be able to track small vibrations (and not burn out in the long run). A camera with built in motion stabilization (steady shot) in the sensor would probable work nicely. But in the video, most of the vibrations comes from slack in the pan&tilt unit. The way it is now, it picks up the slightest bump and starts oscillating. I just ordered a proper p&t with ball bearing joints to see how much that helps.


  • Looks awesome ,,,I looked at these too but they looked as slow as my tarantula but if its autonomous offroad it needs to be slow .this is how i got into this hobby ,looking for away to navigate my bot ,as i got a little deeper i found gps dont work so good in the woods ,but now with the magnetometer thats not so big a problem and with APM-OILPAN i could keep from tipping over ,,,Here we go again another project ,dang DYI Drones !!! here,s my bot 3692159451?profile=original3692159855?profile=original3692159759?profile=original3692159774?profile=original3692159872?profile=original3692159788?profile=originalHmmm ,,,what if I !!3692159815?profile=original3692159887?profile=originalthere problem solved !!

    I was using a Canon digital camera, coupled with a remote trigger. The idea was to use the camera for fpv (video out to 2.4ghz), and remote trigger for pictures with the Blip. Unfortunately, the Blip interface was very unreliable so that's scrubbed the project for now.  For my purpose, clearance is an issue, so (using the body attach points on the frame) I created a flat hood that extends out just over the front and rear wheels. I bottom hung the camera off the hood, which put it just over the front wheels. So now the top of the crawlers frame is its highest point. I opted to mount my antennas on the rear of the hood in the same manner. The 2.4 GHz was workable, but I may give 900 MHz a try. I just like the idea of using one camera for both fpv and still pix, but I've yet to get around the terribly unreliable interface. Oh well. Thanks for the cool videos, they've inspired me!

  • Developer

    Dave: Since you are located in the US, you could use a 900mhz video link. Combined with strategically placing the receiver you should get a clean picture within the short range of a house. You may get some video artifacts while moving, because of signal ghosting. But once you stop the signal should clear up. I played with a 500mW 2.4ghz system in a storage facility (steel and concrete) and got a suprisingly good result. 900mhz should be better suited for transmitting around obstacles.

    More importantly would be to select a good low light camera, and maybe even use some small flood lights.

  • John, I've been toying with the idea of using a very similar rig for under home inspections. FPV and remote camera to get pictures of discrepancies. How is the video quality when dealing with typical under house obstructions (Posts, beams, quarter concrete walls)? Any chance you'd run your crawler under your house and post a video? Might be fun... but then again, you might end up really earning your name "Crawler"! Lord knows I've crawled after mine more than once!

  • T3
    Relaying the signal does work well if you can get the repeater up in the air. That would definitely work and extend your range.
  • Moderator

    Back a few years ago (maybe still) a lot of the police setups for their vehicles used equipment that transmitted UP.  The signal would bounce off the atmo or relay equipment installed on tall buildings. 


    Maybe you need to setup a relay baloon to get the distance you'd like.  Plus that would be too cool to get to the mid-range point in distance then deploy the balloon from the ROV so that your signal could be relayed back to your ground station.  This could help with some obsticles as well.

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