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Customer Reviews
  • outoforder
  • Jul 13, 2024
Everything here component wise seems to be of great quality. The solder work on the boards looks to be good. The acrylic plates that make up the frame look to be professionally made. All body pieces have protective paper/cling on both sides so no scratches from shipping. Each piece seems to be well cut, they also include a tape backing on every acrylic sheet I assume to prevent pieces from coming apart during shipping.

They provide a piece of paper with a link to their website where you can download a RAR archive that they have put together a bunch of documentation and a few images. The file is named: ADR012-V5.0_PiCar-B_MarsRover_SmartCarKit_for_RPi-20240425.zip

This includes collection includes PDF's for:
An intro to this car
How to charge the included rechargeable batteries
Packing list of all components/pieces
17 lesson "basic course" directory. 17 different lessons covering various aspects of this kit like making the buzzer on the main HAT buzz audibly on the car (you can make tunes also).
Assembly PDF's including a couple stand alone images - The instructions are extensive and easy to follow.
8 lesson "comprehensive course" directory. 8 different lessons going deeper into things you can do with this

Personally I don't see any negatives with this kit, because I am already pretty technical. Is this a kit for some parent who is not already technical to "jump in" with their kid(s)? Or even for themselves? Or for some 12 year old who does not already have knowledge? Not in my opinion. I would say if you already have experience with Raspberry Pi's, setting them up to be used for whatever that would be half the battle and this will likely be a blast. If you have never downloaded a copy of Raspbian and setup a Pi before utilizing command lines and etc, you will want to read everything at least one time before diving in. They DO cover all aspects of obtaining the proper version of Raspbian and how to flash the image etc.. Not impossible but without a decent handle on the foundation of what this car revolves around (Raspberry Pi and its OS) you will probably just get frustrated and give up. There are a ton of individual guides on different sensors and functions of this car including a web based controller. If you want to go beyond this you will have to take what you learn from all of this and produce your own python code to accomplish that.

There is a github repository for this specific car that includes all the example code and more. adeept_picar-b2. This company has made other items and has github code for different things going as far back as 2013 so this company is not some fly by night place it looks like. If there are any bugs I am sure they will update the code, or even add additional examples from other contributions.

I will update the review after I have time to play around with this with my kid some. I just wanted to share what I have found so far for anyone who wanted to know more.
  • R. D. Hailey
  • Jul 13, 2024
BATTERIES ARE INCLUDED! I just didn't see them in the box. You do get two batteries to run the car, so I'm editing this review and removing the section about no batteries.
First, I want to be clear. This will be a multi part review. This is not a simple one-day project that will be quick to assemble and easy to review. THis is a complex project that will take a few sessions to build, and then code before I can evaluate it fully. So my plan is to write and publish this review in stages in order to get this posted in a timely manner.

The phases will be (1) Initial opening, manual evaluation, and video tutorials. (2) Initial Assembly. (3) Coding and programming. (4) Conclusions.

First, the box is packed to the rim with compopnents to build your rover. They are bagged in a thoughtful, logical way, making it easy to sort the parts. The only thing you will need to buy separately is a Pi. You might want to get a couple of extra battereis (2 are included). The correct battery is 18650. The car is set up to allow you to charge the batteries internally, so you don't need an external charger.

As for the Pi, the page says the car will run on any Pi Model 3-5, but when you look at the instructions, it says the Pi model 3B+ or Pi model 4 are preferred. Given that the Pi model 3B+ can be found for $44, while the Pi 5 goes for $71, you can save some dollars and get a longer run time on your batteries.

When you open the box, there's a sheet of paper that gives you the link to download the manuals, they are well written and very well organized. You can print them out if you'd like a physical copy, but I just copied the pdf files to my tablet.

The tutorial videos are all hosted on YouTube, but the website where you get the manuals also has a link to Adeept's page which links to all the videos. They aren't organized as well as the instruction manulas, but of the videos I've watched so far, the information is well presented, with an overview of the subject, step by step instructions to implement, and some basic troubleshooting.

I have my Pi5, and I'm going to start building tonight, following the instructions. For those familiar with the Pi, loading an OS should be very familiar, although in this case, Adeept recommends an older version of the OS to ensure compatibility. The install procedure is a bit different since we're not installing the latest and greatest, but the printed instructions prove to be a good guide for the process.

When I complete the build, I'll edit this and add the next section of the review. For now, I'm happy with the quality of the components, the instructions, and the video tutorials and I'm looking forward to the build.
  • T.L.
  • Jul 03, 2024
I'm a huge fan of the Omni Directional robot car that features a Banana Pi PicoW S3 from Adeept. This is my fourth or so Adeept Robot kit and like the others it was easy to follow the tutorials and get everything working.

- Banana Pi PicoW S3 (WIFI, Bluetooth)
- Mecanum Wheels (allow for the omnidirectional movement)
- 3 Line Finders (together as one unit to properly follow along a line -- ie 0 1 0 where each sensor detects the presence of the line)
- Onboard buzzer
- 4 servo controllers (uses 1 for the project to control the neck)
- 4 WS2812 "Neopixels"
- Ultrasonic module
- LCD display
- IR receiver and remote
- LED Matrix

This was my first use of a Banana Pi PicoW S3. It has an Espressif ESP32S3 on board. The board is setup to work with CircuitPython a flavor of python for microcontrollers. I did end up using Arduino with the board as well which I'll talk to later but CircuitPython makes it very easy to get started as it acts as a drive you can edit the code directly on. On top of that the popularity of the platform means a lot of additional libraries exist making upgrades feasible.

In the associated zip for the car they have assemble instructions, lesson documents, and associated code for using each element of the car. The assembly is pretty straightforward just requiring some care when attaching the wheels as the configuration to work is described in the document and any other setup will cause the car to behave erratically (the wheels are the key to the omni-directional movement).

The lessons are nice as you can see pretty easily how each of the individual elements come together to work. For example the line finder one is pretty useful as you can calibrate (via screws) each of the line finder units individually until you get it working great so you know later on the robot will be fine.

In addition to the lessons and their code there is the robot control code. There's logic for the IR remote to control the car in each direction and also the ability to control the code over its own access point (it uses the ESP32S3 in access point mode). I was able to send commands to it to control via a socket connection which was neat. They have an app you can download to control the car as well via that connection.

In addition I was able to modify the car myself to add some neat features. It wasn't too hard to add support for controlling the car via my voice using a offline voice recognition module over i2c. You'll want to make sure if connecting a cable to i2c you confirm the pinout of the sensor connecting. Pin 20 is SDA, Pin 21 SCL.

For control of the car via Arduino there isn't a built in guide but if you're able to read the schematics it's not too difficult. Some things to keep in mind: you need to use tweezers to hit the boot solder points while pressing reset to program the board in Arduino (you can use the Espressif Arduino core), the board uses the generic "ESP32S3 Dev Module" within Arduino so you need to refer to the pins on the ESP32S3 vs the board pins when programming that way.

So yeah, it's a great car with a lot of space for upgrading. The car is neat in regards to how you can control its direction. I'd highly recommend it.