Let's Make Robots!

Curiosity

Ya so a few topics I have a little gliches and I would want to know bout them. Firstly, instead of a picaxe or arduino board can i use a simple breadboard. IF yes, then please suggest a simple microprocessor, how to program it, AND WHERE TO PLUG IN THE USB OR RS CABLE TO??? Cause my conception is that the female usb jack is built on the picaxe board. Secondly, Suggest any other sensor than the SHARP. Any sensor even an audio one will do. Thirdly, I would appreciate if someone actually explained all the special components of a picaxe board. Thanks in Advance. :)

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Thanks Immensely for the Info. Just two more questios....the FTDI, is it where you plug the usb programming cable in the circuit? If yes, then can i buy an FTDI and place it on a breadboard? And are there any household stuff or junk where i can find a spare FTDI? Also, the Sharp sensor robot placed on a platform, cannot detect a wall, go through and fall, any luck on that with the maxobotic series sensor?

FTDI chips are all surface mount, so you'll need to use a breakout board like this:

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/718

This lets you plug in USB and wire into the Arduino chip for programming.

In terms of the sensors, I'm not sure I understand. Are you asking if the ultrasonic sensor can detect edges on a table? If that is the question, it can not. You'll want to use a simple IR line following sensor for something like that. Imagine that the Sharp sensor and the ultrasonic sensor are like eyes looking directly forward, they can not see directly below the bot.

 

A bit to cover here.

Using a microcontroller on a breadboard is simple enough, you've got plenty of options. Programming the MCU while on a breadboard is a bit more difficult then on a board like the Arduino. A few resources:

http://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/Tutorials/ArduinoBreadboard

http://www.ladyada.net/learn/avr/

You also have breadboard based Arduino clones to look at:

http://www.solarbotics.com/products/kardw/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Product+Search&utm_campaign=Product+Search+%28Feb11%29

http://www.ladyada.net/make/boarduino/

Not sure what you a looking for in a sensor, but a subsistute for the Sharp IR distance sensor would be an ultrasonic sensor like the Maxbotic series:

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/639

In terms of the special components on a picaxe board, they are generally simple discrete components like resistors and capacitors for timing, power control, etc. You'll often times see a serial to USB chips, generally FTDI, on microcontroller boards that are used for programming. Take a look at the breadboard Arduino link and you'll learn a lot about microcontroller board design and what the extra components do. I'm not to firmlar with the Picaxe specifically, but most of these controllers are very similar.