Here is a quick parts list of the cheapest items we could find that are similar to what we used. The choices and flexibility you have with this are vast. Any robot that takes incoming serial commands could be controlled by this project, or you could hack it to work over BlueTooth too.
That’s a total of just $30 for a remote controlled, GPS having, text-to-speech talking, roaming robot! the shipping costs could eat up your budget so buying local helps, or you might want to pay slightly more for parts to get them all from the same supplier where possible. You can save time by buying fancier parts but you should still be under $50 before shipping.
Truckbot kit without Arduino
A quick  5-step guide to putting together the truckbot is:
  1. Laser cut pieces in cardboard or acrylic using the PDF file from the source code
  2. Attach breadboard, rear caster, 9V battery, servos, and Ardunio using strap ties and glue
  3. Glue servo arms to wheels and attach with the small servo screw
  4. Connect wiring for servos, Arduino, breadboard, HTC USB board, and battery
  5. Mount phone with large strap tie and insert USB plug to bottom

You can find more details in our picture galleries or this slideshow of a full kit.

19 Responses to TRUCKBOT

  1. Navic says:

    The micro servo looks like a standard servo. It would have to be modified for continuous rotation, how does that work?

  2. ryan says:

    I am working on an article about modifying the servos. For now you can check out our image gallery of the process and also look for other websites that have explained it in more detail:

    The short answer is that you have to snip off some plastic and then replace a potentiometer with two resistors.

  3. Pingback: Neon Green Acrylic Truckbot Shines Bright «

  4. Jef says:

    Can we have an update with the new components ?

  5. Hello,
    My name is Lucas and i’m a graduate student at the Interactive Telecommunications Programe at NYU. I’m building one of these for my final projects and hope to tinker it once its done. The hex full breakout board is sold out everywhere and i do not understand why i need the htc usb connector. Wouldn’t i be able to cut a mini usb wire, which wold be hooked up to my G1, and connect the wires to the breadboard?
    thank you

  6. ryan says:

    You should be able to use this HTC USB connector just fine:

    It is much harder to solder to but is cheaper and will do the job. You can also try using the HTC headphones that came with the G1. It is the audio lines that are being used for the serial transmission so you need those extra pins that you won’t find in a mini USB cable.

  7. if you are going to use third party USB cables, makes sure that they have the RU or UL mark for best performance.-‘,

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  9. bluecat says:

    I’m trying to test the apk which is came from
    with HTC earphones & G1.

    I run the loopback function, but I cannot measure any signals from any of the 4 lines.

    Can anybody help?

  10. Coolguy says:


    I am trying to work on this as part of my university project. The videos on youtube show that you are using a red-sort of arduino board, and I am not too sure if this bare-bones board is a replacement for that, or in addition to it. Can you provide some more links on the exact micro-controller that’s supported for this project?


  11. you can always tell the quality of USB cables by looking at the thickness of the cable. thicker usb cables have higher quality ,,:

  12. Alex says:

    I am interested in simple communication with my android htc phone. I want to use the breakout board from sparkfun. All I need is a push button attached to the phone, (via the usb breakout board) and a simple app that can measure the time between button clicks. Can anyone point me in the direction so that i could design this app. I suspect i could attach the button to a ‘high’ connection on the breakout board, and ground, and the phone recognizes when a connection (button press) is made.


  13. Travis Lotek says:

    Ryan: re continuous rotation modification –

    I recommend a trim pot vs 2 resistors unless they are really really low tolerance resistors or you have measured them with DMM. Otherwise mismatched resistors will cause drift in the servo. Then you’ll need a bigger fudge number in your code to go straight, perhaps reducing top speed. you may want to test each servo with tachometer to determine this fudge factor that you’ll either add or subtract from the PWM duty cycle.

  14. haroonbms says:

    hi, can i use samsung y s5 360 android phone with arduino with usb slot.. will my phone get damaged..

  15. Zubair says:

    Hi your work is great.
    I just wanna know ,is.HTC Android G1 the only option for the project or there are other phones supported.
    Like i have the sony ericson x8 and samsung galaxy s ll.
    I develop java android apps and i use these phones to test the apps.
    It will be good if i can use the same phones which will reduce the cost for this project

  16. Raf says:

    Hi Ryan! The first link seems broken ($16 Bare bones Ardunio) what you mean for bare bones?

  17. Why visitors still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe the whole thing is existing on net?

  18. ritu says:

    Can we have an update with the new components and more details of this particular issue.

  19. pappa says:

    It is much harder to solder to but is cheaper and will do the job. You can also try using the HTC headphones..

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