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I’ve got a Pigeon Scooter (Pespa)

This. is. AMAZING😍!

Video TIP
Video’s of this scooter can be seen online on my Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) or on my YouTube TIP: The Instagram and the video on X are longer and show more of the scooter 😊

My pet humans made a custom Pigeon Scooter for me which kinda looks like Vespa® so we call it my Pespa (Pigeon Vespa😝). You might wonder: “Why the peck does a pigeon even need a scooter?

Well let me answer that for you: First of: Why not 😝? Secondly, because as some of you might have already seen, I love(d) to jump onto my robot friend the vacuum cleaner and ‘ride along’ on top of it. And yes, I jumped on it myself because I just thought it was a fun and easy (read: lazy) way to cruise around the room.

However my pet humans did not consider this fun activity safe enough for me. Even though the front, top and bottom of the vacuum cleaner are well equipped with a huge amount of sensors, the rear however does not have any sensors at all for this model. Which could become a big problem when I would jump off the back of the vacuum while it was backing-up. This could potentially hurt my little pigeon legs severely (or worse) if the vacuum robot would just drive over me due to not “seeing” me.

But because I enjoyed riding on it so much, my pet human decided to make a much more safer, fun and cuter (if I say so myself) alternative.

A small note/disclaimer for those whom might be concerned that my humans ‘force me’ to ride on the scooter:
They DON’T and WON’T ever do that. I actually know what my scooter does, and even indicate that I want to drive it by either cooing next to it, or by even stepping on it myself (often also cooing if my humans didn’t noticed it). They will never drive to fast (my scooter is even limited to a safe speed for me) and I can jump off whenever I want. My scooter is like explained above actually a loving and caring solution to my humans feeling like the vacuum cleaner robot was not safe enough for me to ride on (but they didn’t wanted to take away my fun in ‘riding things’, so they build this scooter for me instead).

The features of my custom Pigeon Scooter

My Pigeon Scooter (of Pespa as we like to call it sometimes) have some unique features which are custom build for me:
– Custom made and hand cut (soft) saddle especially to fit my needs and requirements
– Saddle is removable (with Velcro) for easy cleaning
– It has working lights (Headlight, tail light, brake-light and even reverse-light (white backlight when driving in reverse))
– ‘NEON show lights’ underneath my scooter
– My headlight can also turn into a ‘blinking police light’ (because I love blinking lights A LOT😍)
– It has very high precision steering (Servo controlled)
– precision throttle control (which means my human can control the speed of my scooter very precisely)
– Electrical brake system (which means it actually has ‘working brakes’, and won’t just abruptly change direction with me on it)
– A (much safer than the original remote) 2.4GHz remote control with precision controls and adjustable settings
– Signal loss motor cutoff (which means that IF for some reason the connection with the remote control is lost or disrupted, that my scooter will automatically come to a stop instead of driving off uncontrollable with me on top of it)
– Start up tune (when the scooter is turned on) of my favorite lullaby playing: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
– The start up tune will also play if my scooter is still turned on but hasn’t driven for over 5 minutes straight (to warn my humans that the scooter is still on, and thus helps saving batteries)
– Custom branding with my own Sophie logo on the front and my name on the ‘glove-compartment’
– Custom ‘Vespa®’ branding covers (instead of Baby Born®)
– My own custom Dutch license plate (‘Easter-egg: it has my birth-date on it 😊)

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How my human build my scooter (simple version)

I will explain a bit in a simple way how and what my human did to build my custom Pigeon Scooter 😊. I will only explain it in ‘basic detail’ and even skip the ‘more advanced’ electronics stuff, because that is most likely somewhere in the future going to be published by my human either as written tutorial/article on his own website or as video guide on our shared YouTube Channel 😊

So how did he build my pigeon scooter? He bought a second hand Baby Born® scooter (made for baby dolls meant for human children) by Zapf Creation®. This scooter was already remote controlled, but as my pet human called it: “Very poorly done with minimal circuitry, minimal user control and zero precision” (not my words! his! 😉).

This is how the original Baby Born® scooter and the remote look:

The main problems of the original scooter to be a good pigeon scooter

According to my human there where quite a few problems with this original (toy) scooter to be a good pigeon scooter for me, the main issues with this scooter where:
– The original (plastic) saddle was WAY to slippery and I did not had any grip on it (so I could not even stand on it)
– The original saddle was also a little bit to small for me to stand on
– The original remote control lacks throttle precision (mean it would be instantly full throttle forwards, instant stop and instantly full throttle backwards)
– The original remote control lacks precision steering (meaning it would be: full left turn, dead center or full right turn, no precision steering at all)
– The remote control operates at a frequency of 40MHz, which means (without going into too much technical detail) that it’s very susceptible to interference which could (read will) cause erratic and unpredictable behavior of the scooter while driving it.
– The original scooter did not had any lights in it (and as most of you know: for me lights are very important, I’m a pigeon which is addicted to lights😝)

Making a new (real) saddle

To ensure that I would be able to stand on my scooter decently, my human had to come up with a completely new design for the saddle. He had to make sure it was wide enough, and also ‘soft enough’ so that I could use my talons (nails) to grip onto/into it properly. He designed a custom ‘saddle tray’ which is slightly bigger (wider) than the original plastic “saddle”, and then made (by hand) a custom Vespa-like-shaped saddle by cutting and sanding down special foam.

You might wonder what that ‘square’ is inside the ‘saddle tray’? Well that was a ‘backup plan’ (“Plan B”), If I could not hold on to the saddle comfortable enough. If you look closely to the photo on the right you will notice a “purple thingy” just above the keyboard. This purple thingy is a ‘perch stick’ which can/could be mounted through the saddle so I could use that to perch on. But because the saddle literally turned out perfect (also in comfort for me) in the end, we decided that I would not need the perch stick at all (and thus also keeping the ‘real scooter look’ intact).

After my human completed shaping the saddle he needed to cover the saddle with fabric.

He used a fabric that was used for ‘human sofa covers’. This is a durable and dense fabric which doesn’t tear or punctures easily.

He sewn it to the bottom of the foam (which has some sort of ‘paper layer’ at the bottom), and then he used a very strong self-adhesive Velcro (which he usually uses for his Guitar Pedal Board pedals) to mount the saddle into the ‘saddle tray’.

The reason he decided to use Velcro to mount the saddle to my scooter is very simple:
If you didn’t knew yet: Pigeons poop…… A LOT.

And because the saddle is removable, it’s also much easier to remove it for cleaning. Although fully soaking would most likely be a problem (due to the paper-like bottom of the foam, it is still way easier to clean, or even replace with a new one if needed 😊

Custom ‘Branding’

Of course to make the scooter unique and more personal for me (Sophie The Pigeon), my human decided to make custom branding on the scooter, replaced the Baby Born® logo with an Vespa® logo and created my own license plate which uses my birth-date (January 9th) for the numbers.

Making the custom lights

Then my human made custom lights (the scooter originally had no lights AT ALL), he made the following light modifications:
– He modified the (fake) headlight so a bright white LED would fit in there while looking like an original Vespa® headlight.

– He designed a completely new taillight cover from a white ‘translucent’ plastic (PETG) so light would shine through (the old one had 0% opacity and was just painted red(ish).
– Then he made a simple circuit board with 3 LED’s for the tail light: Normal red, a slightly brighter red as brake light, and a white one for when my scooter is driving in reverse (yes we know! scooters/motorcycles don’t have a reverse light, but they usually don’t have a reverse gear either 😝)

– And as a ‘bonus’ he added two pink LED’s to the bottom of the scooter as ‘NEON light’ to make it extra ‘flashy’ for me (can be seen in my video).

Summary of some ‘technical’ stuff and future upgrade plans or idea’s

Like I’ve said earlier, I won’t go to much into detail about the technical stuff ‘inside my scooter’, because that is most likely going to be either an written tutorial/article on my human’s his own website, or it’s going to be a video on YouTube. But will tell a bit summarized what he did for me. From here on it will be a bit more technical, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible though😊.

The New Remote (A gift from my humans little brother)
He implemented a much more stable remote control system and receiver, which not only looks much more serious, but also has a lot more controls and (adjustment settings). This remote control also uses a much ‘safer’ and more stable frequency of 2.4GHz which is much less prone to suffer from interference than the original old 40MHz remote. This new remote control also has a much much further reach than the original remote.

Fun fact: This remote control and receiver has been gifted to my human by his little brother so my human could modify them to build my Pigeon Scooter, so thank you very much for your wonderful gift human’s little brother 🥰.

The Mainboard and Motor Controller

The main-board is basically the printed circuit board which is inside the scooter. Because the old/original electronics could not deliver the desired functionality and stability my human wanted, he had to design the main-board completely from scratch. This main-board has an onboard Microcontroller (Atmega328) via an Arduino® Nano Compatible board which controls the motor speed and direction using an L293D chip. It does this by reading the PWM Signal of the remote control receiving via one of the pins of the Arduino® board and then ‘translates’ this signal to the L293D chip to make my scooter drive (at the requested speed). The microcontroller also controls my scooter’s lights and the ‘Start-up tune’.

The Scooter’s Power source

The entire scooter is currently powered by 4 AA batteries and lasts about a week to a week and a half if I drive my scooter for about 30 to 45 minutes a day, so that’s not to bad actually 😊. Unfortunately we won’t be able to use rechargeable batteries, because rechargeable batteries are just 1.2 Volts which gets me up to 4.8V in total to run the entire scooter (the motor, lights, receiver and microcomputer). And although this will work, the scooter will be a lot slower and drain much faster. This is because regular (disposable) AA batteries (also known as alkaline) have a voltage of 1.5V each and even up to 1.6Volts if they are brand new. This will get me up to a total of 6.4Volts with brand new batteries.

Future Upgrade Plans and Idea’s For My Scooter

Me and my pet humans are thinking about several upgrades, but we are not certain yet if and which upgrades we might implement or not. Some of the things we are either considering or thinking about:
– Build-in rechargeable battery system (which does provide enough voltage and power)
– A battery status indicator system
– New Custom Wheels (for better traction, a nicer look and a little bit smoother ride)
– Something like a working speedometer or fun animation thingy in the dashboard (like LED’s or so) to look at for me while driving
– VERY MAYBE: Build-in music player (because I LOVE music)
– VERY MAYBE: Adding Working Blinkers

But these are currently just more idea’s than actual plans though. I would recommend you to follow me on my Instagram & X (formerly Twitter) and to subscribe to my YouTube to see possible future upgrades of my scooter when they get published 😊.

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in my Pigeon Blog and projects, and I hope you enjoyed my article about my new scooter 😊

Hope to see you next time again,
Sophie The Pigeon🕊️🪶

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