NOTE: This is a work in progress, check back often for updates. ;)

Update: 7/25/2018: Major redesign! As you can see from the first picture in this article the top of the tank started looking like a battery powered Franken-Junk! I quickly realized that I did not like the looks of it and I needed to come up with a different power scheme. I had too many little power packes to help power everything: tank and electronics.

I'm still using the NiCad brick pictured below to drive the power-hungry motors of the tank. This now fits inside the chassis and has a quick connect so I can swap out with the other brick I made. Note what looks like speaker jacks in the top right corner (pictured below), this is for the power brick. The Arduino and Motor Shield are now mounted inside as well. I can't believe how much I'm lucking out in fitting the components inside the tank.

Reconstruction of RoboTank

Even the 4 cell 9 volt battery pack fits nicely in between two posts. The 9 volts will be wired in parallel to provide power to the Arduino and all the electronics. Below is the shell with everything removed and also the ultrasonic sensor mounted inside as well. I'm hoping the only thing to be mounted on the outside will be an antenna for the wireless and a solar panel for charging. Work to be done. Stay tuned...

Outside view of RoboTank

-------------------------- ORIGINAL ARTICLE BELOW ----------------------
Actually any vehicle will do. I started with a $20 Walmart R/C Pick-Up truck, mounted the Arduino, a Ping Sensor, a little code and off it went. Then my days of watching Tim Allen on Home Improvement quickly took over. I had an old R/C Tank (18" Long, 9" Wide, 1.75" Tread Width). As you can see I stripped everthing out except the two drive motors, on/off switch, and the speaker.

Original stripped Tank

You would think the main challenge would be hooking up the electronics and writing the code to make it go. Well, that was the easy part; at least for me. What I under estimated was the power the vehicle would end up needing. I can see in my future where I make a plug-n-play power system for these types of projects. That is the big lesson I learned while ramping this thing up to be an autonomous vehicle.

Original Power Pack for Tank

The tank originally took a 7.2V NiCad power pack, so I went with 9v batteries. I wired 4 in serial, had a nice digital readout for the voltage. Regular 9v batteries worked but I wanted a rechargeable solution. This is where I made my mistake. I bought 9v rechargeable batteries and found out their amperage was too low to drive the beast. The treads would not even move. Did some quick research and found Sub C batteries were a good alternative with 2200 mAh. These are used in power tools. I bought these from Amazon: Combo: 15 pcs Tenergy Sub C 2200mAh NiCd Rechargeable Battery

New Power Pack for Tank

This is the new power source, not very elegant but powerful enough to drive the motors with no problem for an extended duration. They are NiCads so I can use my R/C balanced charger to recharge this brick.

Here is the tank as of today, and as I take a picture of it I realize that I need to dust it... I had it working with one Ping sensor but I decided to add two more one for each side. Front sensor is a Parallax Sonar and each of the side sensors are SunFouder HC-SR04. The Arduino Uno is the base board with a Motor Controller Shield and an Input Shield. Also controlled by the Arduino is a 24 Piranha LED Board available from Marlin P. Jones. The panel is small, but it is blindingly bright; it lights up a good 20' x 20' area. There is a light sensor that controls whether it comes on or not, I'm thinking for sentry mode. And there is a quad relay shield that sits seperately from the Arduino.

Black Tank with electronics mounted

Here is the location of the code as of today: Update: I am re-writing the code to match the rebuilt TankBot
More to follow as I try to make sense of all I have mounted to it and what I still need it to have, plus I need to dust it...