Arduino Enabled RC Sailboat

While in the HCDE program at University of Washington, I took a Physical Computing course which introduced me to Arduino.

My current project is to incorporate an Arduino into my 30 inch radio controlled sailboat that I built a few years ago. My end goal is to integrate the Arduino to automate basic sailing controls like sail trim and rudder control.

To start, I want to collect information from the boat and transmit it to shore.

  • Wind Direction in relation to boat
    • Gathered with a wind vane connected to a rotary encoder.
    • Will show the apparent wind in relation to the boat. Apparent wind will change based on boat speed, this is fine because the sails are trimmed to the apparent wind.
  • Boat Heel and Pitch
    • A three axis accelerometer will detect boat heel as well as pitch.

The system consists of two Arduinos, one on shore and another on the boat.

  • The on-boat microprocessor gathers data from the sensors, does some data formatting, and then sends the data wirelessly to the on-shore Arduino.
  • The on-shore microprocessor receives the data and displays it on an LCD screen.

In the future, I may include additional data

  • Sail Position
  • Wind Speed
  • Boat Speed
  • Location of (or proximity to) other boats
  • Location of course markers

1 thought on “Arduino Enabled RC Sailboat”

  1. Hey great work with the Arduino sailboat dash. I especially like the home-built absolute position encoder wind vane! I am working on a kickstarter project and am looking for some help with the arduino end of things. I have done a handful of successful projects before. If you are interested in discussing a collaboration or some freelance work give me a shout via email. Thanks David


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