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Building a Wireless Kill Switch

When things become sentient, it's good to be able to remotely kill power.

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I highly recommend building something that scares you every once and a while. In this case, I’m planning to enter an autonomous vehicle into the AVC in 2016, and it's pushing my limits of comfort. A 1,000W motor with a large battery pack behind it means that if things go wrong, they go really wrong!

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The innards of the remote kill switch

For that reason, one of the new safety requirements of the AVC rules is a remote kill switch that allows the user to safely and remotely power down the vehicle. So here's a tutorial going into how I built the wireless kill switch based on the RFM69. And to demonstrate this... well... let's start with a margarita.

Vehicle Control Unit Electronics

Checkout the kill switch tutorial for the complete rundown!

How to Build a Remote Kill Switch

May 31, 2016

Learn how to build a wireless controller to kill power when things go... sentient.

Comments 11 comments

  • But what does the WHITE button do?!

  • Glad Nate is back at engineering. He is one of my favorite faces to see at Sparkfun!

  • Add an alcohol sensor to the remote and you could control the blender based on what BAC you blow.

  • So at 1:36 when you you were talking about the remote going too far away, for a moment I expected you to toss it off the roof.

    • Reminds me of the story about (IIRC) Niels Bohr when he was a school boy, and the teacher proposed this scenario: you have a very precise altimeter and need to find out how tall a tall building actually is. Bohr proposed several ("creative") methods, such as dropping the altimeter off the top of the building and timing how long it takes to hit the ground; compare the length of the shadow cast by the altimeter with that of the building on a sunny day; tie a (non-stretchy) string to the altimeter and lower it to the ground from the top of the building then measure the string; and (my favorite) go to the building manager and offer to give him the altimeter if he tells you how high his building is.

      So, Nate, be sure to measure the height of the building with the remote control!

    • Hah! I should have. Next time...

    • I got the same impression!

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