Adding the “BlackBerry” to the BatBerry

Let me just say that today had both its ups and downs.  The downer was that the Discovery Channel got back to me and we won’t have the BatBerry being filmed next week for the HighTech Toys week on Daily Planet.  They just couldn’t get everything cleared with Warner Brothers to have it on.  I had mentioned before that the turbine sound effect on my throttle quadrant was my favorite thing on the BatBerry so far.  But I can truly say that the up-side of today’s progress beats that old favorite hands down :)

The video at the top of this post shows everything working, so I’ll step you through the details of how it all came together.  First I want to give a gigantic THANK-YOU to Rob Williams who did the circuitry work, BlackBerry app and Arduino coding.  Without his expert help I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off.  He even created me a sweet circuit board with the Wayne Enterprise logo on it!

One of the main goals of the BatBerry is to have the different parts of the car controlled by my BlackBerry, and today was when we made both the mechanics of the car and the software of the BlackBerry come together.

First we figured out the layout that we wanted for the relays. It’s actually next to impossible to find DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw) relays with a high enough amperage that will support the actuators under full load.  So simple automotive relays wired together gave us the same effect.  Once we had the layout all figured out, Rob started the soldering and I started the drilling and welding to create a mounting plate for all of the circuitry.

We created an area at one end of the mounting plate for a (+) Positive distribution block and a single (-) ground bolt.  There’s a total of 16 relays (4 for each actuator to reverse polarity) so each pair of relays shared a mounting bolt.

We also figured out a good place to mount the Arduino onto the circuit board that Rob made.  I marked and drilled out the holes for both the Arduino as well as where we would attach the circuit board to the mounting plate.  The Arduino was then secured to the board using some small zip ties.  As you can see, Rob gave the circuit board that added extra touch with the Wayne Enterprises logo that I mentioned earlier

I then created some raised bars above the mounting plate that would hold the circuit board. These were just small bits of tube that gave enough clearance to run the relays beneath them.  Once everything on the mounting plate was ready we attached the relays, circuit board, power distribution block and wired everything together.

You’ll notice that we also made some rubber feet for the circuit board so that it didn’t short out by contacting the metal of the frame.  The circuit board was also secured through holes in the frame using some larger zip ties.

If that wasn’t enough, we had to make sure that the system was powered by something extra special.  Regular electricity wasn’t going to be enough.  Instead we ensured that the Arduino had extra rainbow power :)

Last step was taking everything out to the garage and connecting it to the actuators to give them a test run.  The video at the top of the post shows how everything turned out.  The 12 volt PC power supply makes for a great tool when testing your circuitry.  That way you’re not dealing with moving around a heavy car battery.

I’m really pleased how well things worked and I hope you’ve enjoyed this new addition as much as I did :)

15 thoughts on “Adding the “BlackBerry” to the BatBerry

  1. Wow! What can I say, today I discover dis project at Crackberry BBM channel, with a link to the first post and then, splash! The project is very advanced! Congratulations to you and the team, it is really interesting, I will continue reading about this, i am from Argentina, I studies electronic engineering, also I am a great fan of Batman too, and I love my BlackBerry haha,

    1. Thanks! It is mainly a team of 1!! Me working on the car as my own passionate hobby :) I do get some help from my colleagues at BlackBerry from time to time to make all the technology come together

  2. Awesome! Is there any example Arduino / BlackBerry code available? I have an Arduino-controlled LED Dance Floor and would love to add some BlackBerry control to it.

  3. With the servos and other electronics (already in and forthcoming), have you thought about split electrical? Adding an AGM battery(ies) and separate alternator will allow the toys to keep running without risk of depleting the engine/pcm/essential power. I see up above you’re a 1 man team. If you ever need a hand for a day this looks like a lot of fun! I’d love to donate a day to the batmobile. (I’m in SW Ontario)

    1. unrelated, but have you been to Sayal? They’re in Mississauga and KW and often have a good range of relays. Depending on your budget, you could go for automation control relays (eg: Omrom), even solid state relays…but this might be overkill. A bunch of delco relays from a wrecker will cost you $5…

    2. I’ll be running a Capacitor the same way for running a ton of audio equipment so that I don’t see spikes on the system.

      The circuitry only pulls about 500ma when idle. So the only draw is when it is actually running the actuators. So I should be ok :)

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