Let's Make Robots!

Newbie questions

Hi im azu, im new here, and I've finally decided to jump into robotics.  I took everything apart as a kid, figuring out how everything was made and i still think short circuit and wall-e are the two best movies of all time.  Little did i know programming them was so easy.  So i decided to jump right in and make one similar to the "start here" robot.  

 

My question is: I was planning on using a picaxe 18x1, will that do fine for what i need it to?  Im going to be using a Tamiya dual gearbox instead of his two motors and ill have a light dependent resistor and two leds added on to the "start here" design. Im using the starter kit with the project board, and i figure i should be able to connect everything directly to the project board without any resistors or capacitors.  So do I have to use a picaxe 28 for this? or will the 18 do fine?

 

Thanks a ton, I love this website and I've been looking around it for a while.  Happy Australia day to anyone in Australia!  

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Darn that means i cant make my own.  It blows that it costs that much though, 25$ is alot for a cable.

Do you have any other kit that uses a USB-serial convertor? My Garmin GPS uint has one. I haven't tried it, but I bet it works as the specs of the kit at the cable ends are the same.

Mike

If you buy from tech-supplies.co.uk the USB cable in included. In my research (I live in the US and tech-supplies is in the UK) they are the cheapest even with overseas shipping. Shipping only took 4 business days too! It was faster than UPS from the west coast of the US.

Use a regular serial cable and a USB to RS232 converter from Sparkfun for $12.95 when they get it back in stock.

And who said you can't make your own? The schematic was on the page I referenced, pretty complete parts list.  It might be best to use a FT232RL part that is in an easier to solder surface mount package. Even using an SSOP to DIP adapter could help. A USB jack and the ferrite bead (FB)are theother not so common parts, everything else appears to be caps and resistors. This might add up enough parts and shipping to equal that $25 though, haven't added it up. And it is possible to put all this together and it not work properly, wasting some time and money, but what would you have learned?

Has anybody actually succeeded in making their own plug? I think the usb cable that rev-ed sells isn't just a regular usb (it needs drivers and such to run on a pc, and my pc recognizes it as a device).
I might skip buying the cable then and just see if i can make my own.  I get to save the money and get that high power board
The standard USB plug has 4 wires, +, ground, data in, and data out. I would think it would be easy to map to a stereo socket, but be sure you don't apply voltage. Since the chip has to be powered by itself I think you only need to wire up the 2 data wires.
Is it at all possible to wire a normal usb cable instead of that 25$ programming cable?  I cant find a starter kit with a cable thats the high power project board.  I saw the three pin diagram on what the usb cable connects to, so im sure i could wire it up myself.  Maybe a Ti - 83 calculator cable would work........ Either way, has anyone tried? 
haven't tried it, but if you know how it is wired up you could surely make it yourself. The cable they sell is no more than a USB plug on one side wired to the stereo jack on the other side!
The AXE027 USB cable has an FTDI USB to RS232 signal conversion chip built in, as shown in the circuit diagram on page 11.