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I want to customize an RC car that I have because the controller is gone. I'm going to use an Arduino with a custom motor controller but I have no idea what to use for the transmitter/receiver. I've seen some IR sensors being used but I want something that uses a frequency channel. Has anyone had experience doing this? What is the easiest way to go about accomplishing a remote controlled Arduino car?

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That depends largely what is controlling it

Some options include:

  • wifi, if you have an expansion board, from a PC or phone (spec says: 66ft/20m)
  • bluetooth works great, directly from your phone (spec says: 32ft/10m - 320ft/100m)
  • 433mhz ASK transmitter/receiver from another Arduino or other hand-designed circuit (spec says: 100m/320ft)
  • Infrared receiver - from a TV remote! (range unknown, depends on remote & conditions; would not trust it 10m outside without testing).
  • Cellphone network - longest range (nationwide!). If you get a cheap android to do some of the work, you can use the phone's compass & gps & extra processing power, as well as the camera(s)!
  • Remote control. I know you said you lost yours, but in case someone else is looking here, you can hook up an rc receiver to an Arduino fairly easily. https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/348 for more info.

Many of these ranges specified will depend on the antenna. If your car can tell it's lost signal, then it can stop; otherwise you have to outrun it, or wait for it to hit a wall.

Edited to include cellphone network, and added ranges to options

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Here is a link to a pair of Arduino compatible wireless transceivers. One of the listed applications in the description is "remote control systems such as RC vehicles," so I think this product would suit your project well.

According to the reviews / answers to questions on Amazon, the transceivers have an reliable range of just around 120 feet, so this component would be entirely appropriate in a remote-controlled build.

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  • You need two arduinos for this, and 120 feet isn't very far, but thanks. +1 – Michael Rader Mar 24 '15 at 4:57

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