Let's Make Robots!

Helping David Chetrit

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I saw you talking PICAXE in the shoutbox and wanted to give you what I consider the bargain basement PICAXE starter package:

  • 28-pin PICAXE: ~$10
  • FT232 board for connecting to computer:  ~$9
  • USB cable with proper connectors: $2
  • a mini 9g servo for sensor motion: ~$4 (maybe get three and convert two for use as motors; you can eliminate the driver chip as well then)
  • that cheap ultrasonic sensor: ~$3
  • that motor driver chip: ~$2
  • a couple small gear motors x 2: ~$10
  • at least a 400pt breadboard to work on: ~$3

You would still need the necessary wire, connectors/headers/etc, battery holders, batteries, voltage regulators (if necessary), and to make some wheels as well but that would get the critical components. Use the virtual comport program from FTDI to emulate a serial connection over the USB cable (free). I'd say bare minimum you'll need at least $60 to cover all the unforseen needs you'll encounter.

You mentioned $30 in the shoutbox as a budget but I hate to say that will probably not get you in the door for any microcontroller as they all require some sort of programming equipment. I'd say with a cool $100 you could get a good start with any platform you want.

As I mentioned on another page, I try to not spend more than $2 to $2.25 per 9g servo. (Maybe up to $3 at the most. In a quick check of eBay I see this one at three dollars counting shipping: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Micro-9g-Servo-RC-Futaba-walkera-Hitec-HS-55-TREX-450-/290610283248 )

As to programming, all you need for most chips is a cable to connect to your PC. I got one of the ones sold for Nokia phones, cut the nokia connector off and wired a new connector for FTDI. I picked that up for $3 to $4. Sorry, but at the moment I forget where I bought it. It was on one of these forums so maybe someone else remembers.

Gareth has a method listed here: http://letsmakerobots.com/node/32100

resistor aray





probly not the best prices but a good company

I've ordered from Solarbotics several times myself. What I don't like is the extra $5 "handling charge" on every order along with the expense of shipping.


Not to mention what always seems like forever to get the parts beyond what they say to expect.

Hey, magykguy, thanks for the link(s) to Polida. They could easily end up being my favorite supplier at those prices.  Going to go peruse their catalog now...

is the programmer he will need to program the PIC. The best price for a decent PICkit2 clone like creation is about $25 shipped.