Let's Make Robots!

Mr. General questions

I've been looking into building a robot, and I found the Start Here robot and this site.  I liked it, but after looking around more I discovered the Mr. General kit, which seems to be more versatile for about the same price.  It's also more complicated and doesn't come with a handy step-by-step set of instructions to completion.  I'm not that experienced, but not a complete novice at this sort of thing-- I've made a 555 based dice roller and a (mostly nonworking due to wheel issues) simple light follower.  I can solder, read resistors, and know not to put LEDs in backwards.  I've done BASIC programming, but it was years ago in high school.

I've basically got two questions:  First, what sort of difficulties am I going to run into with the Mr. General that I'd avoid with the Start Here Robot. Second, know I need a CPU, and I was planning on getting a PICAXE chip (what version would be best? 28x1?) and a cable for it.  What else will I need?  Do I need a recieving plug for the USB cord?  Any other parts to connect the chip to the servos or the sensors?  I've got resistors, diodes, and caps. 

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Hi Atom,


I've purchased two Mr Generals and have been unable to get either working - it just strips the gears for me.  Very unhappy with the design. You will also need a form of motor controller for Mr General as the uMC pins cannot provide enough power to drive a motor direct.  With the Start Here robot yuo are only providing the control signals to the servos.


Hope this helps



I've started with the frits "star here robot" ver II with the SRF05 sensor,than added tracks to the robot a few days after. I like the picaxe 28x1 and to me it's a good start in BASIC. Lately I've purchased the Arduino kit to try it out and see if understanding C programing will be better for me. Now it's up to you. Take care.


I've decided to go with a Mr. General.  I'm sure I'll be back with some questions when it comes in.

Hey Atom,


After reading Oddbots reply I realised I actually had the Mr Basic NOT Mr General.  Apologies for misleading you.



I purchased the Mr. General kit along with an Atmega chip, but there was no indication of whether or not the chip had a bootloader already on it.  I'm very new to this, so I would like a link to the information that will let me a) find out whether it's there or not and b) burn it on if it's not there.

I'm sure this seems like a stupid question, but I've tried to research it and not had any joy.  The large number of variations is confusing and I would like something that will work with the Mr. General setup.




Further to this issue, I have determined that the Atmega chip is actually an Atmega328 and that it has an optiboot bootloader installed.

I still can't get the Arduino IDE to upload a sketch though. At the end I get "avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00" which seems to have as many causes as there people with this problem.

I have a monitor on the serial port and packets are being exchanged, so I know the cable is good and the USB interface is communicating.  I am using the Arduino Uno board selection.

Any help would be appreciated.



Try swapping the tx/rx pair.

I bought an Atmega328 with the optiboot bootloader installed.  The Mr. General kit came with a USB card (Silicon Labs CP2102) whichseems to be working fine.  I can see packets moving up and down with serial io monitor.  ONly problem is the Arduino IDE won't upload a sketch.  I always get the "avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00" error. I have been asked for a photo of the wiring, and am attempting to include the link as instructed.  If it isn't readable, here is the link (minus the https prefix): dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4203055/IMG_0810.JPG.



Breadboard Wiring 

Hey were did you buy that kit