Engineering Projects/HoverCraft/Howard Community College/Spring2012/p1550JJIW

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Electronic Sections Expected

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Problem Statement

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Develop an Arduino based autopilot system for a RC Hovercraft.

Team Members

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Initially we agreed to construct a basic hovercraft from scratch. However, after a working toy hovercraft was located, the project changed directions to trying to program the hovercraft to react to sensor inputs.


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Hovercraft Project1
Hovercraft Project1


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The project began with the group deciding to design/build a basic working hovercraft. Initially work on this hovercraft commenced with us breaking up the work between group members. The project was split into 4 parts; design, hovercraft movement coding, ESC programming, and hovercraft construction. However, between weeks 1 and 2, we were able to locate a working toy hovercraft. This pushed the project forward alot. All the group members came together to decide upon new jobs and a new direction for the project.

With a working hovercraft already available, our group decided to work on powering/controlling the hovercraft via an Arduino and various sensors in place of the RC controller's potentiometers.

New jobs were decided upon; power control, RC Hack, ESC programming, and infrared sensor programming. However after some slow progress, a few jobs were swapped, and the final project jobs were divided as follows; power control, RC Hack, infrared sensor programming, and touch sensor programming.

We got each individual job finished, but we have not gotten to make them all work with eachother yet.

Decision List

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List all formal decisions made with links to their documentation such as a decision tree or decision matrix.

Material List

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Materials used

  • Toy Hovercraft
  • Arduino
  • Motor Shield
  • Infrared Sensor
  • Touch Sensor
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Camera

Software List

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We used the Arduino software for tutorials for use on the RC Toy Hack, as well as creating new code to allow for additional potentiometer.

We also used 123D for preliminary design of a hovercraft.

30 Hours


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All projects create new tutorials of technical details future participants are going to want to know. They are going to be separate pages that are linked to here.

Next Steps

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The next project should included fully hacking the RC Controller to control the hovercraft via the arduino. After RC Control is integrated, work should be done to replace the RC Controller input with a sensor input(infrared/touch/sonar).