Every now and then we come across a seaborne Raspberry Pi project that gets us excited, and today is one of those days. Maker and developer Ramin Sangesari is using our favorite microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi Pico W, along with a Wukong 2040 to power a WiFi-operated toy boat.
The project is built upon a plastic toy boat purchased at a local store, but Sangesari assures that any plastic toy boat should suffice or anything that can float like a piece of foam. It locomotes thanks to a fan that receives control commands from a Pico W that’s connected to the Wukong2040. If you haven’t heard of this board before, you might want to check out our Wukong 2040 review. This board makes it easier to control multiple servos, is Lego compatible and has space for an 18650 battery.
The boat relies on an L9110 fan module for locomotion. Sangesari chose the motor from this module as it can be controlled using the Wukong 2040 rather than the L9110 driver. He also decided to use a GeekServo 360 for its Lego compatibility.
Because the unit is battery powered, it’s possible to seal it in a watertight container. This keeps the electronics dry while the fan propels the boat in the water. It’s crucial that this project uses a Pico W, as Wi-Fi is necessary for the remote control feature. The boat receives commands from any device capable of reaching a web browser, like a smartphone or tablet.
Sangesari opted to use the Arduino programming environment to program the project. On the project page, Sangesari shares a link to a GitHub repository called Arduino Pico, which has everything he used to program the Pico with Arduino. You can read more about how the software side is set up over at the official project page.
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Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.