Tank robot from dx, AVR from futurlec, etc
November 19, 2008
Me and a buddy of mine are building a maze traversal robot and I thought it would be nice to share some information on the robot base we're using:
It's pretty cheap at 40 bucks USD and pretty solid. Our unit arrived with the turret snapped off (basically the unit's only real weak point we could find, construction-wise) but it was an easy fix. We didn't even bother contacting DX but from our experience they have great customer support and usually just send you a new one if you ask for it.
It has three DC motors, one for each track and one to rotate the turret. There is of course no feedback on the turret position and we're still looking into fixing that (encoder wheel seems a straightforward enough solution). The tracks are solid and it's pretty speedy and turns great. Everything is screwed together so it's a breeze to take apart. The electronics are in the turrent so it's trivial to replace the 'brains'.
We're going to use this controller:
Because it's dirt cheap and powerful. It's going to run a Java VM (of our own design) so programming is going to be pretty straightforward.
We're mounting four GP2D12 IR rangers (the usual) in the turret. Two on each side (right/left) and two looking forward at a 30 degree angle. We're going to try and make the turret align with a straight wall and have the body at a 90 degree angle to do simple wall following.
My friend, the electrical engineer of the two of us (I'm the programmer) is CNCing a custom motor control board to drive the DC motors. We're going to use software PWM to control speed.
When it's done I'll post some pictures/video, and maybe some guts.