Project Summary: To take a Big Trak, the Sci-Fi vehicle of the 1980s and bring it into the Internet of Things, wiring its motors up to a Raspberry Pi and controlling it through a web interface I will build
19/11/16I always wanted to play with a floor turtle at primary school, unfortunately it was broken so we never got the opportunity; so recently I thought it would be fun to play with a Big Trak. After finding a brand new, unopened one on eBay for £10, I couldn't resist and thought it would be a great time to have an experiment. The Big Trak itself is reasonably limited, being able to store 16 commands programmed on it, I decided that my next project will be cracking it open and wiring it up to a Raspberry Pi to allow control of it through a web interface.
I've ordered the parts to add to it and will update the post when they arrive!
28/12/16All the parts have arrived in a slew of packages from China Mail and Hong Kong Post. The components I've ordered were:
- Big Trak, look on eBay/Amazon
- Pi Zero
- USB Ethernet adaptor (don't get this one, 10/100 USB 1.1 will make you want to prise out your eyes)
- Breadboard cables (these are nice, good cables for the price)
- Micro-USB to USB cable, does what it says on the tin
- MicroSD card 8GB, good card (bear in mind no standard SD adaptor so you'll have to have one yourself)
- USB Mini Hub (good and surprisingly runs off the Pi Zero)
- Motor Driver Module
- Breadboard itself (seems good)
01/01/17A day of soldering and removing the old PCB from the bigtrak. The old cables for the motors were desoldered (the best I could without a solder mop) and new cables connected, although my soldering is not the finest thing in the world!
Instead of using D batteries, I've instead decided to power the motors using a USB power supply and a donor USB cable as shown in the pictures below, it works with a wall charger but I'll have to get a bigger power bank for actually including within the trak itself. Connecting the motors directly to power using the breadboard worked and spun them, although I haven't quite sorted getting the motor driver to work through the Pi yet, that will be the next task.