Let's Make Robots!

Brainstorming a new wall racer.

I'm not "officially" starting on a new bot (my husband would kill me), but Radioshack had these RC cars with hoods that popped up to show the innards for only $10, and remembering Frits' Robot Wall Racers, the temptation was too great.

I'm going to start with the RWR design, and then add more. I'm keeping this list here so that I don't forget!

rf sensor for both left and right sides.
rf sensor mounted to motor on top for forward/back detecton.
IR sensor pointing down at an angle on both front and back bumpers for detection of ledges.
lights indicating brakes and reverse.
possible horn (it can yell if it gets stuck).

Also since the motors are not servos, I might want to mess a bit around with PWM to see if I can control speed any better.

From all the sensors and drivers I want, I think I may need a second picaxe chip, which would be great, because I'm all about learning new things. One chip could be designated sensory, and the other one can be the driver.

And if I'm using two chips, I think I may still wire up the RC receiver. All it does really is push out high or low on 4 different wires, so I could use that as a type of input. Mainly, I want to have some way of getting it to stop if it runs off down the road. The remote is simple with 4 pushbuttons hidden under a flip switch to make it look "fancier". I'll just replace one of those pushbuttons with a flip switch on its own. As long as the switch is on, the remote control works. If no buttons are pressed, the RC controller immediately turns off. This way I can manually kill switch, or if the bot gets too far away, it won't sense the rc controller.

Another button could be used to go through different modes of operation. This will be for further development, as the initial setup will be quite simple with the only goal being to drive around as fast as possible without hitting anything, and without falling too far.

I think this will be a good basic bot to start off with, and once I can get this to run smoothly, we'll see where else it takes me.

Oh, and I mentioned the hood popping up because I plan to take out the "engine" and place the picaxe chips there. Easy to program with no usb/serial adapter hanging out anywhere!

Because SOMEONE(tm) was asking for pictures, here they are!


Here she is, sans ugly stickers that were all over.



To give you an idea of the size. This car looks to be a foot long.



After removing the shell. Really not much there. The tube going up is a spring that's been hooked to the antenna wire. I wonder what the range on this is!

Ignore the Billy Bass. He is a project for another time...



Let's take a look under the hood! A wonderfully fake silver painted plastic engine.

Yeah... that's gotta go.



Ahhh.... much better. Can't you just imagine a proc sitting in there?!?

Luckily the plastic for the headlights wasn't attached to the engine. I can't figure out how to get them out yet, but am planning on modifying them in order to be able to use leds.



Comparison of space inside the car. There's so much I could nearly put my whole hand inside while it was still put together!

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"I think this will be a good basic bot to start off with"

Yeah, the basics should be covered: 5 individually mounted sensors, lights, RC communication protocol, AI, 2 CPU's.

When that basic stuff is done, you can start adding some things, like perhaps a 6'th sensor, some double headed killer bees, or a self reproducing moped or something!

Perhaps also a bigger motor :D

I'm thinking of placing a small breadboard on top to which I can attach different modules. Maybe even some eye hooks around the top. That way I could try the cat splat, or put lights on the top, or an arm.... oh the possibilities!

"One chip could be designated sensory, and the other one can be the driver."

humm... sort of a pilot and navigator? I like it.

It would make it TONS easier. Since Picaxe chips can't multiprocess it's jumping between driving the vehicle, and pulsing/checking multiple sensors. What I plan to do is set one chip to run the motors/LEDs/etc., and set an interrupt on the serial port. Then when the "sensory" chip has something to report, it can stop the proc in whatever it's doing.

I have been working on something similar though I haven't posted any updats in a while. Plan it out as it can get pretty crazy on the board with all those chips and wires. I'll have to post some pics of how the board looks now with quite a bit more components on it. If I redo mine, I plan to make the voltage regulator a seperate board that I can plug into any other  boards that I build. 

Yeah, the farther I get into this kinda stuff, the more expensive it gets, the more appealing modules become for prototyping.
This is actually where I wish I had the finances to be able to design/make my own pcb's and tools to work with surface mount technology.
ohhh....hey is that the skyline r.34 gtr body on that rc car?

Why yes it is!

It used to be plastered all over the body, but some of the stickers were either crooked or wrinkled.

I love that car IRL, too bad it's not something you can find in the US...  :(