Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs son

Adding R/C to your Powerwheels vehicles? Using R/C parts on your Powerwheels?
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durb69
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Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs son

Post by durb69 »

My son Has Down Syndrome and he loves riding anything motorized but still has not got the concept of steering so I decided to make him something that I could steer for him until he learns. He is turning 3 in a few days so I figured a great birthday present would be this turned into R/C!
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Through some research on this great site and some help from Jornum1 I figured out the most reliable way to convert the steering to RC with a linear actuator. I took a few pictures of the vehicle that i will post bellow. I plan on adding some fun little goodies to the project including headlights/tailights, orange padded vinyl seats to match the color of the vehicle and provide some comfort as well as protection from sitting on a hot seat in the sun. I will post progress as I make it. I cant wait to see my sons face on his birthday!

First a picture of my son and I.
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and now the vehicle before modifications.
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Last edited by durb69 on Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by speakerboy »

Good Project! I hope you have all the parts, because "a few days" is pretty soon!
Peg Perego Gator x 2, PW Jeep Fire Truck, Jeep Hurricane, 12V Kawasaki Quad
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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The parts will be here by friday or saturday. His birthday is on the 27th so I wont have much time to get it together but it should be pretty quick to assemble I hope lol.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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So i have spent many late nights working on this project now and I have gotten a huge amount done. I will try to get more pics soon. I failed to take many "in process" pics so i will try to get some after. The camera on my cell phone died so its a pain to get pics in a hurry. So far I have installed an additional 12v battery with built in charging system, Electronic speed controller, a Linear actuator and controller board for the actuator, a receiver for the remote control, custom made bench seats with orange marine vinyl, and blue led's over top of each tire, under the front, rear, and sides with an on/off switch. Coming soon will be buggy head lights and tail lights. I ordered the headlights and I am still in search of the tails I want. I also installed some white LED,s in the center of the back to light up a custom license plate I ordered with my sons name on it. We are celebrating his birthday this sunday so I should make the deadline pretty easy at this point. I will install the tires on it tonight and get some pictures with the Underglow lights on.

here is a pic of the seats. I relocated the straps a little to make it look more like a regular seat/lap belt. I think I am going to make a 5 point harness for it though. Just need to find the straps to do that. Here is a few pics from this morning just before I left for work.

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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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this is the speed controller I installed. Its a china made item and it was dirt cheap so I just hope it lasts! i figured it was worth a shot. I will let you know how it works out. The bench test was flawless. The only thing about it that I was thinking it is missing is being able to program it in any way. But that is really not a big deal.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/High-Voltage-ES ... 20d19a4625

The transmitter and receiver I am using is a Flysky FS GT3B that I already owned. I love this controller and it is only $40.00. All i needed was another receiver for this project.

http://www.hobbypartz.com/79p-gt3b-carradio-lcd.html

I decided to go with a linear actuator and controller board from Firgelli Automations. This thing was super easy to setup and install. The company sent me the wrong item and over nighted me the correct part on saturday delivery. Great customer care! Funny thing was they sent me a controller case instead of the board so i ended up with a free controller case out of the deal!

http://www.firgelliauto.com/product_inf ... cts_id=311

The buggy lights I ordered.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251231759466?ss ... 1439.l2649
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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still missing the head and tail lights and the license plate. but for the most part it is complete.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by Jornum1 »

That looks killer! How does the RC work out? I am curious how that ESC works for you.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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So far it seems OK. I have some kind d of issue with the system cutting out. Not sure what is causing it yet. Don't know if its cross talk. It studders while running sometimes. Also the whole system shuts off some times. Don't know if its the overheat protection in the power wheels system or the ESC. I'm going tostart with eleliminating the systems device first and see if its the ESC. I'll put a standard fuse in place of the over heat sensor.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkJekUsb ... H7b7j9Ewfg[/url]
short night video

check out the lights!

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I cut out the grill area and added a stainless steal grill with backlight leds for effect.
Last edited by durb69 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Last edited by durb69 on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by Jornum1 »

That came out awesome! Great job, his face is priceless!
Love the accent lighting and the SS grill.
My son would love that, orange is his favorite color.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Thanks a lot! I spent many nights up working till the wee hours in the morning to get it done in time. That SS grill is something most people probably don't notice but I just had to do it ha ha. Thanks again for your advice!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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I have got to get some more pictures on this! I have some more detailed pictures of the build. I wanted to make a quick update. The ESC works awesome but it recently got wet and powered up afterwords. The vehicle got stuck in a rain storm. I figured that the ESC did not get wet and when i powered it up smoke came rolling out of the unit. :o So I ordered a replacement ESC and I am making it waterproof using liquid tape just in case it gets wet in the future. So FYI to other builders. If you intend to use a non waterproof ESC you might want to make it waterproof just in case. :D
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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some more in process pics that i should have posted earlier lol.
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Last edited by durb69 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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http://youtu.be/FqSkj9XX6E0[/url]
video at night.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by pungohboy »

I have a quick question. I am planning my RC build for my son with CP and was thinking on getting a similar setup for steering the actuator you linked http://www.firgelliauto.com/product_inf ... cts_id=311 comes with the LAC board (or looks like it) does this actuator return to center when you let off the steering wheel on the controller? Another question, does the ESC get hot while running? The price is intreguing but since my Bigfoot has no good place to mount the ESC without removing the whole body i dont want to risk it running hot. Thanks for any help you can provide. And great job on this project it turned out great.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by Jornum1 »

Yes that is the one you want. Previously you had to buy the actuator and controller separate from two different sites from Firgelli. Firgelli.com sold the board and firgelliauto.com sold the actuator. But it looks like they are offering it in a package through firgelliauto now which is nice.
To answer your other question yes that setup will return to center. Any actuator with potentiometer feedback will.

I cant speak specifically about that esc, but if you are worried about heat try cutting some holes and running a few fans to keep it cool. If it were me I would also try to make a access door so you can get at it easier. Maybe cut a square and use a set of hinges and a lock? I am not familiar with the bigfoot either though, so I am just speculating.
Good luck!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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The ESC I used is great! I waterproofed this one with liquid tape and silicone. I drilled three small holes next to the fan in a hidden location so it can get fresh cool air. I haven't had any issues whatsoever with it getting hot. I have run the vehicle for three hours before and still had no issues. So for the price I gotta say its a great value ESC! We take my son out driving at least 3 times a week. We take his buggy most every place we go except malls and stores. Any outside event we bring it along. It gets a lot of attention! People really freak out when they see that its radio controlled lol. Then they see all the other custom stuff and just say WOW! It has been a lot of fun! My son absolutely loves it too!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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if you take a look in this pic you will see the fan on the ESC if you look close you can see the 3 holes i drilled. This seems too keep it plenty cool. This is also in an enclosed area.

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Last edited by durb69 on Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by pungohboy »

Awesome thanks for yalls input. I think I'm going to copy your setup hopefully I can get the actuator mounted on my Bigfoot it's a little smaller than a 2 seater and looks to be tight I will be posting a build thread once some parts get here thanks again and keep the videos coming. Your son looks like he is having a ball.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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No problem! I look forward to seeing your project.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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I love this! I just picked up a metal frame/body Porsche and plan to mirror your build. Do you have a link to the 12v battery you bought? Have you been happy with it?
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by rcdad0622 »

I love this! I just picked up a metal frame/body Porsche and plan to mirror your build. Do you have a link to the 12v battery you bought? Have you been happy with it?
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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I used the factory battery for the power to the ESC. And I used a battery and charging system I took out of a battery jumper pack I bought at Walmart. I will try to find a link later. The battery is smaller and works killer! It powers the lights and the steering servo really really well!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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I used the factory battery for the power to the ESC. And I used a battery and charging system I took out of a battery jumper pack I bought at Walmart. I will try to find a link later. The battery is smaller and works killer! It powers the lights and the steering servo really really well!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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That's a great idea! Looking forward to the link.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schumacher-XP ... r/15140203

This is a little newer than the one I used but it is basically the same thing. I had the jump pack laying around and figured I would just use this to my advantage. It was nearly $40 or more for just a battery so this worked out great. Just split the unit open and remove all the electronics. I put the electronic components in a box and ran the wires out to the battery and to a 110V power cord I had laying around. This works perfect. When i plug the car in to charge I just connect the charge cable I wired in for the external battery system. I plan on this powering up a stereo system in the future. I have thought about adding a 12V cigarette lighter port as well as a battery jump connection. Imagine leaving your lights on in your car and rolling up and saving the day with your kids power wheels HA HA HA!

take a look at this diagram I made for you. If anything is not self explanatory let me know. I can help.

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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by rcdad0622 »

Perfect!!! Thanks. I got my controller in the mail, as well as the ESC. I'm still deciding on steering, as I think know I am going to to a servo gearbox setup. The body is at the body shop now, so I'll start a thread fairly soon. Thanks for the help!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

Post by rcdad0622 »

Here is the start of my thread. More to come.

viewtopic.php?f=26&t=15135
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Awesome! Glad I could help you out! What made you want to go with the gear servo? Also what kind of gear servo exactly are you thinking about?
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Thats pretty rad!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Thanks! Our son loves this thing. I cant wait for the snow to go away so we can get it out again. When I ask him if he wants to go for a drive in his buggy he gets all kinds of excited lol. I have a few new things to add as well. A new stereo and speakers, Some sound effects, New rear tires, and probably some more LED lighting in the interior.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Coming soon I will have a custom dash and stereo installed with subwoofer! As well as custom paint by a local airbrushing pro! I'm pumped!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Dude that thing is awesome!! Did you ever think about making it tracked so that it would run in the snow? I was thinking about whether that would work for my Kidtrak Dodge Dually, it would require lifting the body or adding some extra axles to manage the track but it seems possible...? Then again I don't see how you could steer it... Maybe if you added some skis at the front controlled by the actuator like a proper snowmobile? Hopefully it won't be a problem again for many many moons so I have time to dwell on it!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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fourth of July 2014
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Watching fireworks in his buggy!
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Just being his handsome self!
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs

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Added a 5 point harness from a children's car seat this summer for my 8 month old. Enjoy.
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Re: Build thread-Monster traxx dirt racer for special needs son

Post by Mr. herrera »

What configuration you choose for the linear actuator? How much force is enough to steering? Thanks in advance
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