Dashboard for RaspPi-controlled toy sailboat with Node-RED

Sail Away

© Lead Image © shamain, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © shamain, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 215/2018

With Node-RED, you can create a web dashboard that instructs a Raspberry Pi to set the rudder position on a toy sailboat.

My daughters and I have built a number of toy boat projects with an assortment of Arduino, ESP8266 (WiFi), Bluetooth, and radio frequency interference (RFI) components, but the version we created for this article using a Raspberry Pi and Node-RED [1] offers one of the simplest solutions. The sailboat uses a basic catamaran design with a Raspberry Pi mounting inside a waterproof container. With Node-RED dashboards, you can control the sailboat's rudder from a smartphone. The complete Node-RED logic comprises only six nodes.

Building the Sailboat

Of the many different building materials from which you could choose, K'Nex construction pieces [2] are lighter than either Lego or Meccano, and they allow you to create reasonably large structures with a minimum number of pieces. If you do not have access to K'Nex pieces, popsicle sticks and cardboard would offer a good low-cost solution.

To build the sailboat we used:


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