Thursday, August 9, 2007

My First Robot - Robot 1

I started this Robot around the first of 2007. I wanted to try to build a robot from scratch (not a kit - partly because I was trying not to spend too much). I knew it's brain would be a Parallax Basic Stamp 2. For a motor, I used an old Black and Decker 3/8" drill. I kept the motor housing and ground it down. This let me keep what gearing it had to slow it down a little. I also kept the battery holder. It uses two VersaPak NiMH Batteries (3.6 Volt, 2.0 Amp Hours each - that is 7.2 Volts total). The body is plywood. It uses Dubro foam airplane wheels and a Futaba S3003 servo for steering. It is basically a copy of Roger Arrick's Arobot featured in the book, Robot Building for Dummies. I ran it around outside. It was fast so I first tried to slow it down by using one battery and then a 1.5 Volt "D" cell - just to see. Then I started researching how to do these things electronically.

I got bogged down in the electronics, especially the microcontroller. I knew I needed an H-bridge and then to understand PWM. So, I backed off and got some goodies from Parallax - starting with "What's a Microcontroller?" I have really worked hard to catch up on that end of things over the last 6 months. I will return to this bot and finish it up with the new stuff I have learned, but for now I continue to learn more electronics and control.

The pictures show the basic platform (top and bottom) and one of the platform with a BOE (Board of Education - Serial) and expansion board. Knowing what I do now, I will probably add a co-processor - something like this one from Blue Bell Design.

It is now not what I would do, but it represents where I began and it helped me identify for myself what I needed to learn to continue. It will always be special because of that. Plus, it worked (well, sort of, I got scavenged and purchased parts to scoot around). Mostly, I learned a lot - some ideas that worked and a bunch of things that didn't. Maybe it's always like that.

I still like the yellow and blue!

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