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Lets build a 3D-printed rocker-bogie MARS rover using esp12e

A Mars rover is a remote-controlled robot designed to travel on the surface of Mars. we have seen several Mars rovers like Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and Perseverance. these rovers are highly designed to operate on uneven terrains. Have you ever wondered how rovers navigate the rough terrain of Mars? Their secret weapon is the ingenious rocker-bogie suspension system. I was amazed with the 6-wheel rocker-bogie system. Because of this interest, I have made a 6-wheel rocker bogie model Mars rover. The major part of this simple model is 3D printed, this rover can be controlled by a dedicated remote controller or we can use a smartphone application. We can read the data of the attached sensors (any sensors) and we can see the data through the remote controller OLED screen. The rover uses ESP12E as the brain and L293D as the motor controller. The remote controller uses the same ESP12E microcontroller. the communication between the rover and the remote is using the ESPNOW protocol. So This project is perfect for anyone interested in space exploration, robotics, or 3D printing. Now let’s see how you can build your own.

ESPNOW Communication

ESP-NOW is a communication protocol developed by Espressif Systems, the company behind the ESP8266 and ESP32 series of microcontrollers. It’s designed for low-power, peer-to-peer communication between ESP8266 and ESP32 devices, enabling efficient data exchange without the need for a traditional Wi-Fi network or internet connection. ESP-NOW provides basic security features such as message encryption to protect the transmitted data from unauthorized access. However, it’s important to note that it may not offer the same level of security as more robust protocols like WPA2 used in traditional Wi-Fi networks. In simple words, we can transmit and receive data from one ESP board to another without using any external components. By using espnow we can decrease the total cost of the project.


Here I am using mostly SMD components for building the rover and remote. you can use the same to you can use THT components(same value) if you want to build the rover without PCB.

- NodeMCU -2 Nos
- L293D motor driver-1 Nos
- N20 gear motors(60-100rpm)-6 Nos
- 3.7v li-ion Battery – 1 Nos
- 3.7v to 5v Booster – 1 Nos
- ESP12E -1 (following components are for DIY PCB)
- 3.3V Regulator AMS1117-1
- 4-pin female JST connector -1
- 2-pin female JST connector -3
- 4-pin header -1
- WS2812B neopixel -2
- pushbutton-1
- 10k 0805 resistor-7
- 330 ohm 0805 resistor-2
- 8050 SMD transistor -2
- 100nf 0805 capacitors-6
- type C USB connector-1”

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