Let's Make Robots!

How to begin?

Hi there

I have found robotics interresting for some time now, and I have decided to give it a try. I have been making projects with an Arduino before, but never with sensors and motors (I have no idea how to program these). I have been looking at your "Start Here" page, and it looks really interresting. But because I have been making projects before, I think i will use an Arduino in my robots. So I got some questions, that I hope you guys will help me solve. 

1: How is the easiest way to start with the Arduino? 

2: In the "Start Here" project you guys are using a board called "Picaxe" - Is this like an Arduino - and which is better??

3: Is there any books that I should read? 

What else would be smart to know?

Thanks for you kindness! 


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Well. . .no reason really.  The sensor from Seeedstudio has a meter less in range, which probably doesn't mean much to the typical hobby robot.  In fact, the centimeter less in near range might be just as important to a small robot.

The Ping has a 3 pin arrangement similar to a hobby servo, and many other small sensors.  The SeeedStudio sensor has an electronic brick interface, which is 4 pins.  It's possible to tie the recieve and transmit pins together, (A google search will certainly show the way.  It might even be here on LMR.  No doubt if it is, someone will come along and point it out.)  Or you could get an electronic brick shield.  Which might not be such a bad idea, even tho it would eat up the savings between the two devices--You'd have the interface for more electronic brick style (4 pin) sensors.

Anyway, YourDuino has both cables, along with a number of other sensors you might want to try out someday.  RobotShop probably has both cables too--but no doubt more expensive.

Actually, the SeeedStudio sensor is a Ping copy, has the same pin format (Sig, Vcc, Gnd) and works with the same code. The only difference is the missing LED that shows when a pulse is emited. I have one and it works perfectly.

I was about to order, when I started wondering. Why should I buy this instead of this cheap one?? 

You got a relatively complete and appropriate set of parts.  You'll probably need some sort of battery holder.  Just remember that a nine volt battery is OK to run the Arduino, but doesn't have enough current, (as opposed to voltage.)  to run motors.

As for the difference between ultrasonic sensors and infrared sensors--they're both distance sensors, but they use different technologies to achieve the same thing.  An ultrasonic sensor sends out a high pitched pulse of sound, and measures the time it takes for it to return to derive the distance.  An infrared sensor does pretty much the same thing, but with infrared light.

Both have their strong points and weak points.  You'll find the ultrasonic sensor you bought to be easy to use.

Good luck with your project.

I thing im going to buy these parts from robotshop.com:


Any other things that would be nice to have? I know, this is much for a beginner, but i finds the shipping very expensive! :P 

I almost forgot: Is there a difference between an Ultrasonic sensor and an IR Sensor? Which is better?? :) 

Both microcontrollers can be used to build a robot. There are differences, but for the most part you can do what you want with either, so it comes down to preference.

If you have no programming experience, PICAXE Basic may be easier to get started with. 

If you want to take a stab at Arduino, take a look at the 'Programming' section of the LMR Primer.

you can download the earthshine manual for arduino.it is the best so far i've seen for begainers like us...



Well, Don't think i know anything about programming robotics with an Arduino! :) I've only been making Display, and LED projects. Im still a beginner. I even don't own an Arduino! :) I've only borrowed an Mega and Uno from a friend of mine! :) 

picaxe is similar to arduino in concept but uses a different microcontroller,
and a different languag; basic, to program it.
alot of people prefer it because its easyer to learn, but having some experince with arduino id recommend sticking with that.

http://tronixstuff.wordpress.com/ is a great all round tutorial site.

one thing that would be good to know is 'ohms law' for calculating stuff.



Is there a big difference in the difficulty? Can i do the same things with a Picaxe as i can with an Arduino?