Let's Make Robots!

JST For Dummies

I am interested in learning how to use connectors, but am having trouble finding a beginner's guide. I looked at Molex, but think JST makes more sense for my small projects. Is there a resource that describes what parts are necessary and how to do it. I'm probably only interested in 2, 3 and 4 wire in-line connectors. Is DigiKey the primary source for JST parts? One of the things I want to avoid is buying things that I don't need (e.g., the wrong size crimper). So, as the subject line implies, I'm looking for an absolute beginners' guide to JST connectors.  Thanks.

Picaxe USB driver issue

I have just received my Picaxe 28X1 Starter Pack and, after an hour of trying, am still unable to install a driver for it. I am running Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit on an AMD Phenom II X6 1035T at 2.6 GHz (or so they say). I have tried the self-extracting, self identifying driver, I have tried the manual install. I am not getting anywhere... well, nowhere good. I have combed the rev-ed site. I assume that the driver was included on the CD I got with the starter. It seems likely that I am just missing something obvious.

Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks!  ~Allen

Picaxe suppliers in the US

Can people please suggest good Picaxe suppliers in the US.  I was just looking for the Picaxe-08 Starter Pack (AXE003U) and all of the sources seem to be Commonwealth countries (UK, Canada & Australia).


Source for a USB PICAXE-28X1 Starter Pack

Does anybody know where on teWeb I can find a USB Picaxe 28X1 Starter Pack that's in stock and available in the US. Solarbotics lists them, but they're out of stock (and out of stock on the SHR robot bundle). HVW Technologies, a division of Solarbotics operating out of the same building, says that they do have it in stock, but then I discover that they're both in Calgary, so shipping costs approximately 30% of the cost of the product. (Presumably their shipments are not being affected by the current Canadian mail strike.) Anyway, all I want to do is buy a USB Picaxe 28X1 Starter Pack.

Picaxe questions

I started with an Arduinno because I read about it in Make Magazine (so very recently). I am considering trying Picaxe, because it seems as though the programming will be easier and I do not have a strong programming background (read: Basic in 1984).

Two quick questions:

What distinguishes a robot from other machinery

I would imagine that there is a well-defined, generally-accepted definition of  robot, but I don't know what what it is. I would have thought that it would be some degree of autonomy, i.e., that to some extent it would receive data from the environment and respond differently depending on what those data were. If this is true, though, it excludes RC machines and things on wheels that may look like a robot, but just roll. There is no doubt in my mind that Frits's Start Here Version 2 (or Version 1) is a robot.