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Remotely Controlled Excavator 8294
A fully motorized LEGO Technic Excavator, with 5 Power Functions motors and proportional infrared remote control from a PC with dedicated hardware and software.
About this creation
See the YouTube video as embedded below for the functions.


Available are instructions at photobucket, but beware this is a pretty hard (re)build! Plus you need various extra parts.



It is clear that LEGO set 8294 is a very nice model, with good use of the linear actuators. What i liked less in the model is that manually operating it makes you turn and turn and turn...
So i decided to have a go at it with power functions motors. The LEGO provided instructions to combine with the PF motor set are ok, and this saves your wrists, but it still requires manual driving and swinging...
So i took it all the way and fully motorized it.



By taking out the clutch mechanism i obtained space for three motors in the superstructure, mounting two IR receivers behind the cabin.
I totally revised the lower part with turntable, to get a slightly wider construction to fit another two motors and one IR receiver.

Because the swinging action is way too fast, and to control the five motors more easily, i used dedicated hardware and software on a Windows PC. This allows to fully control the excavator from a single joystick.

The details of the Power Functions infrared protocol are published by LEGO. From that i created a configuration file for WinLIRC, an application to send IR commands from a Windows PC. Sacrificing a RS-232 serial cable and an outdated remote control, i soldered an IR led, a diode and a resistor to the cable end. After starting WinLIRC and loading the configuration file, i managed to actually control Power Functions from my PC!
Then i wrote a Java application that translates joystick input into commands and sends these to the WinLIRC server.

Credits should go to a LOT of people who made this possible, by providing various tools, scripts and applications!

It is fair to say that the above took me elapsed several months, and i spent many hours on "research". Unfortunately, it is currently not possible for me to easily share the software, and i am sorry for that. I have not yet given up on that however, so maybe i'll manage some day...





Comments

 I made it 
  May 17, 2014
Dear Micha, this is a bit hard to tell. I solely used Power Functions motors for the above, so no NXT parts. Guess you'll have to experiment yourself what best to use if you want to motorise this excavator with the NXT. Play well!
 I made it 
  May 17, 2014
Yes Alex, i can share the config file for LIRC. If only i had an email address you want me to use for that?
  May 16, 2014
Is there any possibility to get your config file for LIRC? I'm searching the web for hours now and I didn't find one.. Unfortunately I'm too stupid to create one on my own.. So can you please send me the config file only! for LIRC? Thanks alot!
 I like it 
  March 25, 2010
Hi This is great!! I have just bought for my son the NXT 2.0 and I'm going to buy the 8294 excavator. I would like to build a similar application like yours.What do you think I need to use from the NXT and also additional parts in order to make it motorized? (I'm talking only about the hardware) P.S You can call me also by skype: michar9 (pls let me know when it's comfortable for you) Thanks Micha
 I made it 
  October 30, 2009
Hi Tom F, The config file i can share but requires email. Try my nickname at gmail, ok? Mind you i only logon once a week or so, so you may need some patience... on the other hand that should still be faster than compiling your own config file :)
 I made it 
  October 30, 2009
hey Dale Jay Long, Thanks for your upbeat comment! Indeed i have been pondering on how to best share this, not necessarily for big bucks though. It is relatively easy for me to share the LIRC config file, but then the hassle just starts, as i also made dedicated hardware (ok,ok just an RS-232 with resistor and IR-LED :), and programmed the PC to translate joystick input to IR commands. Effectively the LEGO Speed Remote Control now offers the same fine-grained speed control. All that seems to be needed is mechanically coupling that to a stick to get a LEGO joystick. Must have been done by now? Cheers,
 I like it 
  October 25, 2009
Your sitting on top of a GOLD MINE mate! You should be selling this with a temp copywrite. I'm sure you've pondered how many people would pay you a hundred bucks + for the software to make their lego's into joystick remote controled equipment. Lego should be on you like a duck on a June bug hoping you'll do this to increase sales. Futaba, Hitec or JR should be doing this with you. Please keep us posted.
 I like it 
  August 9, 2009
i was browseing mocpages one day and came across this. im happy to say that its great. i love and i had to make one for myself. mine is not fully remote vie wireless, i have a umbilical for air supply. ill be adding pics very soon but you inspired me to create my own :D
 I like it 
  February 19, 2009
This is really cool. Much respect is due :). would it be possible for you to share the WinLIRC configuration file with us to give us a head start with recreating pc > power functions control? Thanks.
 I made it 
  February 14, 2009
I intend to make a vid from both the hauler and the excavator filling it, both RC-ed. Now that I borrowed my motors to someone, it'll take a while...
 I made it 
  February 14, 2009
Ryan, Seung: I exploited the PWM mode of the LEGO PUF IR receivers, by sending special IR signals, generated with LIRC and a config file i made, and in principle can share. In turn, the LIRC server gets commands from my Java application that translates joystick input into these commands. Long way of saying: yes the tracks are also speed controlled.
 I like it 
  February 12, 2009
Wonderfull I want to know PF RC(With PC) , and want to see picture. Please... (--)(__)
 I like it 
  February 12, 2009
Did the software you are speaking of also regulate the speed of the tracks? Or did part of your installation slow the tracks? I installed 2 myself with the M motor and the excavator is screaming race car fast. By the way bravo on another great moc.
 I like it 
  January 21, 2009
i have that set and i will see if there is an easier way to administer the mods>
 I made it 
  January 21, 2009
Thanks Darren! Otherwise than the Technic, i do not have enough brown LEGO to make a proper Sandcrawler :)
Quoting Darren Adams Wow ! ... the video was great ... and i liked all the close-ups of the gears in action - of coarse, that's typical of a "gear head" protocol droid like me (lol) ... btw, what are the chances of you making a motorized Jawa Sandcrawler that's equal in coolness to your Excavator ? ... (hehe), just kidding ... but if you're up to it, let me know. :)
 I like it 
  January 20, 2009
Wow ! ... the video was great ... and i liked all the close-ups of the gears in action - of coarse, that's typical of a "gear head" protocol droid like me (lol) ... btw, what are the chances of you making a motorized Jawa Sandcrawler that's equal in coolness to your Excavator ? ... (hehe), just kidding ... but if you're up to it, let me know. :)
 I made it 
  January 4, 2009
Thanks!
Quoting Memory :D How sophisticated is the joystick control? Also, it looks like power level 7 is a good deal faster than what the PF M motors usually operate at. Would you mind joining the group LTEC? You're exactly what I'm looking for.
Define "sophisticated"? It is a LOT of hassle, where i failed replicating the setup on another PC :( It never occurred to me it *could* be faster, to me it seemed normal. Maybe the fast swinging action made you think so, but that is just turning an 8 t gear around the turntable at full speed. With the PF RC i get the same effect. I haven't discovered/appreciated groups yet, maybe i will later... Thanks for inviting either way!
 I made it 
  January 2, 2009
Thanks for your comment! Meanwhile photos are available too. With respect to the degrees of freedom, assuming for the argument that that is a goal in itself: I am not so sure which creation has more: you need to include the degrees of freedom IN YOUR HEAD as well! It seems to me your creations are at least as wonderful, and for sure more imaginative than my rather techn(ocrat)ic ones :o BTW it is not really stepless, because the IR protocol set by LEGO has 16 'speeds': 7 forward, 7 backward, 1 float and 1 brake. Cheers, keep up the 'wildlive' ;)
Quoting Egel Vuurzoon Incredible, all degrees of freedom fully and steplessly remote controlled! This is going way beyond building with bricks! My latest Wildlife creation has about zero degrees of freedom ...
 I like it 
  January 2, 2009
The photo's are missing yet, but the video shows the performance of the RC Excavator very well: Incredible, all degrees of freedom fully and steplessly remote controlled! This is going way beyond building with bricks! My latest Wildlife creation has about zero degrees of freedom ...
 
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Remotely Controlled Excavator 8294Technic


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