Let's Make Robots!

retro light show bot - now with extra details

looks cool at night
08_spinner.bas541 bytes
retro_bot.BAS3.39 KB


Update: 2/7/09

 I do get a bit slack doing write ups, it's just not as much fun as actually building it in the first place. But here are some details, let me know if you want more info on any of it.






  Nixies: the eyes are IN-19v nixie tubes, these are a symbol tube instead of the more common number tubes. The symbols it can display are: 'Greek pi', 'A/B', '~', '<', '--', '>', '+', 'dB'

Check this link for details of how the tubes work. Basically, you connect 170vdc (depending on tube) to the anode (front grill), then each cathode is connected to the shape of the digit (or symbol in this case). When the cathode is grounded, neon between the digit and anode grill glow.


 Dekatron: These were used as counting devices, see here for a better description than I can come up with.


Along with the nixies, the dekatron are controlled by an 08 on its own board. this board also has voltage dividers to get the different voltage I needed ie. 450, 220, 170, 130, 70, 40v.


The program is very simple to control these, only problem I had was the number of inputs/outputs, so the switch at the top is to switch between programming and output. I'll add the programs as attachments.



 Motor driver:

 After cooking the L239whatever motor driver I decided to use relays, there is no volatge drop compared to the chip, so the 3 x aa holder on the base of Mr Basic is plenty (for the videos & photos these are on the side).

motordriver.jpg retro_relayssch.jpg


 450 & 220vdc:

 The 450 and 220v supply is from my High Voltage supply, it has it's own post here: http://letsmakerobots.com/node/7698




















 Side lights:

  Not included in these photos is the side lights, these are 555 driving counters driving red/blue leds. I made a board for these but I read the counter datasheet wrong, so when I put it together the leds semed random. Cutting the traces on the board and a bit of wire fixed everything.







this is what happens to a 555 when it gets 450v on one of its pins





Here is the progress for my entry in the DAGU Mr Basic competition. His name is "Retro Light Bot", his eyes are IN-19v nixie tubes, his nose is a A101 dekatron spinner, and a couple of IN-9 bar tubes on his side. 

 He is a work in progress, but his duty is to roam around and look cool in the dark.

 More soon. 



9/6/09 - Update 


 I've been playing around with .6mm polyproperlyne sheets and have made a 'head case' and body for retro. More to come soon.


 15/6/09 - update


 New video - just testing the ultrasonic and turning ability





Video #2 - In RL the dekatron looks better when its spinning fast, but my cameras frame rate can't keep up, hence it's slowed for this. Hopefully the choice of music will make sense in upcoming videos.

Comment viewing options

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

I've added some more details, but I'm not very good at explaining things, and not very good at knowing what parts to explain. Let me know the specific parts you guys want more info on, and I'll see what I can do. 


I like the light show a lot. But I would really love to read about the Nixie technology here. How did you manage to create high voltages on a small Mr Basic platform.

Four stars

I'm not certain how to vote but as good as they all are this is my favorite. I thought the retro look was great :)
Great video with the perfect music choice for your bot.
Thanks robo, don't tell anyone, but I think yours is the best in the competition.

Freakin LOL video!

Thanks for making my day!!!

Thanks frits, means a lot coming from you. Like Mikv, I watched it so many times I didn't know if it was funny.

That proves I'm smarter; I only watched it once, and knew it was dead funny right away!

(This is a poor joke-posting, I know)

Excellent video clip. Both music and light show. We are getting an awful lot of great videos here on LMR lately. Makes me wonder about the format of The Pulse.....
A pulsing video may cause epileptic fits :P