Upgrading a Power Wheels with an Electric Speed Controller
The Power Wheels F150 is a somewhat expensive vehicle for kids, especially if you consider the various upgrades it has. It’s also a halfway competent little electric property truck, with a real throttle and brake pedal. The East Coast PowerUp DIY ESC Kit is basically a total conversion kit for the chassis and motors. The only electronics retained are the motors. Syonyk’s Project Blog writes:
There’s no good justification for this sort of project. It’s entirely a “Because I can!” project that takes a perfectly functional kids’ electric truck, makes it mildly nicer, more complex to drive, more real-car-like, and involves spending more money than I’ve spent on quite a few full sized cars.
Between this kit and the large lithium pack I built for her truck, it’s far from the cheap $20 find I got it for – and I don’t care. It’s fun, she likes it, and she’s learning that you can fix, improve, and upgrade things to make something rough around the edges an awful lot nicer. By the time she outgrows it, her brother will be able to drive it, and if it survives him (which is actually an open question at this point), I’ll probably sell it to someone else.
The kit estimates 4-6 hours of time to get it installed, and that’s actually accurate. There’s a lot of little bits and pieces to cut, crimp, and assemble. If you enjoy this sort of thing, it’s relaxing enough. If the thought of a spool of wire and a bunch of crimp ends terrifies you, this isn’t a project for you. Maybe pay for the pre-built option, but that’s twice the cost and still requires a bit of wiring.
See the details of the modification and the results in the blog post.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.