Every time I check to see what robot makers are up to on YouTube, I see robots that are based on the Elegoo’s Smart Robot Car. The Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit comes with everything you need to build a basic autonomous robot car. Plus, it’s also pretty cheap. But how well does it really work? Read this in-depth Elegoo review to find out the answer.
What is Elegoo?
Elegoo is one of the only robot kit makers that puts fair price tags on their robot gear.
The only reason why expensive robot kits exist is because most consumers don’t know just how inexpensive robot parts are now.
Recent manufacturing advances and the increased demand for DIY products have pushed prices way down. Elegoo has passed those savings along to the consumer– that’s the main reason why I’m a big fan of the Elegoo brand.
The quality of the parts that you get with the Elegoo is actually quite good. The only big issue with Elegoo is that their instructions are confusing and not very well written.
In order to help you put your Elegoo Smart Robot Car together I’ve embedded Greg Griffes’s Elegoo Smart Robot Car tutorial at the end of this article. I’ve also included info about a few inexpensive Elegoo expansion packs that you could use to enhance your Elegoo Smart Robot Car once you get it up and running.
- What is Elegoo?
- Elegoo Review #1: Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit (2016 Updated Version)
- Elegoo Review #2: Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit
- Elegoo Review #3: Elegoo TFT Touch Screen
- Elegoo Review #4: Elegoo 37 in 1 Sensor Modules Kit
- The Best Elegoo YouTube Tutorial
Elegoo Review #1: Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit (2016 Updated Version)
The Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit is one of my favorite products from Elegoo. This updated version of their kit costs about the same price as a new video game, yet it has everything you need to put together an autonomous robot car.
The Smart Robot Car has a Elegoo UNO R3 brain, which is a very well-made version of the popular open source microcontroller known as Arduino UNO.
Other highlights from the Smart Robot Car Kit’s full list of parts include:
- An ultrasonic sensor that allows the smart car to “look” around for obstacles and avoid them.
- A servo motor turns the robot’s “head.”
- 4 DC motors to power its wheels.
- Infrared and Bluetooth receivers that allows you to guide the bot from afar.
- Lots of other assorted parts you’ll need: wires, tools, a chassis, wheels, a USB cable, batteries and more.
Here’s a video that shows off what an Elegoo Smart Robot Car can do once you get it up and running.
- Everything you need for a STEM project. If you’re preparing for a science fair, this little kit has everything you need to show off your robot building skills.
- Well-made parts. Elegoo components are surprisingly well-constructed.
- Arduino style microcontroller. The robot brain included with this kit is a high quality Arduino UNO copy.
- Comes with an ultrasonic sensor. Ultrasonic sensors allow robots to find their way around using high frequency sound waves that the human ear can’t detect.
- Reasonably priced. This robot car kit isn’t as innovative as littleBits or Vex robotics kits, but it is super cheap– and it will help you learn how to build bots the old school way. Check the price of the new version Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit on Amazon.
- The 2016 version of the Elegoo Smart Robot Car features a new storage box, a better remote and slightly better instructions. However, it’s still difficult for beginner robot DIYers to figure out.
Tip: If you want to save a few bucks, you may still be able to find the old version Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit on Amazon.
Elegoo Review #2: Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit
If you’re looking for a budget robot kit from Elegoo, you might want to go with the Elegoo Uno Project Super Starter Kit. It has everything you need to learn how to program Arduino style microcontrollers.
In terms of parts, Elegoo Uno Project Super Starter Kit is a great deal. You still get a very good robot brain because it comes with an Elegoo UNO R3. You also get a nice selection of parts for building circuits, including a few cool components that the Smart Robot Car Kit doesn’t have.
In addition to the Elegoo Uno R3 brain, highlights from the Super Starter kit’s long official list of parts include:
- 2 motors (one servo motor and one stepper)
- 1 ultrasonic sensor
- 1 LCD display
- 21 LED lights
- 2 controllers (1 joystick, 1 remote control)
- assorted buzzers and switches
- lots of other stuff for building circuits (10 wires, 30 diodes, etc.)
The main problem with this set is that the translation of the booklet that comes with it is confusing. Fortunately, YouTube has a ton of Arduino tutorial videos you can use to get a grip on the basics.
- Lots of lights and resistors. This kit is great for learning how to build Arduino circuits.
- Motors, sensors and buzzers. In terms of variety, this kit offers better component selection compared to the Smart Robot Car Kit.
- Comes with a breadboard. A breadboard is one of the basic components you’ll need if you want to learn how to build a robot the hardcore way.
- LCD display component. The Project Super Starter Kit has one very cool component that the Smart Robot Car Kit doesn’t: an LCD display.
- Very inexpensive. Last time I checked, the Super Starter Kit was half the price of the Smart Robot Kit. Check for Super Starter Kit deals on Amazon.
- Though the Elegoo UNO kit is cheaper than the official Arduino UNO Starter Kit and has parts that are just as good, its manual is shorter and isn’t as well-written.
Elegoo Review #3: Elegoo TFT Touch Screen
Once you’ve built a basic bot using either the Smart Robot Kit or the UNO Project Starter Kit, you can beef up its capabilities by adding touch screen functionality.
Elegoo’s TFT Touch Screen is basically a cheaper, nearly identical copy of Adafruit’s open source TFT Touch Screen. If you compare pictures of Adafruit’s Touch Screen to Elegoo’s you will see how similar they look.
Aside from price, the main difference between Elegoo’s Touch Screen and Adafruit’s boils down to software, documentation and ease of use. If you have some DIY electronics experience, you’ll be able to figure out how to get the Elegoo screen to work with your project. Otherwise, you might want to go with Adafruit instead.
- 2.8 inch display. This touch screen is roughly the same size as other TFT touch screens for Arduino electronics systems.
- Includes a touch pen. The touch pen allows you to avoid mistakes when inputting information.
- SD card socket. With this screen’s SD card capability, you can store large files and build complex bots.
- Compatible with Arduino systems. This screen is fully compatible with all Arduino systems, including Elegoo’s Smart Robot Car and UNO Project Super Starter kits.
- Low price. Elegoo’s touch screen is roughly half the price of name brand Arduino touch screens. Check for deals on Amazon.
- Like the other Elegoo products mentioned on this site, bad translations and missing documentation are the main problems with the Elegoo TFT Touch.
Elegoo Review #4: Elegoo 37 in 1 Sensor Modules Kit
Like the Elegoo TFT Touch Screen, Elegoo’s 37 in 1 Sensor Module Kit allows you to add extra functionality to a basic Arduino based robot.
Here are some of the coolest components in the 37 in 1 kit:
- 2 sound sensors. These sensors allow you to command your bot with claps or vocal commands.
- 1 laser emit module. This one allows you to give your bot the ability to shoot laser beams.
- 1 impact sensor. The “shock module” tells your robot when it has collided with another object, or a wall.
- 1 photo resistor. This sensor lets your robot know how much ambient light there is.
- 1 IR obstacle avoidance module. This component allows your bot to use infrared light to find its way around.
- View the complete component list.
The Best Elegoo YouTube Tutorial
The video embedded below is the first part of the very best Elegoo Smart Robot Car tutorial series on YouTube. DIY enthusiast Greg Griffes walks you through every step of putting together the Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit, from the unboxing to the first test drive.