Electrifying the World's Most Iconic Wagon
The Little Red Wagon
Radio Flyer is a cultural icon in the United States manufacturing one of the world's most iconic toys. A little over a hundred years ago the company began making red wagons for children at an accessible price. Today, the company has a huge line-up of high quality children's toys along with high-performance electric bikes for adults.
After visiting the Radio Flyer booth at a recent career fair, I was given a miniature red wagon desk-toy from a recruiter. The little wagon sitting on my desk brought me so much joy I decided I had no choice but to turn it into an RC car.
I added a small brushed DC motor with 2 gears to the existing axle of the wagon. An ESP32 on-board the wagon communicates with a second ESP32 using the ESPNOW protocol to control the wagon. An L293D motor driver connected to a 9V source is used aboard the wagon to drive the motor. A small 9 gram servo steers the wagon with a 3D printed horn.
The proportional speed and steering control make the wagon extremely easy to drive. Additionally, the incredible manoeuvrability of the Radio Flyer wagon makes it possible to speed around a small apartment, drifting past corners and engaging the three of us roommates for hours :)
Here's a reel my friend made showing off the wagon drive!