Let's Make Robots!

Read the manual! (A guide to newbies)

Well folks,

It seems we have a lot of newbies lately. This website is here to ask questions and get answers however, there seem to be a lot of questions popping up that sorta shouldn't be asked... Here's what I mean:

If you are new to electronics or robots or programming don't ask a question about step 487 when you know nothing of step 1, 2 or 3. Again, if you are new to this don't even think about motors or sensors etc. YOU NEED TO START WITH A BLINKING LED, period. Baby steps, folks!

Second: (And this drives a lot of people nuts) I would say about 80% of the questions asked around here are found IN THE MANUAL(S) If you are using a Picaxe (I'm sure there is simmilar help with other systems) there are 3 manuals available. In your Picaxe Programmer software, Under "Help" there are PDF's for getting started, BASIC commands and even how to hook everything up. Under that same menu there are also PDF's for just about every Picaxe modual they make. PLEASE, PLEASE, Read these manuals! Seriously, grab a beer and just read them --Under interfacing circuts there are pictures on how to hook things up and chunks of code to make them go. I still to this day, like to browse the BASIC Commands PDF and am still finding commands I didn't know about that seem to make my life easier.

Third: Break everything up! If you are trying to add a Sharp distance sensor to your bot, don't try to add the code into your main code. Instead write a seperate code including a debug command just to be sure the sensor is working and you can get an idea of the numbers it is spitting out. Next, write these numbers down on paper noting what variable number coresponds with what distance. You should do the same with your drive code: Write a seperate code including the commands you need for Fwd, Rev, SpinR and SpinL. LABEL EVERYTHING WELL WITHIN YOUR CODE TOO!! Now when you go to write your main code you have all these little snippits to go back to and you know they work. If nothing else, being able to cut and paste will keep you from having ot type too much. --As a point of reference, I have about 30-40 "sub-codes" I wrote to run Walter before I even thought of trying to put them together into one big code.

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I wont even take it... lol I hate tests. When there are a lot of other options out there for robot builders this would prolly be the last site anyone would ever join again if you make them take a freaking test. 

I have asked some stuff that are in the manual and I have read the picaxe manual but was hoping for some experiance in the matter. Only to get well check google.com or RTFM... well suckas I have and still am stuck sometimes. So I come on here to get the word from the experianced. That hardly works except for Oddbot and sometimes Robologist.

Reading the manual, and checking google is great and should be done first. But you guys have lots and lots of experiance. So if I cant find something on this site from searching then I will ask.

Make me take a freaking test and good bye! lol :P 

The "test" would only be done once and would  help ensure you read the best practices. IE you know not to put some long paragraph in your signature, you know to use the forum for questions, and you know to avoid pasting hundreds of lines of code into a single post unless it is neccessary.
With you on the test thing Lol. I hate sites that expect me to give more than an email for registration. You wouldn't see me for dust (pixels?) on a site that wants me to answer a quiz before it lets me play.

We're not talking about 50 essay questions or anything :) Just 5 questions or so, and simple stuff that anyone here should be able to answer from common sense, like:

I have a question about how to wire up a circuit. I should post my question:

A) In the Shout Box
B) As a Robot entry
C) In a Forum posting

It would take literally 30 seconds or so to fill out the quiz. I really don't think it'll be a big deterrent. Nothing stops people from browsing the site freely without registering -- you only need to register if you want to start posting and take part in the community, and in that case I don't think it's unreasonable to ask you to answer a handful of questions just to show that you'll be a polite, reasonable member of the community. And honestly, if someone really isn't willing to spend a minute or two reading the FAQ before they go demand an answer to their question, then maybe the entrance quiz is doing its job :)


I would A. Type it in all CAPS in the shout box first. Then B enter the question as a robot and a challenge. The challenge is to answer my question for no prize at all!

ok I am going back to my hole now. :D 


i would have to say, (somewhat from personal experience) that most of the beginners here look for the easy way out, rather than just looking through the manuals they have other people do it for them. However in then end having others help you detracts from the real purpose of answering your own questions in the first place, (which should be to learn more about robotics and how you can do it on your own). Just my opinion on the matter

I hear you. I am also a newbie in many ways. I have never piloted a (real) airplane for example. But if I ever would get the chance, I'd love to learn that from A through Z. By myself. Hopefully I would have someone experienced next to me, to hold up the FM.

You say "most beginners" on LMR look for an easy way. I disagree with that. I find there are a lot of that kind of beginners here, but most of the new arrivals are willing to learn, read, experiment, fail, get up and start over again. Most of the new members that choose to be a part of this community anyway. The others somehow "disappear" from our radar before their second day.

Welcome in LMR's long tail, iCon!


I'm sure none of you have ever asked questions, the answers for which are in the manual.

/end sarcasm....

I realise the frustrations, but I don't think LMR is a pissing contest, it's a community forum. If you don't want to answer people's questions, then don't.

As a newbie, I DO read the manual, and the advice is good - but since I have no reference frame, I am simply not sure that I've a) interpreted the manual correctly b) interpreted the problem correctly, c) read the right section, d) supplied the right/relevant information,e) use the right components, f)plugged them into the right place, g) understood my electronics properly, h) done my mathematics correctly... the list is endless, of course - but it is endless because I have no experience or reference point from which I can quickly diagnose a problem.

The point of a forum is not to brag, or demean, it's to open YOUR experience to US. In return, we hope that we can develop our hardware/software to broaden the experience for everyone.

You were all newbies once, and although I think a lot of you have creations for which you should be proud, pride in a community forum has no place.

Patience is a virtue, and we all win. jumping up and down and inflicting initiation rites on people in the form of quizzes or tests, is just.. barbaric.

I agree with you. I read the manuals but my background is 100% software and coding not electrical diagrams and such. I asked a lot of basic questions and no one got on me or told me RTFM. I think the main issue is since we are growing th enumber of people asking questions that are already answered on the website in great detail is also growing. I tend to reanswer someone's questions a couple times and point them to the area where it was already answered. After a couple times I ignore most of their posts because they obviously haven't looked here for the anser in the search box. It does get annoying, but telling someone RTFM! isn't a good answer all of the time. Sometimes Ive read it 5 times and still dont get it. Other times I got lazy and havent searched elsewhere and wanted a simple answer ;)