Let's Make Robots!

AVR Breadboardin and shopping list..

Ok So Im about to order some parts, I figure i'll start with the AVR 8pin AT tiny of some sort.

I've found a few tutorials on just getting LEDS to blink and such using the AVR. So I have a few questions: (btw if you know of any tutorials point me that way, im on avrfreaks as well)

Do any of you have a Job programming MicroControllers?

Im just curious if anyone here works with microcontrollers (mainly programming with them) as a job, right now I have a B.S. in Computer Science but Microcontrollers and programming with them in ASM/C (which I know quite well) has always been kinda something I wanted to do.

 

But I don't know if i've ever heard/seen someone doing this without a CE or EE degree.?

 

 

Multimeter (how much should I spend)

When it comes to small electronics (like the ones presented here) what should I be looking to spend for a digital multimeter?

Does brand matter? ...Also some of them have ranges? Im not sure I understand what that means. like a 15 range......39 range etc...?

What range should I look for minimum?

 

thanks

Weller Soldering Irons?

Since I can buy these locally....how good are they?

I've seen a few weller soldering iron kits (30 watts....perfect for small stuff right?) for a good price. How are these Soldering irons for stuff like Robotics and such?

 

Thanks

If not weller are there any retail shops that sell "decent" ones. I dont need anything hardcore.

 

Understanding the Basic Electronic Components

So I understand AVR assembly for the most part, and generally understand the overview of microcontrollers. but when it comes to specific components (besides the obvious stuff like resistors/batterys) I dont understand what they do....and more specifically WHEN to use them?

Stuff like Capacitors,Regulators,Inductors,Crystals,Etc

 

Where can I find a generally overview of When and what these components do? to further my knowledge. I can of course wikipedia the definitions....but I more want to know when I should use these specific things, and what to use...

Has anyone done a "Heli" flying bot?

Nothing fancy, but im wondering if anyone has done much in flying bots.

My Idea is just to get one to up in the air initially (i'd have a string/killswitch of some sort to turn it off or to prevent it from going to high.)

 

Im curious what weights/power would be needed....what kinds of motors etc.... And it seems like if you had a servo attached to the propeller that "tilted" it backwards/forwards/left/right that you could maybe get some control in direction?

Beginner Questions

So i've always been very interested in Electronics, but eventually ended up pursuing a career in Computer Science. Anyways I have the programming portion down pretty well.....but my problem is , is that I want to get into the hardware of microcontrollers.

I've done some research on some kits and such, but.....how would I go about "building my own".

Like not purchasing a pre-built board kit, but actually getting the microcontroller.....soddering it in...and it's components or is that probably not a smart thing to do?