Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A New Addition To The Fleet

 Well, we have another new occupant for the garage.

Yep, one of those battery-powered, 90% plastic, "Powered Riding Toy" contraptions that you see quite a few of these days. You can hear them rumbling around many suburban neighborhoods, and they make a very distinctive sound. I could ramble on about soap-box roller skate scooters, but I won't. This is 2020, and this is what kids play with these days.

As features go, this one is a nice one, in the "$300 Class" of Children's Powered Riding Toys, and it appears to be somewhat sophisticated as these things go. The most unusual thing about it, and I'd never seen one, is that this thing is run by Remote Control!

Yup, a "Certified Adult" can watch their offspring driving around, and completely overrule them. One of the buttons is labeled with a big "P", which the pidgin instructions indicate is for "Park", but it's description of operation leads me to believe it should be called "PANIC STOP" because if Mom or Dad mashes that one, it remotely kills the vehicle, and it stops in it's tracks.

It has a nice dashboard with a real-time display of the battery voltage when it's powered on.


The red button on the lower left turns on the LED headlights, and they're way better than the ones I had on that electric snowblower! The button on the lower right has the universal "ON/OFF" symbol, and there's a "FAST/SLOW" rocker switch above the left hand A/C vent. It switches from low range @1.7MPH to high range @2.4MPH. I'm guessing it just ups the voltage to the motors as this is the only "Speed Control" it has. The throttle is strictly ON/OFF when you either push down the floor pedal, or select "Forward" on the remote. It has NO brakes, and when you command it to stop, it takes a few hundred milliseconds to cut the power to the motors, meaning it keeps moving for a couple of more feet. The rocker switch in between the A/C "vents" selects "Forward" or "Reverse". Above the rocker switch where the radio would be in a real Jeep, is the battery voltage display.

And the steering is the same "Full Left" or "Full Right" from the remote control. The driver can steer it more accurately, but it takes some muscle because you're fighting the electric motor in the assembly they use to control the steering.

This type of Fully On or Fully Off control system is called a "Bang-Bang" control because you go all the way one way or the other. The Silicon Graybeard had an excellent post on Bang-Bang Control the other day, and how it relates to his A/C system.

This "Children's Powered Riding Toy" (I kid you not, it's a whole range of toys and manufacturers) is imported by "Best Choice Products", and has terrible reviews due to their replacement (or not) parts policy. If something breaks within the first 60 days, they give you a new one. After that, Sorry, Charlie! NO parts are available, meaning if something big takes a dump, that's where the entire thing is headed. So since it's here in the garage, and I'll be responsible for it's maintenance and operation, I figured I'd better dig in to it and see what makes one of these tick.

It has a 12 Volt, 10Amp/Hour battery, a very rudimentary motor control, and two 12 Volt motors, one at each rear wheel, driving the wheel through a gear box.


Motor Controller:



Gear Box:

The motor is rated 10,000RPM, so it's geared down quite a bit, giving these things their distinctive sound.

The battery has a 17 Amp circuit breaker in series with the hot lead, and each motor has a 10 Amp breaker.

I looked for something resembling a servo for the steering, and none was to be found. Then it hit me...it's part of the dashboard!

The steering "mechanism" on this thing is incredibly crude. The white star-shaped item is the motor-driven "Left/Right" steering "servo", and the steering shaft goes through it, and has a mating piece of plastic on it to key the shafts together. The "J-Hook" part of it goes to what would be a "drag link" in automotive terms, and that moves the steering arms.

 The gray cable is the 12 Volts for the headlight at the far right.

So that's the newest addition to the fleet, along with a quick analysis of it. If I gotta fix it, and I will, I'd best learn about what makes it tick.....


  1. Prediction. Within weeks it will be modified, a lot. Happy trails!

    1. HAH! You know me too well....

      If I do anything with it, it will be to disable the "steering servo" so The Little Guy can drive it. He can barely turn the steering wheel when he tries.

  2. Very cool. I'm with you and won't carp about orange crates on skate wheels that we had to play with.

    1. It's an interesting combination of "Make as cheap as you can" with a good sized dose of cleverness.

  3. That's going to be...interesting...

    1. SLW thinks disabling/bypassing/gutting the steering servo so TLG can steer it on his own is a splendid idea, and I agree.

      *I* have trouble turning the steering wheel. He's just hanging on to it, and when I hit the button on the remote control to turn it, I thought it was gonna launch him out of the car!

      As long as I can override his throttle settings, I'm cool with letting him learn how to steer it. He's getting really good at blasting around on his trike, so let's give him a wheel!

  4. Those things used to be just switches before they karened them up. On/off on the throttle and a master volt switch.

    1. I couldn't believe it's remote controlled until I started looking at it. As it sits, it's more a Real Big R/C car that the kids can ride in and have some control over.

      The bang-bang steering has got to go, though!


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