Working with Elegoo support to get my Smart Robot Car shield replaced

A little over a month ago, I posted about getting my Elegoo Smart Robot Car built. I am using this car to follow the excellent videos presented by Paul McWhorter on his website and YouTube. After that post, I didn’t write anything about the smart car. Well, that is because, within a minute of using the vehicle, it stopped working. This post will share my experience working with Elegoo to get my non-functional car working again.

Basic troubleshooting.

After about a minute of use, all lights on the car shut off, and it wouldn’t move. Here is the list of the steps I remember taking to troubleshoot this before contacting Elegoo support:

  • I verified the battery was fully charged.
  • I verified power coming out of the battery with my multimeter.
  • I hooked the UNO directly up to the USB port on my computer.
    • The UNO powered up fine.
    • The motor controller data LED came on.
  • At this point I was suspecting the shield was the issue.
  • I verified there were no bent pins on the shield, and reseated it
  • I took voltage readings on the shield with the battery turned on.
    • The voltage was coming into the shield power connector.
    • No voltage was coming out of the diode between the power connector and the rest of the board.

At this point, I was pretty sure it was a broken shield.

Contacting Elegoo support.

I contacted Elegoo support with my problem and the steps I had taken. The support rep was very respectful and knowledgeable. He came to the same conclusion that I had about it being a bad shield. Specifically, he also thought the diode on the board was likely bad. The next day he had a new shield shipped off to me.

Unfortunately, shipping from China is spotty right now with this whole COVID thing going on. It took a little over a month for the new shield to get here. But I have to admit I was excited when I was Elegoo’s cool yellow envelope. I had to force myself to refrain from installing the card right away. Here in South Dakota it is quite cold. I never hook up new electronic components until they are up to room temperature.

New shield installed.

I waited overnight to install the new shield. Replacing the shield is simple. The basic steps I did were:

  • I made sure the battery pack was turned off.
  • I removed all connectors from the old shield.
  • I carefully removed the old shield.
  • I inserted the new shield into the UNO.

Here is a picture of the car after I turned on the power.

The new shield powers up!!!

The shield and UNO’s power lights came on when I hit the battery pack’s power switch! Rock on!

I proceeded to play with the car for a long time, and I had no issues. I also realized the car was missing something, so I made the following modifications to the vehicle:

Groot and his infamous button attached to the Elegoo Smart Robot Car.

My Yorkie decided to help test the with the Groot mod.

Lucy is helping me test the Groot Elegoo Smart Robot Car.

Elegoo will retain me as an ongoing customer.

As I mentioned before in this post, I’ve ordered quite a few things from Elegoo this year (via Amazon). I’ve found Elegoo equipment to be suitable for the price range. But now, I will likely make sure to choose Elegoo even more often if given a choice of similar items on Amazon. Plus, sometime in the next year, I will probably be buying a resin printer. The Elegoo Mars is already on the shortlist of resin printers I’ve been researching. With this interaction with Elegoo support, I’ll probably move the Mars to the top of the list. Quality interactions with support just can’t be beaten.

Song of the day: Mr. Blue Sky

I think there is some sort of rule that says I have to play this song in a post that includes Groot.

Bonus Song: Come a Little Bit Closer

And of course, who doesn’t love the scene where Groot gets his revenge. Plus, it’s another solid song.

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