Mr. First Robot
I've been reading all the great info on this website for the last month or so. Was inspired to put together the first 'start here' robot.
I followed the recommendations, went with a PICAXE 28X1 as the brains, also the Sharp IR sensor. The rest was within the ballpark of recommendations.
Here is a picture of how everything looked yesterday and my kids (2 girls) and I put together the gearbox & motors, put the wheels on and got the chips on the board.
My girls are really excited. I spent time going over the PICAXE Starter board (using the info on the website, which is GREAT by the way) and explained how things work, what is power vs ground, digital input vs analog and stuff like that. I wanted to have something to reference as we go through the whole thing together.
I have always wanted to build a robot, but just never got around to it. Then I found this site about a month ago and shortly after we were talking about what to do over the Christmas Holiday and I suggested we build a robot. My kids said 'YES!' so I went and ordered the parts from Sparkfun.com and we just got em on Thursday. So, Friday night (last night) we started.
We have completed Mr. First Robot, took about 6-7 hours but it was a great learning experience for all of us.
We had a couple of challenges as we went through, first was getting the USB cable to work with my MPB. This turned out to be the only one that didn't get addressed. After numerous attempts, I ended up pulling out the work laptop (MS XP) and I was able to get the cable/program running pretty easily. Still not sure what the problem is with the MBP, but we adapted and overcame (or worked around it...).
We started with confirming all the basic parts worked/operated as expected, figured out the commands for movement and then set about having him drive forward until he 'spotted' something, then stop. Then we started looking around, followed by turning. We had challenges with the sensor input, but I think it had to do with not putting jumpers on the other analog inputs. We also had to change out the cabinet knob, it was too heavy so we switched to an unused Christmas ornament. We just cut off part of the top and used hot glue to get it in place, look see the new robot booty:
We still need to work through the code, clean it up and whatnot. It's not running in an ideal state, but we did accomplish our first objective.