Let's Make Robots!

Program and chips, What am I to look for?


ok, I know c++ reasonably well 

I know some electronics....

that said, I want to build a robot that is controled by a computer. right now a desktp pc, later a laptop or somthing smaller.

I can (or rather my program can) read the S pins on LPT1 and output to the D pins. I would rather use USB or wireless AP but I have no clue how to do that at this point.the basic starting skeliton of the robot is a slaughtered RC hummer. all the electronic guts are gone as is the shell. just motors drivegears and frame is all there is right now.

I built some bump/turn circuits but I don't like the way they (don't) work.

what I want to do with all this is, using a DIY opto relay with DIY solid state relays, read sensor I/O states and send I/O comands to activate forward reverse and turn ciruits. simple enough so far.

but, I want to do it by sending pulses through a wire (until I go wireless) if pulse 1 is long go forward if 2 is long reverse 3 left 4 right 5 gadget does this thing 6 gadget does that.... so on.

I know people do that. RC is a wireless version of it. but what is it called?

I want a send wire, a recieve wire and a ground. maybe a forth for power. no more than 4 wires. on the PC end it is prety simple. but I don't even know what to look for for the other end. maybe something similar to a decade counter or a PIC?

PIC programing is not something i know.

 How to make a short pulse = 0 and a long pulse = 1 and cycle through a cycle of at least 4 pulses and send the sensor data as pulses to the computer, thats what I need to know. 10 pulses would be realy nice for the robot receiver. plus as many outputs back to the pc. the more the better. 

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Hello OldOak,


A couple of suggestion;


The first is get hold of an Ardunio board, this has an ATMEL processor, some I/O, AD, PWM etc, it has a USB port, is open source and comes with a very nice IDE and a C like language, very nice indeed. Oh and it’s not expensive.


The other suggestion is have a look at the Leaf Project (www.leafproject.org), this uses a processor board for the low level I/O and a laptop running windows, have a look they have done a lot and a lot of difficult stuff is down for you.


All the best




If you want the laptop to be carried by the Hummer, then perhaps some of the Phidgets interface boards can be used to wire drive through relays the motors on the vehicle and plug into the USB of the laptop. They even have a few h-bridges too, for more precise motor control.

If you want radio links between the Hummer and the PC, then it would probably be better to get a micro attached to an h-bridge to drive the motors on the Hummer, and an RF link like Zigbee back to the PC. An AVR or Arduino would be closest in a programming language to the C++ you're familiar with, are actually C like rather than C++.

It will have its own brain. but I want to work out all the bugs first. later I want to use AI programing and have it be able to learn how to get around on its own and find junk to stash or something weird like that. so it will need its own onboard computer. that is a long way off though. a picaxe will do some of the simple stuff. good for a start. will an EPIC programer work with a Picaxe? I have an EPIC I think. PICs could be realy usefull, I could use them to give it reflexes that don't use the main computer. like if it bumps its front right side it turns without the main computers help.

anyway a Picaxe is a good start... Thanks


Seriously, one $12 chip and you can send all the serial data you want to it. It's in BASIC! If nothing else, why would you want a robot physically tied to a PC? Just zap your program in and you are done.
I'll give it its own brain later.