Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Xbee Enabled RC Joystick Overview

Originally, I did this project to highlight how simple it can be to add a joystick to your robotics project using only:

  • Two Xbees (Series 1)
  • One Arduino
  • And one old joystick with a gameport connector

That is it. In this I also cover two things, how to hack those old joysticks all you electronics hoarders have (like myself) and demonstrate how to set up an Xbee as a data harvester and use some of the underutilized powers of the Xbee

The Overview

Here is a simple overview of the project. It doesn't get simpler than this.

Additionally, for the reasonable cost of an Arduino, two Xbees, and an old joystick you can find at a local thrift shop, you can have a multi-axis controller for you robotic project.

The Start - That Old Joystick

First you want to learn about that old joystick of yours. Check out Part I. I explain the process of modding your old Gameport joystick to work with a regular ADC you would find on a microcontroller.

Xbee Enabled Joystick, part I

Setting Up the Xbees

The next step in the project is setting up the Xbees. This explains how to set up the Xbee to automatically read values from the ADCs and digital inputs and send that information to a predetermined Xbee. The receiving Xbee is configured to receive that data and spit it out over the serial line using API mode

Xbee Enabled Joystick, part II

Finishing Up, Code for the Arduino and Schematics for the Xbee

In the conclusion I dust off my RC airboat, slap an Arduino to it, and demonstrate the final project. I include code samples for parsing the Xbee API packets and pulling out the ADC values from the joystick connected Xbee

Xbee Enabled Joystick, part III