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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently received an e-mail asking for help. A dog trainer Soso Whaley, had a chance to get her dog on the David Lettermen Show's "Stupid Pet Tricks" segment, but she was having problems with the RC car she bought. After talking with her for a little while I had her send me the car to see what I could do to fix it. Once I received it I found it was a "Barbie" SUV type of vehicle that a kid would use to put a Barbie doll in and drive it around. It sure didn't have enough power to haul around a 5 pound toy poodle. Since it was powered by 8 "AA" cells I decide to try and put in a regular 6 cell RC pack in it and see if that would supply enough juice to get it going.

I installed the 6 cell pack and sure enough it had more power. Now to throw in a 5 pound bag of sugar and see what would happen. Wrong!!! After a few minutes the gears started slipping in the rear end. This wouldn't work so it was time to set out for something more suitable to use.

I looked through my RC catalogs for ideas, headed down to Radio Shack to see if they had anything and finally stumbled into Wal-Mart to find a child's ride toy that was designed for 2 year olds.... perfect! You can see the size of the truck in the picture to the left and how it compares to a 1/10 scale Touring Car. Now here is what I did to make it "poodle ready".
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Prepping the Truck

The first thing I did was cut out the bed of the truck to allow the poodle to sit in it. I made a "box" to go inside the bed with a plywood floor and cardboard sides covered with a burlap material to give the poodle some traction. The floor of the box is covered with outdoor carpet to make sure the material didn't get snagged. The sides are held in place with Velco to make sure it was secure while letting it easily be removed.

Now we move on the the "guts" of the thing to see if we could really make it Poodle Powered.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Servo & ESC Installation

Unscrewing the body I found a pretty simple setup. The truck was equipped with a 12 volt lead acid battery powering a Mabushi 770 motor. Now we just needed to figure out how to fit in some RC gear and we'd be all set.

Turning to the steering we needed to find a way to get a servo to turn the front wheels. I knew it would take something with some power so I chose a Tower Hobbies TS71 servo with 130 in/oz of torque and metal gears. I also used a Kimbrough 1/8 scale servo saver just in case the poodle decided to bag a few walls. I was able to attach an extension to the stock steering linkage and have the servo move the wheels. The servo was bolted into place and that part of "project poodle power" was done.

Power was controlled with a DuraTrax Blast reversing electronic speed control. To the left is a "mock up" for the layout of the electronics. As you can see there is lots of room to work with and placement was not critical.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Custom Controller

The controller would need to be custom made to allow for our pooch to be able to easily make the MT move. We wanted something simple but at the same time reliable. For this part I used a Hitec Lynx AM radio.

The radio was taken apart and stuffed into a 3' x 6 project box. Since the controller would always be close to the truck I wasn't worried so much about range as I was easy use.

The main circuit board was bolted to the bottom of the box, the antenna screwed into the side and the steering centering attached to the cover. The tricky part was getting the steering to work with peddles.

The trigger was cut off of the throttle control and it was bolted to the box. I then attached the handle of a toothbrush to the throttle control to produce a "rocker" that would let the peddles move the control from forward to reverse.

A power switch was mounted on the outside and it was then powered by a 9 volt battery. Not ideal but it worked well enough in the close proximity we were working with and still allowed about 15 minutes of usage before the battery needed to be changed.

You can see the completed control (with the controls labeled). All our pooch needed to do was press the Forward or Reverse peddles and she was on her way! No, the dog wouldn't be doing the steering as that would be preset before the "run", but this was the way it was designed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Completed Project

Here are a couple pictures of the completed Poodle Powered RC Monster Truck.

You can see how the controller will sit in the bed of the truck for easy use. After some training it was found Betty Boop (the Poodle driver) liked the controller sitting on the bed rails rather then the floor. No problem as the Velco used to secure the controller to the floor also works well on the bed rails.

The PPRCMT proudly displays the Team RCV stickers on it's flanks with DuraTrax and Hitec stickers on the tailgate just to let everyone know who built it and the equipment it uses.

The dashboard now houses the charging jack for the 12 volt battery and the gear shift is now the power switch for the truck. Also, by putting the "shift lever" in down position it connects the charging jack to the battery so there is no chance of powering up the truck while it is charging. This protects the charger from blowing out.

One last view from the front. You can see it almost looks stock and since the truck is rated for 50 pounds, it should be durable enough to last a lifetime... a dogs lifetime that is!

Original plans were that the Lettermen show would have the truck on it's Stupid Pet Tricks segment. That didn't happen but the Truck and Betty Boop was on Animal Planet's Pet Star program.

Products used to build the PPRCMT


 
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