Driving an Arduino-powered RC car with a USB racing wheel


Maker connects a USB racing wheel to a web browser running HTML5 Gamepad API to drive an RC toy car through WebSockets and a Node.js server.


Mate Marschalko has created an Arduino-powered RC car that can be driven around with a USB racing wheel or gamepad. In order to wirelessly control the vehicle, the Maker connected the wheel to a web browser running the HTML5 Gamepad API.

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“The work started off by taking out the original radio and motor drive modules and the antenna from the car. I was left with two motors, one for steering and one for acceleration, and the plan was to rebuild the whole architecture using Arduinos,” Marschalko writes.

“I succeeded and the motors are now driven with a powerful H-bridge module (L298n) and the wireless connection is handled by two nRF24l01 antennas. The Arduino and the motors are both powered from the original 6V battery pack (4xAA).”

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An on-board Arduino Nano (ATmega328) is tasked with receiving wireless messages from an Arduino Uno connected to his Macbook Pro, which communicates with the Node.js server and browser. Looking ahead, the Maker hopes to add other features to the car, including a wireless camera, a more powerful RC battery pack and possibly a few more sensors and lights, too.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s original page, where you will also find more details on the JavaScript code. In the meantime, be sure to watch it in action below!

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