Let's Make Robots!

Getting Started

I want to get started, but I need help putting a decent started pack together. I know I need a board, download cable, etc, but what other toys should I start with?

 I want to be able to start off small: get a light to blink. Then move to getting several lights to blink in order or random order. Then I want to move onto attaching a motor and getting it to spin. Eventually I want to build a robot that will do all of my work, but baby steps right?

 Any suggestions on components for someone wanting to start small and maybe work to a small robot without having to place numerous orders over and over?

 Background:

I got my computer science degree and I am almost done with my masters in Info Systems. This is right up my alley! I haven't had a hobby in 2 years since I am working full time and taking night classes. I want to buy some stuff now so when I get married in a few months I can't get told NO! :)

 Thanks for any help with a starter kit! I want to try to get as much as I can in one shot so I dont have to make several orders and get eaten on shipping!

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you lear with time.. think everyone in life burn some leds sooner or later.. =P

 don't hury up. just test, and go on.. most of microcontrolers of today protect themself, its hard to burn ic's and that kind of expensive things, for example, arduino just resets if u connect a motor direcly to it, instead of burn.. because the motor suck more Ampers that it is able to give..

Good luck with this new area..

ya, i worked with basic stamp 2 before, witch i don't avice, because its to expensive, and less flexible, you will need to go to something better sooner or later.

I got arduino, and i'm starting having fun with it.. it is nice to run it on mac, or linux, or windows, and its always reciving updates, since its opensource.

One good thing is that u can use Arduino language to program it, that its like a higer level of C, easy to use, and powerful, but if you are a pro, you can directly insert C/C++ code into it, and it works like a pure C microcontroler.

i never tested picaxe, i hope i do one day, but for now i will dicovery arduino potencial. (i'm with it on my hands at the moment =P)

Blog entries about "first days with Arduino" would be very nice. To keep the info at one place. 

/ Fritsl

hehe.. i will think about it.. the main problem is that my days with are small.. because school and girlfriend are always first :P

you can find a lot of info at www.arduino.com or at www.freeduino.org .

I will post when i make some nice code.. for now i'm testing how to control dc motors, i will post a video as soon as possible.

well when you connect a led, or something that have low resistence, you need limit the corrent that pass by it, or the led will burn, (thats aplys to almost all components, but the voltage that the componet will get will be down, cause V=RxI, so if you have V= 5V most of the times, and R increse, I = corrent will be down, that will become less brigth to the led, but more life time. normaly leds use 300~330Ohm resistor, to have 15mA of corrent, this let it blink nice, and have a lifetime biged then yours.. =P

 capasitors normaly stabilise corrent, but its harder to explain in some lines of text.. just find some nice electronics book, its my main advise..

Don't excuse the noob questions. We have all been noobs at some point and in some areas, many of us are still noobs. 

This site http://www.educypedia.be/electronics/electronicaopening.htm has a lot of links to electronics education pages. Most are in english, but some are in dutch or french. Check it out. 

There are a lot of difrente resisotres, and capacitors,

 just buy 330 Ohm capasitors, to use with lets, and ir's and 1k Ohms resistores, think is the ones you will more need, the others you buy as you need

If you buy motors, don't forget you will need a motor controler, or a motor driver.. microcontrolers can't give the energy the motors give, if direcly connected, and auto shutdown. L293 i think is a nice, and cheap one. but ask it to ppl that know picaxe, i never used one.

I will document once I get started. I make my last tuition payment in a month. When it's paid its robot building time! I just want to get my shopping list together so I can fire off the order ASAP and get to building.

Hey - if you do make a nice package, don't let your work be just your own, please share. Add a walkthrough, perhaps (see frontpage, top left) "How to compile a good beginners package for US.." I am sure others would benefit from it!

Thanks, 

/ Fritsl