I’m interested in building a Donkey Car. I hear the sombrero can make a build easier but requires a LiPo battery. Is there a suggested donor car that uses one already?
Most of the medium-end RC cars/trucks come with LiPo batteries and they will most likely have the required RC steering servo and RC speed controller(ESC). I believe the docs spell out the things to look for when searching for an RC chassis.
Thanks Doug. I’m new to RC, maybe that’s why I’m not clear on what makes a car suited or not. But the list of supported vehicles is appreciated.
No worries, we’re all here to learn about stuff right?
This video explains a lot and shows the basic components of an RC vehicle easiest to use with the donkey framework. RC Transmitter/Receiver type with separate RC Servo(steering) and RC ESC(electronic speed controller). note: the 3 wire control signal cable from the RC ESC also provides 5-6V on the red/black wires and this is used to power the RC Receiver and provide power for the RC Servo.
They donkey framework is designed to work with cars having the RC Servo and RC ESC. Some cheaper vehicles will combine electronics into one box( integrated ESC ) so the Servo has 5 wires and there is no 3-wire ESC control cable.
Thanks for the video. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time watching that channel
I need to save that link to pass onto others as often we get people with various gaps in skills and that does a good job at filling the ‘what really is the RC control parts’ needs.
Speaking of this, what is your background? Do you have experience in software development, hardware development, electronic control, or Linux experience?
I’m mostly coming from the electronics side. I thought building a Donkey would be a good way to start with machine learning. I done a variety of Arduino projects, a few Raspberry Pi things, and assembled a quadcopter. So I’ve heard of some of the RC parts before. But there’s a lot about the RC world that’s new to me (ARR vs RTR, Buggy vs Touring, battery charger programming). So I’m trying to see what I’m getting myself into.
The only way it can be a follow the step-by-step guide is by using exactly the parts defined in the documentation. Once you go off script, it’s not a production product and you now have to understand lots more about what’s going on. For example, I’ve seen people add a lithium battery to their car and then try to charge it with the charger which came with the car. Ballooned the battery and was probably not far from burning down their house. Also so someone force the lithium battery balance plug onto the PCA9685 connector and literally melt connectors and wires. In both cases there were instructions on how to connect things but it was all a black box and things went south when they guessed at how stuff worked.
Another option is to get a Linux system running and load donkey and the simulator on there. Then you can mess with the NN stuff in the simulator. You can also mess with the NN software on the rPi with a camera, PCA9685 and two servo’s connected. You’ll have to still learn how to connect power to the PCA9685 to power the servos but the rest of the donkey software can be stock. you’ll just be training it to move the servos based on you waving a flag or something infront of the camera. No car chassis needed.
Mixing batteries is no joke. That’s why I wanted to get a LiPo car from the start. Testing in a simulator is a good idea. Maybe I’ll get going with that while I wait for Hobby King to get the Mission-D back in stock.