Let's Make Robots!

The Gunnerator - My mobile robotics test base

Drives around, primarily via remote "telepresence" control.

This is my current, somewhat ongoing robotics project.

The base is from an old RAD 1.0 robot toy from the 80s I think...  I gutted, modded and painted it up for use as a mobile test base for learning with.  Introducing Gunnerator - Mark I

Gunnerator - Mark I

It has the original two speed "transmission" currently servo controlled for high and low gear and I am running a 12v AGM 4Ah battery, feeding a L298N based Motor Driver board.  This is controlled by the EZ-B interface board, that in turn communicates via Bluetooth or USB-TTL interface to my PC or one of my laptops.  

I am currently using this base and controller to renew and expand my years old and partialy abandoned interest in electronics and robotics... finaly :)

Jan 2013 UPDATE - I have modified Gunnerator (lets call it Gunnerator - Mark II) with on-board PC and extra deck space, as listed below, and am currently using it as a mobile base to test programming an Arduino for use as the replacement brain, to allow untethered conrtol, as well as tele-presence experiments and programming for semi-autonomous action.  While I am marking this posting as finished... in reality nothing ever is :)

Feb 2013 update - I finaly got around to posting a YouTube video of Gunnerator - Mark II... check it out :)

Feb 2013 update (Part 2) - Being just a little too top heavy and having limited upward visual range for the pan & tilt camera had me modifing Gunnerator into his current version - Mark III


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Great work!!! Why have you used notebook? If I were you I would like to use simple device like Raspberry, Beagleboard etc.... It mean less weight and dimensions...

I did start off without the on-board netbook, but the Bluetooth limitations (between PC and original microcontroller/interface) affected controlling distance.  I had added the netbook out of necessity (pre-Arduino)... but now it is optional, depending on how I am controlling and/or programming the Arduino.  It is also very beneficial to have a screen and keyboard right there when needed for telepresence and/or programming purpose.

The dimensions are determined by the base, battery and my desire for a higher POV with the camera.  I have no concerns about weight, the netbook is extremely light and can simply be unplugged and lifted off in a few seconds if needed, 

And finally... my Rpi is happily serving as my media center and I don't have a Beagleboard... but donations are accepted :)

Eventually I want to make another vidbot that is much smaller, so as to crawl around in small spaces like ductwork for inspections etc.

I guess I can also post a few pics of my recent and succsesfull attempt at tightening up Gunnerators loose tracks. 


First cutCardboard template and aluminum scrapFinal aluminum insertAll riveted back together

It has been awhile since I last posted anything here at LMR, so time for an update.

My Gunnerator robot project had been sitting stagnant for awhile... primarily due to the EZ-Robot "quasi-microcontroller" it was using, and the limitation inherent with said software that made any attempts to drive Gunnerator around a 15-20 minute startup procedure of loading on board program, linking up, etc (not including time to update if necessary, correct code if required due to upgrade, and doing same thing on remote controlling PC) and finally, there was inherent lag issues when running the camera within EZ-Builder.   I did get a bit better results using another program to convert the cameras to IP cams and use Team Viewer to control the onboard EZ-Builder software, now limited to motor control... but it was still tedious.   There had to be a better way??

Well, first thing first... I had been working with Arduino for the last few months and absolutely loving both the simplicity and complexity of everything Arduino and Open Source.  What I really wanted to do was swap out Gunnerator’s "brain" from the EZ-B to an Arduino but I was still feeling a bit unsure due to past "Arduino is more complicated than EZ-B" propaganda rattling around in my head :(  Well, I finally just got down to it and made an "Arduino on a breadboard", wired in my motor controller, slapped in a few lines of code and started having fun again :)

I didn't even get 48 hours into that when I ran across an Arduino based telepresence robot kit called Oculus ROV.  I downloaded the free software, rewired my motor controller to match the programs requirements and was driving Gunnerator around via my phone!!

Now I can take a break from working/learning other things and drive my Gunnerator around outside with only the lead time it necessary to boot the onboard PC and log into the program from my phone (or another PC) via the internet!!!  In fact it takes longer to unplug Gunnerator from the charger and carry "him" outside while awaiting the net book/Oculus boot up :)  Gunnerator is alive again :)

Check out my YouTube video for details and links.


The emoji smiley face is the icing on the cake.

Really nice job! Looks amazing

It's a cross between a Dalek and Bulldozer Bob!

"Exterminate... all piles of dirt" :)

Partially due to the non-embedded type of controller I am using, I realized that if I want to push the tele-presence aspect of my experiments any further, then I need to pack an on-board PC instead of relying on wireless link between controller and brain.  So I added a 2nd level (matching paint to come soon) and started changing what mounts where.

The net-book I am currently using is a little under powered, but still functional:  Acer Aspire One 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, Windows 7 HP shoehorned into a 8GB SSD with a 16GB flash card for extra data storage.

I am currently utilizing both the net-book camera and the pan & tilt camera for tele-operational use, via TeamViewer remote control software.  It is actually running both cameras that seem to slow the poor little net-book down, but I can still drive it around outside, whilst sitting at the warmth and comfort of my workbench.  I just have to act like it is on Mars, minus some of the transmission delay, command a movement and wait to see the results on the screen before the next move :)

I ran out of servos, so until I get more (hi torque) I am holding off on mounting my claw as it is fairly useless without at least a wrist joint.

New paint and getting little add-ons like the breadboard attached (via velcro).  

Next, I need to swap out the wireless camera for a usb one as there is too much lag for proper telepresence viewing.  I have taken some video of Gunnerator driving around outside, but need to edit it before posting...