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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Hey were did you buy that kit

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 

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.

Hey Atom,


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



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

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.


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