Autumn Update

Its been nearly two months since R2’s last outing, a much needed break to get a whole load of repairs done to him. This year has been quite hard on various parts.

Foot drives

So far I’ve had two sets of tyres scrubbed down to the hub at events, mainly from trying to drive on rough concrete. The Banebot wheels are great for nice smooth indoor surfaces, but definitely aren’t hard wearing. R2 now has a nice set of Colson wheels which will hopefully last a lot longer! Along with this I’ve added padding and keyhole slots to the battery boxes to reduce rattle and make removal easier.


The week before Manchester MCM, R2’s amplifier decided to stop working for some reason. Cue a quick search on eBay and Amazon to find something I could get delivered in time. Unfortunately all I could get was a 2x50W one, which turned out to be way too weak for a busy event like an MCM. Since then, I’ve got hold of a 2x100W amplifier which is now fitted and sounds great (and loud).

Dome Lights

I’ve had no end of trouble with my dome lighting, from my first set of teecees getting failed LEDs, to a set of RSeries having the buck converter blow and melt some wiring. Oh, and my fancy VADER PSIs seem to have started failing too. So now R2 has a nice new set of RSeries, I managed to get one of the VADERs to work again for the front, and I’m going to put an old Teecees PSI in at the back.


As well as constant repairs, I actually found time to do some upgrades. The code had a major refactor, as well as adding in options to control with a PSMove navigation controller. Other code updates are:

  • Joystick change API
  • Dome and drive both use packet serial with PS3 and PSMove controllers
  • Config file updates (auto generates if not there)
  • Made failsafe more safe

Lastly, I have created a smoke machine from an ecig, to give the malfunction effects a bit more magic smoke.

Stealthy control

For a long time I’ve wanted to make a much more stealthy method of control. When I first started R2, I’d considered using a Wii remote and nunchuck, but I realised that as I’d already done the PS3 controller code, it wasn’t that much different to use a PS Move navigation controller. They show up as a standard joystick in Linux, so easy to interface with.

As the code for this wasn’t going to be changing much from the ps3 code, I pretty much just copied it over to give me a foundation. Currently it only supports a single navigation controller, but the plan is to allow two controllers to give me more options and things I can trigger.

The main drawback at the moment is the lack of dome control, but that just gives me more reasons to finally get round to doing some automatic dome functionality.

Battery life is an unknown at the moment, and as with the ps3 controller it doesn’t seem to charge unless plugged into a computer.

Along with doing this code, I also worked on getting it easy to switch between the different control systems. There is now an API call to list and select a different joystick, with options to call it via both web and telegram at the moment.