Converting an RC car to a boat
Released on: 2009-05-04

You may remember the car that could drive on the ceiling. It didn't last very long. So now I've turned it into a boat.

This episode was filmed out in the field in a different style to normal, so I'm really interested to know what you think.

Risks

What you need

Assembling the boat

Make something that floats. It's that simple. I chose foam, wire and tape since it's easy to work with and adapt to your requirements. I technique that worked really well for me was bending the wire into the shape that I wanted plus some extra length at each end to stick into the foam. It's _really_ fast to assemble and pretty tolerant to abuse. It does tend to become lose over time though.

Working with the electronics

Most RC toys will come with some form of circut protection across the motors to prevent surges going back to the Electronics. They're aren't there to be pretty. If you're using a motor that wasn't originally with the particular electronics you're using, make sure you put on the circut protection earlier than I did!

Static protection is also extra relevant since foam is a great source of static.

I think you'll find any RC car that you come across now will be pretty simple to wire up. However my old car that I've had since I was a kid was an exception... so you may find some. This one operates on 2 voltages (1.5v (1 battery) and 6v (4 batteries)). This creates the issue of uneven battery drain since one of the 4 batteries is used twice and will therefore become unbalanced with the other 3 batteries. In reality this isn't a high end device so it should be fine as long as it isn't run all the way down, but it's good to be aware of.

Most modern electronics are pretty forgiving about being wired up wrong to a certain extent. This board wouldn't even give the slightest sign of life until everything was precisely right. With this in mind, I didn't feel adventurous enough to fiddle with the extra circut board that hangs about. It looks like it's supposed to drive the light that used to flash, but the board is waaaaaaay too complicated for that.… Meh!

Hind sight

Anything else?

Once I had achieved everything I needed to achieve, it was time to be silly with it. I was out at a quiet bay where the waves were absolutely tiny, so I took it out. Salt is not your friend, so if you want to keep the electronics working, salt water is not clever. Still the electronics that I was using have been slowly dying for years, so it was fun... although I didn't think to film it... D'oh!

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

Imported image from the old system
Above: Imported image from the old system

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