Let's Make Robots!

Choosing how to use the Picaxe-28X

Hey, I'm new to this site - obviously. I created a rather beautiful robot in high school in the FIRST robotics league and worked with the programming, wiring, and mechanics of the robot attached. plus I was the leader of the team. I have also worked with soldering and circuitry in the past but am not perfect at it and I can use a breadbord rather well.

Now you know what I have done so you can help with my decisio. I am planning to get the Picaxe-28X. I have decided I can handle an Non-OOP language (I like Java) and will go with the cheap and easy to start with. I have been looking at three different versions though: The IC, The Project Board, or The Experimenter?

The Project board seems easier to add things like motor controllers because of the additional slot, but I am not sure which is better the Pololu or the L293D. Also I am not sure if the extra, pre-attached tidbits on the Experimenter will be helpful enough to warent the extra money. I would like to keep this as cheap as possible without getting in over my head.

Lastly and leastly, serial or USB. which is better for modern computers. there is like a 10$ diff. but is it at all important.

Finally, am I just going about this the wrong way entirly and need to re-think things (Suggestions required if so)




2004 – Ragnar:
This robot is designed to cap the goals with the 36” diameter to multiply scores. Our robot was also capable of pushing small goals into the scoring areas.

... Specs

2004robot.jpg Weight: 130lbs (after 4hrs of work on practice day)
Dimensions: 32” x 28” x 60”
Speed: 5mph
Drive System: 2 wheel drive (Bosch Drill motors) with casters
Manipulators : Scissor lift with pneumatics claws attached
Strength & Weaknesses: Our robot did not break or burned any component on the field. The scissor lift was very slow. It took 30s to reach the maximum height. Caster wheels made the robot difficult to control.
Autonomous Strategy: Grab the multiplier ball ASAP.

Programmed with some varriant of C-script. controlled with 3 joysticks: tank style with the third for extra functions like the scissor-lift and the arm (controlled by a different person then the driver). back had caster wheels and the arms were opened and closed by Pnematics.

the main motors were rather powerful drill motors attached to a gearbox designed for torque and control.

This robot was in the San Jose Competition in 2004 and came in 42nd. not bad for my schools Virgin year and for our first robot.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

What would you like to build? 

/ Fritsl

Honestly I don't have anything particualar in mind. Mostly I need to start with basic output and basic input (analog and digital) then move up to more complex in's and out's. I know I want to eventually work with Remote controlled robots, LCDs, and RFID. but the RFID is a long ways away.

This may sound odd but I want to also eventually create an autonomous/remote controlled, leather-covers (ill solve the heating issues some way) robot to drive around the renissiance fair and play little jokes for no reason. donno why I have this ambition but I do. lol.

My ideal career after college is to design different small gadgets like phones, mobile internet devices, and other randomly strange robots or devices. this will help me much with the hardware aspect of it. 

Well. If you want to make a finished robot, I'd go for  The IC, The Project Board

If you also have interest in electronics / want to learn and experiment with that from a beginners perspective, and you do not mind that if you make a robot with the board, it will be large and clumsy, then go for The Experimenter :)

/ Fritsl

is there a large learning curve difference between the Board and the IC? for example I think I can get how to make the IC work by itself after going through the breadbord basics and the datasheet, but I am not sure of how to get the IC to work with the other types of chips like the Microcontrollers or the other chip (i don't know it's name) that goes on the project board

The hardest thing is figuring out where the pins go to on the project board. Datasheets help with the pins on the chip but if using the project board Fritz made a color coded walkthrough of the project board http://letsmakerobots.com/node/75. The datasheet for the motor driver shows which pins connect to pins on the processor and which go to motors. It is a little tough to figure out but the datasheet on the project board helped http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/docs/AXE020.pdf. If you are still having problems post specific questions and I may be able to answer them.

Prior to making my first robot (modeled after the Start Here link) I had it all working on a breadboard so I could learn. Then I put it on a project board.

I think that helps a lot. I am going to buy the IC then work towards the board. that is the cheapest way and probably the way with the most beneficial learning curve.

Thanks a lot for your help in this matter. hopefully in the not to distant future I will show you the beginnings of that remote controlled leather covered robot. I am an aprentice leather smith so shaping and carving it is fun for me. further more, mixing leather and these robots will be just heaven for me :D