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Multi-speed Remote Vibrator

Vibrator Receiver

There are remotely controlled vibrators on the market, but all I know of have one failing. They're either on or off, with no remote control over speed. Likewise, I know several people (and know of many more) who have made these toys by hacking parts from remote controlled playthings, typically cars. This project uses that approach, but with the addition of a few simple components provides the flexibility of six different speeds. It also has neat cases!

Difficulty: Moderate

Special Materials

Remote control car toy, a basic full-function one with forward/back/left/right but no proportional steering or drive. Remote must have two seperate sticks/wheels for drive and steer. Personal cassette player (i.e. Walkman) for the receiver case... an old one, the larger the better. Toy cellular phone or walkie-talkie (also a large one) for the sender case. Electrical components available at RadioShack.

Destroy the Car

The first step may be the most fun. Destroy your remote controlled car. Unscrew, unsnap, and even cut as necessary to get the parts you need away from the junk you don't. You want the battery holder, the receiver/power director circuit board, and perhaps the drive motor. You might find interesting uses for other parts, so don't throw them away blindly. Hack the sending unit. Keep the sender circuit board and antena.

If you're using the Walkman case idea, destroy that too. You want all parts of the case itself, including knobs and buttons visible from the outside.

Salvaged pieces

The picture above shows all of the parts salvaged from car, controller, and Walkman. Also in this picture is an inexpensive 9-18 VDC motor from RadioShack, a possible vibrator choice.

Receiver Case and Battery Holder

Unless using one of the new "micro" remote cars, both sender and receiver components are going to be fairly bulky. While the finished units could be concealed in a purse or fanny pack, I prefer a disguised case hanging in plain sight. A number of cases made for other goods make handy receiver and sender cases for this project. I used a toy cell phone/walkie-talkie for the sender and a Walkman for the receiver. Other options include an actual cellular or cordless phone case, portable CD player, small fishing tackle box with belt-clip, or of course generic project cases to be concealed in pocket or purse. A big advantage of the walkie-talkie is that it came with a built-in antenna that looks natural on it.

The Walkman case requires heavy modification, and the specifics depend on your specific parts. My parts barely fit inside the Walkman case, so I had to cut away almost every protruding piece of plastic to make enough room, including two of the four closing screw towers. I used a Dremel extensively during this process, using both a cut-off wheel and steel cutter.

Likewise, everything extra had to be chopped off of the battery holder. In the picture above, the holder is almost intact as it comes from the truck I destroyed. Every spare bit of plastic was buzzed off.

I used both silicone and Liquid Nails on the case, gluing the cassette and battery access doors shut, and battery holder and receiver circuit board in place. Again, the Dremel with cut-off wheel was used to shape the buttons, headphone jack, and tuning knob, shortenning them appropriately. These things were glued in place, completing the illusion of a complete unit. I placed electrical tape over the cassette window, although paint would also have worked.

Final steps on the case. I shaped two openings in the top of the unit to hold the output jack and power switch. Each is held in place with two very small bolts.

Assembled receiver

Electronics

If you're only interested in a single-speed model, you can move on to the sender unit and vibrator. However, following the simple schematic below will give you 6-speed remote control.

First, some prerequisites. This circuit was designed around the sender/receiver combination that I had on hand. It may require modification to work with yours. My (old) remote control truck was powered by eight AA batteries. Input voltage to the receiver board equals 12 VDC. In it's original purpose, there were two output channels. The drive system, powering the motor that turns the wheels, puts out 9 VDC in either polarity (+/- or -/+). This will be used to run the vibrator itself. The steering channel outputs 9 VDC, also in either polarity. However, it originally operated an electromagnet to steer the car. This channel doesn't have the output capacity to run a motor. It will be used to change the vibrator speed.

Take a look at the schematic:

Receiver schematic

Circuit Inputs/Outputs

A & B are the two leads from the drive channel. These originally connected directly to the drive motor.

C & D are the other outputs from the receiver board. They connected to the electromagnet that steered the car.

E & F are the final outputs the the vibrator motor. I ran these leads to a jack, so I can plug different vibrators to the unit.

Components

Diodes (D1, D2, D3, D4) - Basic 1A/50V diodes, part 1N4001. These allow DC current to flow only in the direction of the arrow.

Resistors (R1, R2, R3) - I tested to find appropriate values using a potentiometer. You may need to change values if using a different voltage. R1 = 10 ohms. R2 = 15 ohms. R3 = 33 ohms.

Relays (2) - SPDT 9 VDC mini relay, RadioShack part number 275-005A. Nominal coil voltage should approximate the output of the steering channel, since that voltage needs to activate the relays. Note that this is a SPDT relay... that is, it has an output terminal that is normally closed (N.C. in diagram) and another that is normally open (N.O.). Contacts should be rated at 1A or more.

Power Circuit

The power circuit providing vibrator current is in black in the schematic. Each output lead feeds the common terminal of a relay. Lead A goes through the first optional resistor to provide two different levels of current. If lead A is positive (sender saying "go forward, Mr. Car"), D2 passes current and the R1 is in the circuit, reducing current feeding the relays. If lead A is negative, D1 passes current and this resistor is not in the circuit.

The two relays are wired identically, with a resistor (R2 & R3) between the NC and NO contacts. Outputs E and F come from the two NC contacts. If a relay is tripped (and only one can be tripped at a time), that resistor is in the circuit.

Control Circuit

The control circuit is in red, and draws power from the steering channel of the receiver board. This circuit trips one relay or the other if current is present (the remote says "turn this way, Mr. Car"). If lead C is positive, D3 passes current and the left relay is tripped. If lead C is negative, the opposite effect occurs.

In Operation

Here are the six possible speeds:
Sender CommandSpeedResistance
Backward1None
Forward210 ohms
Backward + Right315 ohms
Forward + Right410 + 15 ohms
Backward + Left533 ohms
Forward + Left610 + 33 ohms

Sender Assembly

There isn't anything fancy about assembling the sender. Mount the board in whatever case you've chosen, and connect leads to the two required switches. You'll need one three-way (center = off) toggle for the drive control and a three-closed position switch for the steering channel. You might be able to use a second three-way switch for the latter function, by my sender doesn't send unless the steer connection in the "centered" (don't steer) position is made.

I couldn't find a switch with three closed positions. Instead, I bought a 1-pole, 12-position rotary switch (RadioShack part number 275-1385A). This provides the required three options by turning a knob. Here's a picture of the inside of the sender unit. As with the Walkman, the parts barely fit inside this toy cell phone case.

Vibrator Sender

Vibrators

I'm currently working on three different vibrators. Two are salvaged from vibrating dildos that Adam & Eve sent me free with my order ;). The third will be made from scratch using the car motor and a plastic Easter egg. Pics to come, eventually.

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