What is the ZenWheels Micro Car?

Plantraco's ZenWheels Micro Car is a remote controlled "R/C" car that you control from your iPhone, iPad, iTouch or Android OS device.  

While it has many similarities to traditional R/C cars, the way you control it is totally different!  Instead of the usual radio control transmitter, you command this vehicle completely from your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iTouch), or your Android device with the free ZenWheels R/C Command app.

Do I need to get the App to use the ZenWheels Micro Car?

Yes, it's the only way to control it! The App is Free.

How do I get the App?

You can download the FREE app automatically once you pair up your iOS device or Android device to the ZenWheels Micro Car. You pair up with Bluetooth, and then it will prompt you to download the app - very simple! If you want to download the app manually, you can do so by visiting the App store or the Google Android Play and search for ZenWheels

Can I use my computer to control the ZenWheels Micro Car?

No, it is an app controlled device, and is controlled from an Apple or Android device.

Is the App available for iPhone and Android?

Yes, the ZenWheels R/C Commander app is available for Apple devices and Android Devices

Can I use iPad and iTouch?

Yes, the app works on iPhone, iPad, iTouch and Android devices

Do I need to plug in anything into my smartphone, iPhone or Android?

No, it operates using Bluetooth Wireless technology, so you do not need to plug in anything into your smartphone device. Your device has Bluetooth built-in. Other cheaper toy products you have seen may need a "dongle" to be plugged into the iPhone or Android, but that's not very cool. Bluetooth is better. Enjoy!

Does it need batteries?

No, the rechargeable battery is installed permanently inside. You recharge it with the included micro USB cord.

Do I have to drain the battery completely before recharging it with the included micro USB cord?

No, the battery has no "memory" effect or any bad features of outdated battery technologies. You can discharge and recharge at any time with no adverse effects.

Is it Rechargeable?

Yes, every ZenWheels Micro Car includes a Micro USB cable that you can plug into any powered USB jack to recharge the Lithium Polymer Battery inside the car. You can recharge from your laptop or desktop computer, or even the charger that came with your iPhone.

How can I tell if the car is fully charged?

See the instruction manual in the app for full details about charging. When you plug in the micro USB cord into the rear of the Micro Car, you will notice the Blue LED glowing - this indicates that it is charging. When charging is complete (in about 40 - 60 minutes typically), the blue LED will go out. Additionally, you can actually read the voltage in the battery when you are paired up in the app, at the top right of the app screen, you will see the voltage and the percentage of battery left in the car. When the car gets low on power, it will automatically shut down.

What is the included USB cord for?

The included micro USB cord is used strictly for charging purposes. It carries no data whatsoever, it merely uses the 5V USB power source to charge the car. Plug it into any standard USB socket and you will be able to charge your ZenWheels Micro Car.

What is the range?

The ZenWheels Micro Car is a Bluetooth wireless device. Range is 10m or 30 feet. This is more than enough range because the car is so small you can barely see it at long range :)

How do I turn on the car?

You switch on the car by pressing the small red button on the bottom rear of the ZenWheels Micro Car. Press the button and release it. You will hear a start up chime sound and will see some LED's lighting up letting you know that you have successfully powered it up.

How do I pair to the ZenWheels Micro Car?

See the instruction manual in the app for full details on pairing. When you press the startup button on the car to turn it on, you will see some LED's glowing in the rear window. Visit "settings" on your iPhone or Android and pair to the device with the name "MicroCar". It's pretty easy.

Is it a Wifi wireless Device?

No, it is a Bluetooth wireless device. Bluetooth makes it very simple to "pair up" to the ZenWheels Micro Car without having to do any wireless network configuration whatsoever. You want to play, not hack your firewall right? . See the instruction manual included in the ZenWheels R/C Command app for more information about Bluetooth pairing. It's about as simple as we could make it.

Can I drive more than one car at once?

Yes! You can drive many many micro cars in the same room - no problem. There is virtually no limit. So invite your friends and have fun driving together!

Can I drive it on a dirty dusty floor?

No, avoid this if possible. The ZenWheels micro car is intended to be driven on clean surfaces only. It might be fun to drive on the floor for a while, but if you do this you will run the risk of picking up dirt and dust bunnies that can clog the axle and jam up the mechanism. Dirt and debris on the axles can reduce performance of the car, and it's difficult to clean these areas of the car. Always drive on a clean surface for best results

Can I drive it underwater?

Not for very far! Please keep your ZenWheels Micro Car dry at all times!

Do the sounds come from the App or from the Zenwheels Microcar itself?

Both! - The App plays the sounds through the speaker on your iPhone and the Car Plays them through a tiny speaker inside the car. Both volume controls are adjustable from the settings area of the app.

What is "Trim" for?

Trim is a term taken from the R/C hobby industry - high quality R/C transmitters have the "trim" function, and trim is used to make small adjustments to the way the car behaves. It is quite normal for your ZenWheels Microcar to drive forwards in a less than perfectly straight line due to small variation in the mechanical assembly. By using the trim function, you can adjust it so that it drives a mostly straight path when throttle is applied on it's own.

What is the "Panic" button for when I am driving using the "Alien" mode?

The "Panic" button is used to prevent you from having a "runaway" car that is out of control. The new and interesting method of controlling the car using the accellerometers of the iPhone is very challenging to master. We encourage you to try it, but if you ever find that the car is getting away from you, you can remove your fingers from the screen to stop the car, or if desired, you can press the "Panic" button to give an "All Stop" signal to the car and prevent it from running away while you are trying to orientate yourself to this very dynamic control system.

What is the strange plastic ramp thing with the checkered flag and metal bar inside?

The timing gate is a plastic ramp with a magnet inside. The ZenWheels MicroCar has a Hall-Effect sensor inside that can detect the magnetic field when it rolls over the timing gate. When you do this on the iPhone version of the app, you will notice a new button will appear on the app screen that says "Start Race" If you tap the start race button, the app will count down to start a timer. (make sure your volume is turned up on your iOS device). Every time you drive over the timing gate the timer will mark a completed "lap" time. When you push the "Stop Race" button, a summary of all laps will be displayed, and you can see what your best lap time is. Now your friend can try to beat your lap time!Who is the best driver?

Why is it called ZenWheels?

Think Remote Controlled cars about the size of HotWheels cars for super skilled Zen like drivers!  Something like that :)

The ZenWheels Micro Cars have attributes of high maneuverability and precision.  They exist in a micro world of their own, and we hope to capture your imagination and activate feelings of harmony and wonder.   A 10 minute driving session with the ZenWheels Micro Car might possibly be regarded as a mild relaxation session.  At Plantraco we feel that taking a short break from work promotes a healthy and optimistic outlook.  Play should be part of everyones life.  ZenWheels promotes relaxation and is part of a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle!

Think of harmony and balance and peaceful co-existence of human beings with creatures, and ummm . . . robots  :)    We like to think of the ZenWheels Micro car as having a bit of a personality - not quite a "creature" of course, but a bit more than just a "toy".  

There are many meanings to the term Zen, but perhaps to really understand you need to simply try driving the ZenWheels Micro Car around your desk for a while.  We think you will understand more when you try it!