Dashboard for RaspPi-controlled toy sailboat with Node-RED

Mobile Controller

The final step, enabling a smartphone or tablet to connect to the Raspberry Pi, can be accomplished either by making the Raspberry Pi a WiFi access point or by tethering the Pi to a cell phone. You can find some great guides online on how to set up a Raspberry Pi as an access point (e.g., the Raspberry Pi Foundation website [5]). For this project, we used the simple tethering method. Once the Pi is tethered to a phone, the Pi's IP address can be obtained from the Wi-Fi hotspot users list on an Android device (Figure 8). The Node-RED dashboard is accessed on your phone with http://<pi_ip_address>:1880/ui (Figure 9). Assuming everything is connected correctly, you should be able to control the sailboat with your phone.

Figure 8: Pi hotspot address.
Figure 9: Node-RED mobile web dashboard.


Once you have mastered the basic Node-RED programming and sailboat construction, other projects are possible, such as motor boats, iceboats, and airboats [6].


  1. Node-RED: https://nodered.org
  2. K'Nex: https://www.knex.com
  3. TowerPro SG90: http://www.towerpro.com.tw/product/sg90-7/
  4. "Create amazing Pi apps without writing code" by Leah, Brooke, and Pete Metcalfe, Raspberry Pi Geek, issue 20, 2016, pg. 90, http://www.raspberry-pi-geek.com/Archive/2016/20/Create-amazing-Pi-apps-without-writing-code
  5. Raspberry Pi as an access point: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/wireless/access-point.md
  6. "Use your smartphone to control an airboat" by Leah, Brooke, and Pete Metcalfe, Raspberry Pi Geek, issue 11, 2015, pg. 94, http://www.raspberry-pi-geek.com/Archive/2015/11/Use-your-smartphone-to-control-an-airboat

The Author

You can investigate more neat projects by Pete Metcalfe and his daughters at https://funprojects.blog.

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