Let's Make Robots!

Mini Hightower Multi-Layer Robotic Platform

Remote with Sony TV remote for now
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  Updated 5-12-2010  New Video using 3 IR Sensors

I was so impressed with the TV IR sensors from the book, but took too much I/O. Good for learning but not very efficient. I have never spent so much time on a 3 wire device before. These sensors run around 38K to 40Khz with a modulatted pulse. I used the first 555 timer to clock the second 555 timer to allow the sensor to reset. I can now drive the IR LEDs off this board and easily plug or wire the sensors straight to the PIC or Basic Stamp. I added a distance tuning pot to the IR LEDs and take the indicator LED off the sensor turning on with ground ( -- ). It does well helping get rid of the blind spot with 2 IR sensors and frees up some more I/O. They are ajustable from 1/4" to around 6" to 8" depending on the object. In the future I am planning on a different set up for a line tracer also using these sensors. The blue light shows the oscillator working and the green and red show the sensors. They should all flicker or you have problems. I have an updated video along with some new pics. Sorry not into CAD schematics yet so I also show a crude schematic. Opps forgot to put the 100 mfd cap across 5 volts and ground in the drawing. It is needed. Will update with a little better drawing soon. It is easily changed so you can add as many IR sensors as needed driving the IR off the board. I suggest adding a 2N2222 driver transistor if using more then 4. I have easily ran 10 LEDs off a 555 Timer with a transistor before. Remember aiming is very important but you can't beat the cost for add ons once the oscillator board is built. Remember this is a digital signal, not analog. I am using 2 battery packs in the pic for convience on continious running and just switch them. The code took some hacking from the original and could probally still be impooved.


  Updated   4- 20-2010    Now added a video using 2 homemade IR sensors and back to Solarbotic wheels.

 It has been a while since my last robot. Meet  MR. Mini  Hightower. It is named after the big guy in the old nerd movies and designed for small rooms or apartments with alot of space for upgrading. Like any big city dweller, it is better to go up then out. So far I just have it running on a generic Sony IR TV remote for testing. The servos are hi torque, hi speed convertted to continious rotation. I was surprised to see they had dual ball bearings on the output shaft. I will update as I go along and may try to market this design in the future. Have alot of ideas for add ons. Curious to see your response. Finally I found a use for those useless hard plastic omniwheels. lol

 Update :3-11-2010

  Need for speed. I have perfected a process to make CD wheels. Looks simple enough, but using 5 x CDs per wheel and are + - .010" off center. I had a choice either faster motors or bigger wheels. Cheaper is better. Now with a 2" ground clearance, it can easily run outdoors. I tried it out yesterday and works great. I haven't, had time to start with the sensor add ons or programming yet and still use the Sony TV remote code. I love this platform. So easy to change over. I am listing on Ebay and you can contact me if interestted. I will give LMR discounts direct order only. I have also finished a newer smaller version called the Misro Hightower. This is more for the PIC people and smaler board and power supply requirements. The only real difference is the panel size ( 4' x 4' vs 3'x4' ). Aso added were a few 1/2' holes for wiring. Sorry no Videos yet. I have been having alot of trouble uploading videos to Metacafe. I guess it is time to find another server. I have a hamfest coming up soon and been busy preping for that. Any comments welcome. I also found another robot building site called Robobox. Not as famous as LMR but interesting non the less.

 Update: 4-01-2010

  This is the first video running from a Sony TV IR remote. Finally got a utube account working. The video is about 2.5 weeks old.Before the wheel retrofit. 

Update: 4-03-2010

  This is my second verson of my Hightower Robot platform. It is smaller and designed for smaller boards such as the PIC series. I just got my first PIXAXE 18X High power board in. Looking at the spec. sheets, it seems very easy to modify without alot of work for different setups. Thanks guys for helping me with finding the software. I retrofitted some 2.75" model airplane wheels. They have alot of deals on those on Ebuy. A robot dosen't care and they are good quality and less then 1/2 the price of the solarbotics. Alot of basement engineering going on lately. Now I have to locate terminal strips for the board and make a programming cable. This one may not move for a while. Never worked with a PIC before. I have around 3 projects going on right now. Decisions decisions. I may have a few available as long as I don't run out of wheels and standoffs. Contact me if interestted.

Udate: 4-20-2010

  Here is the Mini Hightower robot using a left and right homemade IR sensors. The reciever is a standard 40Khz IR like the ones they use in TVs. They do eat up I/O (3/ unit) but was surprised on the distance. It does have a blind spot in the middle so planning to add another one. You can cut down the I/O by not using the LED indicator, but it wouldn't look so impressive. I also plan on adding a distance ajustment pot on the IRs for fine tuning.

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Very good design and response from your sensors

Good job! It looks almost like one of those self-balancing bots.

 Hard plastic omniwheels are useless for traction but great for slipping and sliding. Using 5 x  AA  27,000 mah rechargeables. Been busy making several versions for resale and experimenting with different wheels. The CD wheels work great both in and outdoors. Just got a deal on some model airplane wheels. Solarbotic wheels are nice and cute but a bit pricy. Waiting for a PICAXE hi power board to come in. I think that will work good on the micro version if I can go from Pbasic to PICbasic. Going for lower power and eventually total solar. LMR is the best site. I get alot of ideas from here.

awsome, hows the omni wheel?


and also, What batteries have you got? i mean wow...

I like the design. What kind of sensors are you going to install and I can't wait for the video.
Heh, loving the name, got any plans for all your expansion space? First thing that comes to mind for a remote-controlled indoor bot of that size is - can/cupholder =)
  I was wondering if it could carry a 12 oz. beer on the 3rd level without tipping over but that experiment will have to be down the road. With this design, it would be very easy to make a bigger base.