ALeggeUp's Power Wheel Mod Build Log

New side project, my son has been wanting a powerwheel for ages and I found a used one for a good price but it’s pink and Barbie so we’re going to spray paint it Batman black and add some LED headlights, breaklights, maybe some ground effects and a horn? If anyone has any other cool ideas I’d love to hear them, we’ll probably tinker with it for a while.


Rocket launchers and ejector seats would have some safety implications :slight_smile:. How about some remote control features so the car can be summoned?


Ooh, great ideas! I’d better not mention the rocket launchers, he’d want those for sure!

I think powering the wheels remotely wouldn’t be too much trouble to figure out, but the steering would be something new for me

Not that you’d be looking for the same kind of increase in specs, but check out the power racing series. Hackerspace teams fix up power wheels and race them around Maker Faire. It’s pretty impressive what they can do with some of them:

That looks like a lot of fun, I can see getting to that point before too long. Thanks for the link!

A larson scanner with a sweeping array of leds on the front grill might be cool. Like what they have on KITT in Knight Rider.

Oh ya! I could probably just use an LED strip for that, better get my power swap going

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If you really want to ‘sup it up’, add flashing LEDS with sound effects to seem like phasers. Maybe a dashboard panel with push buttons for the phasers and other sound effects like photon torpedoes, warp drive, star wars blasters, light saber, droides answering back ‘Rodger Rodger’ when he gives them a command. Turbo jet engine from batman.

Possibly a hand pump between the seats to shoot nurf rockets (which will soon get lost or destroyed so don’t worry about this one lasting long!) Might he like the top dome of an R2D2 unit added to the front or back?

Dual machine guns on either side of the hood with sound effects. Double points if you get part of them to vibrate when they are being ‘shot’.

A dummy gas pedal that goes ‘vrooom vrooom’

Add a gps with remote connection so that you can find him no matter where he ‘drifts off to’ in the neighborhood.

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I love you how you think! Those are all great ideas and he would love them. I think I can do several of them with what I had in mind so far, I ordered a strip of RGB LEDs for the front Larson scanner and might as well use the whole strip around the car for effects and I’ve got an Adafruit Sound FX board I was going to put in, just need to figure out amplification, etc.

I whipped up a Buck Converter Circuit (not sure if that’s the right terminology) based on the Power Swap course to Buck the 12V down to 5V for the LEDs and 3.3V for the micro (once again, thanks @ChrisGammell!) so if those end up working I’ll be able to do lots of lights and sounds easily.

Also, sorry everyone if it seems like I’m commenting too much, Discourse told me off.

I’m not usually a forum contributor, but there’s something about this one that I can’t get enough of.


We’ll allow it :smiley:

Fry’s electronics has several ‘kit’ projects including audio amplifiers of various sizes, probably higher power LED drivers for when you want to really make something bright.
I am not sure which sound effects board you have now. Adafruit has a 16MB onboard storage stereo sound effects board with 8 different input pins and built in 2 channel, 2 watts per channel stereo amplifier that you can connect speakers directly to. You will have to create the audio files on your PC, possibly compress them with OGG Vorbis, transfer to the card by USB. If you go all out on sound effects, you might want two boards! The second probably does not need the amplifier built in. Currently $20 for 8 sounds without amp and $25 for 8 sounds with amp.

They also have a 24 channel PWM card for $15 that is controled by SPI that will run standard LED currents ~20ma, but you can stack them up to 30V to run 10 or 20 per channel, and the outputs are constant current so you won’t need a current limiter resistor. With their superbright white LEDs (25 for $8) with 3.0V forward bias you could put as many as 9 or 10 in series off a 30V supply and the 18mA used would be well within the PWM channel’s capability. Plus RGB LED strip lights that either go all together or in sequence, plus RGB LED circles, electroluminescant strips you can have a lot of fun sprucing it up, especially at night!


Thanks @ChrisGammell, I was clearly fishing for that one :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

And for the tracking where he has gone, 433Mhz breakout card is a 433Mhz transmitter with a rang of up to 8,000m! Add a gps module to provide the location and have the trasmitter ping every few minutes.

Or get a gsm/gprs/gps shield $16 which combines a gps to get position and a cell phone based digital network to send the data (and send data back, like connecting to the sound effects board to make a one way radio!) so that you can find him not matter how far away he goes.


I’m jealous of your access to Fry’s, that looks like a cool place but we don’t have them up here. I’ll have to try to find one the next time I’m in the U.S.

Woah, that’s crazy… I doubt he’d make it that far on the battery (especially with all the extra stuff we’re adding). I have a cheap 433MHz radio thing from China I picked up on ebay a while back, I should experiment with that while I’m waiting for my deliveries.

If it is only the LEDs that are powered from the 5V then just use 12V, no need for another power supply. Just adjust your current limiting resistors.

Why not put those new transistor skills to work and design a transistor amplifier? :wink:

Get your new blinky board back yet?

That is what I will do for the headlight LEDs, but for the strip of APA102 datasheet RGB LEDs I will need to provide 5V

I hadn’t thought of that, I was just looking at a few ICs that would do it, but that might be an interesting challenge, I’ll have to look into that!

Not yet, it has been shipped by OSH Park but has stalled for a couple days at the border, I wonder what they think it is. Hopefully I get it by the end of the week.

Spray painted all the parts about a month ago but haven’t really done anything with it since due to end of school activities, summer trips and rainy days.

In the mean time the slow boat from China has started to bring me some of the things I ordered so now the fun stuff begins. I haven’t received my RGB LEDs yet, but I did get some other single colour LED strips (white, blue and green) and an EL strip to experiment with the lighting.

I also got this neat little FM/MP3 player that I thought would be a useful modification, frozen banana for scale (didn’t have a fresh one handy). I’m amazed by this little thing, it can read and decode MP3s off of a USB stick or microSD, tune FM radio, drive a display and has an infrared sensor for a remote control all for $3!

The board doesn’t look overly complicated, I’ve been able to identify the two smaller chips on the board as the EEPROM and FM tuner but I haven’t been able to find anything out about what must be the microcontroller. It is labelled as BCH5Y0Y.1 1638UDZ, but that doesn’t bring up anything useful in a search, anyone have an idea of what it might be?

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Great build, gross banana :wink:

As a banana, yes… but perfect as a banana bread ingredient. My wife makes a great banana bread.

That little mp3 player looks great, especially for $3. It has more features than my car radio :smile: Was that on alibaba?