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First attempt at a RC bot, PLEASE help! :-)

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ROBOT420:
Hello, I am glad to have finally found this forum! I am doing your basic remote controlled power wheelchair base, and I was wanting to make sure how to go about keeping the speed control as well as the charger plug. I have a Jazzy powerchair, a Sabertooth 60a motor controller, and a transmitter and receiver. Any tips or advice that will save me some head scratching would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Steve

jlizotte:
Steve,

I just finished interfacing to a working wheelchair, but I kept the wheelchair electronics.

Am I correct in assuming (since you mention the Sabertooth) that you're bypassing or removing the onboard wheelchair controller? If so, what do you mean by keeping the speed control?

Am I also correct that you plan on using your wheelchair motors at 24v, and that's why you want to keep the charger wiring?

John

PS. two VERY IMPORTANT TIPS (from experience) : 1. ALWAYS test your chair up on blocks, wheels off the floor. If your controller or your code screws up, wheelchair motors are very powerful. You can get injured or some serious damage can be done to your workshop/testing area. Put it on blocks every time you change code or hardware, and test it there first. And 2. Install a kill switch somewhere on the top of it. In case it comes off the blocks, or say, gets interference from the remote while using it, you or those around you need a quick way to kill the power to the motors. A big red switch (illuminated if possible) is the most intuitive solution for this.

ROBOT420:
Thanks John! Two great points, shopping for a big red button now!
 I do plan on using the chair batteries as they have been replaced recently.
I am using the Sabertooth for ease of use in wiring up my receiver, once I have this one under my belt I will try other ways no doubt.

jlizotte:
What model Jazzy is it?  Do a google search for "Jazzy xxxxxx service manual". You can find most of them online, and many of them will give you the pinouts for the connectors like the charging port, etc.

Also, don't forget (if you're using the Sabertooth), wheelchair motors have electronic brakes in them that must be released before energizing the motor circuit. The wheelchair controller usually handles this. I mention it because if you wish to use the brakes, you'll have to control them before and after you energize the motor. If you're not using the brakes, you can remove them from the rear of the motors. Either way, you need to be aware that they are there. The motor won't spin until you release the brakes. The brakes are engaged by default, and must be energized before they release.

ROBOT420:
Great point! Thanks again, the Sabertooth has regenerative breaking and reverse (so it charges the battery's when you stop somehow?) I will see about the breaks though.
The "speed control" that is on the stock controller lets you adjust the speed at full stick. If I just use the Sabertooth will it only supply what the motor(s) need(s)? I want full speed (such as it is) but I do not want to melt anything. Thanks again, anything else you can think of?

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