Let's Make Robots!

Hmm...picaxe or adruino...

Hey guys,  I've been lurking around this forum and read a LOT of info on building robots! (Been digging up old posts @_@) I've noticed that Arduino uses C (?) as the language. I have experience in C++ and currently taking C++ courses at the moment (CS major :) ) Would Arduino be a better choice for me? I wanted to get the Bare Bones Board but I'm afraid I might do something wrong in the soldering process. I found the Arduino Starter kit: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=68
It looks REALLY tempting but it's $65 :/ Do you guys think it's worth it? I think it comes with ATmega168 chip, is that the 'brain'? Will I have to solder the motor driver and other stuff to the thing on the right of the breadboard (in the picture)? Thanks in advance!


I need a battery holder, should I get 4x AA or 9v one?

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If you're already familiar with c++ then the arduino would be the way to go. You will have all the basics down for writing and understanding code.  As far as the bbb, modern devices also sells the board already built so less of an issue in worrying about makin a mistake while soldering.  I'm actually waiting on an order from them for the kit with the usb adapter...should hopefully arrive sometime this week. I can relay my expirience with setting it up along with photos of the kit when I get it. I know someone else has one, so if they chime in, I'm sure they can give you the 411 on their exp as well.
Thanks for the advice! I wanted to get the BBB and soldering everything myself since my soldering iron is collecting dust...but since this is my first time building robots, it might be better for me to get some hands on experience with a starterkit first :)

Hi, if you want to start with arduino (and i think you should :P), you could purchase a simple arduino board (the duemilanove), and the motor shield. You'll end up with about 50$ and you'll have everything. Discrete components (resistors, trimmers, led, wires, etc) can be purchased easily at local shops.

Of course you'll also need motors and wheels :)

Arduino uses a language very similar to C. I think it's far more powerful than picaxe, but some people here will swear that it is not :)

Hey! Thanks for your advice :D I looked around the adafruit site and found out that it's cheaper to buy the stuff separately! I just found out I have an universial adapter lying around collecting dust also :P That saved me few bucks! For wheels I decided to get the Tamiya tracks because they look so fancy :O

Tamiya Track and wheel set $7.95 http://www.superdroidrobots.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=409&catid=55

The 4 AA pack would be good to power the Tamiya Twin gearmotors, a 9 volt wouldn't last with them. However it might be good to get both, to have seperate supplies, 4AA for the motors and 9v for the micro.

Thanks! I wanted to buy that to save some money, but I don't have to the tools to make a base  :/
I'm trying to find my old wireless phone and use its battery as the power source, it probably won't be enough though..
For my next bot I used paint sticks (AKA Fritz wood) and hot glue (AKA Fritz glue) to make my base. For axles I had some thin metal rods from buying wheels and ran them through shelf mounting brackets that have a flat side and holes. The base cost me around 20 cents to make. Hot Glue is cheap, the paint sticks were free and the shelf brackets were 20 for $2. I live in an apartment without a garage so I can't use saws. Paint sticks break easily and can be cleaned up with plyers.
your so funny :D
(And you forgot to mention old areals / antennaes & double sided foamy sticky tape!)
I haven't used double sides tape on it (yet) and I do need to find something better for axles. I want to try to use cheap motors and gear them myself rather than the geared motors that run $8+. I'm trying to make the bot as cheap as possible to keep costs down. This way I can keep them built and not have to tear them down for parts. Worst case I'll pop the chip out of the sockets to reuse them.