Getting Started

Good afternoon,
I am in Memphis, and this is my first time being involved with the Go Baby Go program. This is also my school’s first year doing anything with the program. Could you please give me any advice on choosing the models or hardware that are easiest to modify, most reliable, cheapest, etc. The school we are paired with is in their second year of doing it, but I am kind of shooting in the dark from the engineering side. Any advice, help, or general comments are greatly appreciated.

To give a little more background, the two main things that need modifications are gas pedal to a push button, the seats need to be modified to be more safe, and there needs to be something to reduce the acceleration and deceleration. Other than that, we are wanting to look into providing a remote kill switch as well as any other things that might be beneficial to the kids as well as their parents.

Thanks!
Clueless Mechanical Engineer

The Fisher Price “Wild Thing” is great allround vehicle to use. The slight smaller “UpRider” is nice too. Letting the family choose the vehicle is a nice touch too

As far as seats, if the OEM won’t work you can always use Bumbo seats if the kiddo needs a little more support. And for max support you can try using a bicycle carrier, the kiddo’s own car seat, or go fullblown custom using PVC etc.

Wiring wise, lots of info on this site & elsewhere. At our location here in Knoxville we prefer to use a pre-fabbed control we call “Motherbox” to cut down on day-of-stressed-out-wiring-hassles. For a kill switch, we wire in a Fimco 12V remote stop from Tractor Supply or Amazon.

Welcome aboard :slight_smile:

I would recommend checking out #manuals-and-guides and see if there is an existing modification that meets your needs. I agree with Pete that the Wild Thing is great, but I’m not sure that I would suggest it as your very first build as it can get complex depending on what you need it to do.

For many cars, a kill switch, a big button to replace the gas pedal and some support structure (often PVC) is enough to get a kiddo rollin’.

Thanks Pete-from-POP!
It looks like the Bumbo seats would work well for someone not needing much trunk support; however, most of the children I met required a good deal of trunk support. I think one of the children has a tomato seat (something like that?). We were looking at the harness type thing (https://www.wondergears.com/products/child-secure-seatbelt-vest?variant=46918883976&currency=USD&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=google+shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhdWBxvLQ4QIV01mGCh3AhgHzEAkYDCABEgLBMfD_BwE) and just making a seat out of foam and plywood/delrin.

When you say prefabbed, what do you mean? Is this something you build in house and just have a plug and play feature, or is this something you purchase online?

Does the kill switch wire straight into the battery and kill all the power or just the drive motors?

Are you with UTK?

Thanks,
Sam

Thanks gavin.wood!

I will check that out for sure!

Are there any models/brands that are better/more affordable than others? And that I should stay away from?

What would make a car need more support structure? I thought that the OEM frame/support would suffice for all the children I met.

Motherbox is an Arduino based control system, along w a Sabertooth 32amp motor controller, squeezed into a project box … with leads for right motor/ left motor/power supply plug-n-play. We build it inhouse & have them ready to rock so that we don’t have so much pressure with figuring out wiring when the kiddo is waiting. The Fimco plugs in line with the power supply, bn battery & Motherbox.

Oh … & not at UTK, tho I’ve reached out to them for help

We like the Costzon Maseratis at about $130 for a 6v car, but you have to look over the wiring. They are cheap and they have a lot of fun features.

For slightly bigger kids, we like the Best Choice Jeep. There are manuals for both of these on #manuals-and-guides. Both of those options have remotes that the parents can use to control the cars as needed.

The Fisher Price ones are hard to beat for quality, but they are also more expensive.

The cars just have a hard plastic seat and usually little to no head support. Many of these kids need postural supports to help them sit up properly. We usually just use kickboards, PVC, zip ties, lots of hook and loop (makes great seatbelts), cloth harnesses etc. and work with a PT or OT to make sure the postural support works for the child’s needs. That said, if the child you are building for doesn’t need it, then you’re in good shape.

We used about 20 UEnjoy cars this past summer for our GBG Camp at Sidwell Summer. We used the Maserati, the Mercedes, and the one listed on Amazon as just “Unenjoy Kids Electric Ride On Car.” We also uses some Best Choice Jeeps. All worked well for modifying. 3/4 inch PVC pipe perfectly replaces the roll cage on the Jeep if you need to change that up.
Two of our UEnjoy Mercedes cars had some loose solders, so we had to re-solder them but that was pretty easy. UEnjoy also had excellent customer service when we needed some spare parts and chargers. They sent them to me directly because I couldn’t find them available for sale anywhere.
We also used some life vests for kiddos who needed extra support.
In general…
I highly recommend you pick one size of bolt, washer, and nut - ours are all 1/4-20 and then different lengths. Otherwise you’ll end up with lots of mismatched parts. We do the same for PVC items - all of our pipe and couplings are 3/4 inch. They fit the existing holes in the cars really well and you can cut and wrap a pool noodle around them and secure with duct tape.
If you get quick change chucks for you drills, kids can change the bits on their own safely, which helps things move along.
We also always have loads of colorful duct tape and stickers (especially the large “skateboard type”) for decorating. This helps keep the fast finishers busy decorating while you’re helping another group troubleshoot.

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