Hobby switching.


Many years ago I was really into amateur robotics.  However, back in the 80s this hobby was rather expensive and has severe limitations due to the technology available at the time.  I did however make some interesting house rovers using a Commodore 64 computer (64K of memory) and some drill motors.  I learned a lot about electronic interfacing of computer I/O and basic programing.  Then I gave up on the robot building and directed my energies towards other things like raising kids, model railroads, Cub Scout projects, amateur rocketry, Pyrotechnics, and other more social forms of hobby expression.  Due to a project I was doing at work, and a waning interest in rocketry and fireworks, the robotics bug started to nibble on the hobby part of my brain.


A few weeks ago I build a small rover to wander around the house and avoid objects.  It turned out to be a rather enjoyable experience in design.  I am learning a new programing language, which keeps my brain sharp, and the cats seem to enjoy the new toy.  The first rover-bot was kind of crude and ugly and had limited abilities.  It had only two sensors to react to its environment and two lights to communicate to me what it was thinking.  So last week I took it apart and placed an order with Spark Fun.  Last night my parts arrived.  This time I am going to document and post the stages of construction.  I hope you enjoy watching as I fly my geek flag once again.


Here is a photo of the major parts.

Rover 2











The platform for this rover will be a 4”x4” aluminium plate which I will cut down to the final design.  It will eventually have an octagonal shape.


Parts list:

Arduino Uno Micro controller.

Motor control shield

X-bee radio and shield

Tri-colour LED

Ultra bright Green LED

Blue LED button

3 micro switches

1 ultrasonic range finder

2 infrared range finders

2 Micro Metal 100:1 gear motors

2 35mm wheels

3/8” ball caster

Wire, nuts, bolts, etc…


Look for more updates in the coming weeks, including video of the device in action.



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