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.

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I am well impressed with the warm orange "Glow" from the vacuum tubes - very-very nice effect.

My Question is not  "Did you get a shock off it yet", my Question is "How many shocks have you had off it" ......LÖL

Keep up the cool looks and i wish you lots of fun during the developement.....


Yesterday I did get a bit complacent with it, the caps hold a charge for a little while after the power is removed. Nothing serious, only about three times, only side effect is a bit of a twitch and some tourettes, slowly passing now. Thanks.
take apart a disposable camera and you'll feel it. My only question is... ahem. Will one of the camera caps hold a charge when removed from the camera? Would make an awesome semi-harmless taser, if you ask me.
They will for a while. The caps on the flash will give you a good jolt. When unhooked from a power source they store a charge until it is either used by attaching something to it or letting it sit for a few days.
nice work, thats a robot with character!
Looks cool! Does it move yet?
Only on the bench, I haven't put all the segments of code together yet, so it either moves or it's lights are on. I'll put it all together over the next few nights, and then a new video.
I love the retro lighting affects, should look really cool in the dark.

That is the coolest Mr. Basic by far! Retro style :D 

Will it also double as a security bot with high voltage shocks for burgarlers?


Even though it would be a bit of trouble, I wonder if you could backlight your sonar with orange LEDs?


Thanks Odd, means a lot from the Master (sorry Frits).

The final video will be to the tune of an ACDC song (because of the 450V parts of it work on) with some voice over, it's gonna be soooo lame :)

I've got some little neon globes, I'll try them for some backlighting.