Let's Make Robots!

SpurtBot, Shadow Runner

This post will document a new SpurtBot design. This design integrates a mini breadboard and can be set up as a no-solder project for kids by pre-soldering wires to the motor. I plan to make take advantage of the solderless breadboard to make several variations, which I will document on other robot pages.

Edit: I have posted detailed build instructions and a materials list over on Instructables. The video also provides a walk through of the build.


The Shadow Runner will run from shadows. That is, it will drive forward in normal lighting conditions, but if you cover its light sensor with your hand or it runs into shadow, it will reverse and turn. In many cases, this will remove the robot from shadow and it will start to drive forward again. A disadvantage of this simple robot is that if it drives too far into shadow, it will just spin in circles on one wheel.



When the photo resistor sees light, the robot will drive forward. Both left and right motors are receiving 9V via the normally closed contact of the relay. 
When the photo resistor is in shadow, its resistance increases dramatically, and the voltage divider formed with the potentiometer now increased the voltage at the input of the Darlington transistor array, turning it on. This activates the relay.
Now the left motor will get ground on its + lead, and 9V on its - lead, reversing the motor.
The right motor's - lead is hard wired to ground from the battery. Since the + lead of the right motor is now also getting ground, the right motor will stop.
This combination causes a stop, backup and turn maneuver. If this maneuver removes the shadow from the photo resistor, it will revert the relay to its normal position, and both motors will drive forward again. If the robot stays in shadow, it will spin in circles with the right motor stopped and the left in reverse.

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Boi! You betta Po-lease dat Moo-stash.

...ok, I feel better now...

This is gonna be my next project for me and my brother as I introduce him to robotics!

Also, you could easily pass for any of the village people with the 'stash (sorry, Chris started it) :P

I have created a monster...

First off, Andrew --All jokes aside, the 'stash works (100%) and you are truly pulling it off. Keep it. 

Now, back on track:
This really is a great project. It is a real-life robot, making "decisions" and altering its actions. All this with a circuit that can be dead-bugged, proto'ed, breaded, PCB'ed or paper-pattern-pcb'ed. Simply put, it is hard to make a true robot for less than 10 bucks. It makes me really happy to see this guy being refined (you have been doing this for a while now). Once it is all "tightened up", it will make a fantastic kit or Instructable. I would love to see this guy cleanly kitted and in a shop (mine or otherwise) --If it could be done for $20 retail, it would be an incredible starter project for a lot of folks. 

I hope you're serious, because I would definitely love to work with you on something like that.

I plan to make an instructable. Actually, I plan to make several instructables. I have at least three varieties designed on the same base.

  1. Line follower
  2. Light follower
  3. Shadow avoider

I need to document the build for the children's robot exhibit I'm doing on April 21st. From that, it's a cinch to build an Instructable and put together a video supporting it.

simple yet nice, fantastic!

Hey Ignoblegnome!

Thanks for the Like It on my Facebook page, man! I really appreciate it.


No problem. I sent out a tweet and posted you site on the LMR FB page too. Happy to help another LMRian get the word out.

You rock!


Long Live LMR!

how about wall avoiding using fritsl's amandaLDR?

I actually have some variations that I've done, like my first SpurtBot line follower and a light follower. I think a wall avoider would be another good one. Thanks for the suggestion!