Remotely Controlled Battery Operated Spin System
This page will detail the conversion of a Hedstrom BOSS to remote control.
Questions or comments, please email email@example.com
Visit theVideo Archive! for video of the boss in action or visit Tyler's Links Page!
This is actually the second BOSS that I have converted to RC. The first was converted as a novelty for my own amusement. My 13-month-old son Tyler will use this BOSS. I didn't think it was fair for him to have all of the fun....
I began his project by searching for a BOSS to convert. After having no luck at all, I had bid on another small child's ride on toy on EBAY. After the auction ended, I received an email fromAlf at KidsWheels www.kidswheels.com . KidsWheels specializes in components for kids ride on vehicles. After checking their web site, I noticed that they carried parts for the BOSS so I emailed them concerning my desire to purchase a complete BOSS. I was pleasantly surprised when I received the following pictures:
Along with the pictures I received a description that indicated that the toy was in excellent like new condition less batteries and charger which were available for an extra charge. I placed the order and about a week later I received the used BOSS and the new trailer as pictured above.
These pictures show he Tyler helping dad install the 12 volt 17 amp hour battery, which was too big to be installed inside the body and the BOSS on its first trial runs before the conversion.
The original retrofit plans called for the installation of computer joystick on the BOSS for local control that could be remotely activated for local control by riders with the motor skills to drive the vehicle. While I had the details of this all worked out with components available from Carl of Diverse Electronic Services (http://members.tripod.com/~divelec/) I decided to go with the standard off the shelf reversible RC car speed controls and forgo the joystick. The speed controls I chose to use were Novak (www.teamnovak.com) Super Rooster and the radio I chose to go with was the Hitec FocusIII AM on 27Mhz. While this was not the frequency of choice, it was the only frequency the radio was available with for surface use, as it is a radio normally used for aircraft. The main reason I chose this radio was its built in mixing capability. The fact that it would allow one handed control of the BOSS was also appealing. In the future I plan on utilizing the third channel to operate 2 or 3 auxiliary functions such as lights and horn. The above items as well as some nice flexible 14-gauge wire were purchased locally from HobbyShack (http://www.hobbypeople.net/home.asp).
In the following pictures you can see the installation of the two speed controls on a 5" by 5" aluminum plate which will be screwed onto the BOSS where the original joystick control was. Notice the fan which insures that there is adequate airflow over the speed control heat sinks and the installation of a 40 amp 12 volt relay which is connected to the emergency stop switch which also doubles and the main power switch. At some point it may become necessary to add an additional key operated on off switch in addition to the E-Stop switch to prevent UN-authorized use and any unexpected power on conditions.
After speaking with David Coombs of VeeTail (http://www.veetail.com) I modified the receiver slightly to accept a standard GM replacement car radio antenna. The addition of a shielded antenna cable allowed me to use a nice durable telescoping antenna mounted on the rear of the BOSS. This also seems to have eliminated all of the glitching that was evident when the factory antenna wire was routed in close proximity to the speed controls. The following pictures show the receiver with the female antenna plug adapter connected to the receiver. Strain relief is provided by using hot melt glue squirted into a make shift mold made of tin foil taped to the end of the receiver. Think I may have voided the factory warranty...... The antenna and the adapter cable were purchased from the local AutoZone retail store.
The transmitter was also modified slightly to get the proper throttle action coordinated with the correct stick movements. I simply swapped the two stick potentiometer connectors and changed the wiring on the associated pots to match the wiring scheme from the original pot connection. I know this sounds confusing, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill try to explain it more clearly.
Power for the BOSS is provided by 2 Yuasa 12 volt 7 amp hour sealed rechargeable lead-acid batteries wired in parallel. I purchased these batteries new as well as many others which were pulls from Alex Gong "Battery Man" if interested you can email him email@example.com you can also visit his web site at http://www.aventrade.com
Alex has always been very helpful in making the right decisions when it comes to selecting the right battery for a project.
A 24 volt 5 amp sealed battery charger that I bought in an EBAY auction provides charging. Note the Anderson PowerPole connectors used on the batteries and the charger. The speed controls connect to the batteries with a parallel connection and the charger places the batteries in series for charging.
Here you can see the Power Pole connectors on the yellow and blue motor wires coming from the speed controls. Notice that the connectors are polarized differently from the main power wires which prevent wiring mistakes that would cause a meltdown. The other 2 pictures show the BOS awaiting battery and speed control installation as well as the internal wiring for the motors and the auto antenna mounted on the right rear of the vehicle.
In these pictures you can see the batteries have been installed, the blue closed cell polyurethane foam has been used to hold the batteries in place while the Gray foam has the receiver nestled inside a cavity cut from the centers of 2 layers of foam. The gray foam keeps the receiver securely positioned as far away from the speed controls as the cabling will allow. The last picture shows the battery access cover installed as well as the anxious test pilot waiting to go for the first shake down run!
These pictures show the undercarriage of the BOSS, the chain drive for the front and rear wheels and the gearbox.
March 12, 2000
We now have about 7 sessions using the BOSS.
The battery charger seems to bring the 2 batteries to a full charge within less than 4 hours after around 1 1/2 hours of continuous operation on both pavement and grass. Battery life is quite impressive. After around 2 hours of use, top speed has fallen off a few percent but there is still ample power left for even more run time. I will need to bring along a digital voltmeter on one of our trips to try and get a better feel for the actual battery capacity.
While the BOSS performs adequately on short grass, it looses traction in deep grass if you don't keep the momentum up. Yesterday I hooked the trailer to the BOSS to try and get a feel for driving with it attached. Backing up is a real challenge, I am starting to get the hang of it but I will need more practice to master it. The BOSS pulls the trailer just fine even with Maggie the 70# family pet in the back. When Red (the 20# family pest..err I mean pet) rides on the boss with Tyler, the added weight gives the BOSS much better traction.
The following images are from BOSS Excursions
I will continue to add pictures of the BOSS in action!
Tyler is about 14 months old in these pictures!
BOSS Meets Track Hoe
This is Tyler cruising up to one of the largest Track Hoes that I have ever seen! This piece of equipment was being used in the complex behind our home to dig new sewer lines. There is also a smaller CAT version, but it is parked next to a large open hole in the earth so we did not venture close enough for any pictures.
In these shots you can see the BOSS next to the BEAST
These pictures were taken shortly after. Tyler has not figured out that the BOSS is electric powered and he thinks its out of gas so he is looking for the nearest gas station!
If he had seen the gas prices at the pump today, he would really be glad that the BOSS is electric powered.
To Be continued....