We made a few versions of the littleBits paddleboat, using bluetooth, IR (infrared with TV remotes) and wireless Ethernet (ESP8266) for control.
For sure the easiest approach is to use a litteBits wireless transmitter and receiver. This method is a hardware only solution and no software/coding is required.
For the wireless littleBits approach the following items are required:
- 1x littleBits mounting plate (comes with base set)
- 1x littleBits fork module ($12)
- 2x littleBits dimmer($8) or slide switches ($10)
- 2x littleBits power module with battery ($6)
- 2x littleBits DC motors (o5) ($19)
- 1x ittleBits wireless transmitter (w12) Bit ($40)
- 1x wireless receiver (w11) Bit ($40)
- 2x wire Bits
- duct tape
- thin card board
- tupper ware
The paddleboat circuit had the two DC motor bits connected to the wireless receiver bit. A power bit was connected to the input of the receiver bit.
We tried a few designs for the paddle boat, so experiment to find out what works best for you. The most important thing about the design is the paddles, they need to be waterproof and long enough to touch the water. The first step is to cut four rectangles out of thin card board (cereal or cracker box). For our design we used 2″x4.745″ (5cm x12cm). We cut even slits half way in each paddle blade, so that the two pieces would fit together. Next we put the paddles into the littleBits motor attachment and covered them in duct tape (you need to make sure the card board is completely covered).
A 6″ (15 cm) wide dish would fit the littleBits mounting plate, and we used duct tape on the bottom and side to secure things in place. We found that our boat floated a little higher than we wanted so you might need to add some weight.
We connected the power module to a fork module and then the fork module powered our dimmer modules. We mounted all the components on a littleBits mounting plate, and we taped the battery to the back.
Despite the fact that the motors do not turn very fast we were quite surprised how well the boat worked. The motors have a “left” and “right” toggle switch. This toggle switch is used to set the forward direction.