Dejan Levec

WiFi Car

I have been planning to make Wi-Fi enabled car for quite a while (from last October/November), and I have actually done something to get to that goal. The point where I stopped was when I was trying to use my old iPhone as car controller. I tried for a while, and I got to the point where I could control motor via iPhone from my PC and Android phone. Sadly, I couldn’t transmit video from iPhone’s camera to my PC and at that point I gave up.

Every one in a while I would remember this project and thing about it for an hour or so, but that was it. However, about two weeks ago I read about 3G router (TP-Link TL-WR703N) sold in China, that costs about 15€ and supports OpenWrt. It seemed cool and I ordered one, and I finally received it a few days ago.

I have been playing with it for the last two days and I got OpenWrt, USB, lighttpd and mjpg_streaming working. Now I can stream video from connected webcam, and control peripherals connected via Arduino.

This router seems like a good platform with OpenWrt support, 32MB of RAM, WiFi, USB and serial port for all sorts of projects from robotics to home automation. You couldn’t want more for such a low price; it’s cheaper than Arduino Uno.

It has some downsides, like only 4MB of internal EEPROM memory which means it can hold only a minimal number of applications, and you will need to install others to external memory like flash drive. Like every memory, it has limited number of write operations, so you need to be careful and use it as little as possible.

Today I added USB hub and 8GB flash drive. Hub is connected directly to router’s USB port pins, and it currently has two (out of four available) used ports. First is connected directly to flash drive, hidden below hub’s circuit, and second is wired to USB socket for webcam.

I plan to use third port for AVR micro controller connected via USB using V-USB library. Micro controller will currently only be used for control of car motors, but in the future I might use it for something more.

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