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Author Topic: A newb has his day...  (Read 2842 times)

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Offline Fiery DuckTopic starter

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A newb has his day...
« on: February 24, 2010, 05:36:18 PM »
Right. I bought the book Robot Builders Bonanza, and have read it from cover to cover. I have two main things I don't understand. Electronics and Programming. I want to use either an Axon ;D, or a basic stamp. I have also looked at the Idea at using a PDA. If I used a pda could I control my robot with my phone? :o That would be cool.

Offline HyperNerd

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2010, 03:00:59 AM »
On my iPod for now so please excuse any crappy spelling as I can't type properly with the onscreen keyboard.

I've read that book too and it is a very good one to get started with.

I suggest reading Electronics for Dummies by Gordon McComb and Earl Boyson. It starts right from the beginning and goes all the way up to a touch of programming with the Basic Stamp 2.

To learn programing, I suggest starting with VB.NET. The IDE, VB.NET 2008 Express, can be downloaded for free from Microsoft, and there are thousands of tutorials available online for it.

Once you have got the idea of VB (Visual Basic), get yourself either an Arduino or a Basic Stamp 2. The Arduino is a better microcontroller, but it means you will need to learn some C. Your knowledge of VB.NET will help you program the Stamp, but if you want my opinion, I would go with the Arduino, as it can interface better with other devices.

EDIT:
Fixed some crappy spelling as I'm on my pc now.

 -HyperNerd  
« Last Edit: February 25, 2010, 06:45:08 AM by HyperNerd »
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Offline GearMotion

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2010, 06:28:12 AM »
The book Make: Electronics might be a great book for you.

Offline blackbeard

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2010, 07:34:11 AM »
if you have the $100 to spend then get an axon! a bs2 is extremely limited and you will realize that fairly soon if you do anything of importance with them. the axon (or axon II) is king in the robot making world asside from perhaps an fpga. although if $100 is too expensive then the arduino is an excellent choice. it's cheep and does most anything.
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Offline SmAsH

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2010, 02:18:38 PM »
although if $100 is too expensive then the arduino is an excellent choice. it's cheep and does most anything.
I say roboduino, arduino's make robotics noobs cry.
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Offline Fiery DuckTopic starter

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2010, 09:46:47 PM »
I looked up the Roboduino, which looks okay. Does it have anything less than the Arduino? Also, I need to look at programmers and need to know what languages I need to use. I am also still interested in PDA bots. Let me know anything. Oh, and on the motors and the Roboduino do I just plug and play?

Offline SmAsH

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2010, 11:34:11 PM »
I looked up the Roboduino, which looks okay. Does it have anything less than the Arduino?
Nope, its just an arduino with 3 pin headers built in, saves buying breadboards etc...
Also, I need to look at programmers and need to know what languages I need to use.
Well, the robo/arduino both can use C or arduino so they will be the basis if you use either of those microcontrollers. Arduino is basically an easy, modified C platform that changes the code into C for the microcontroller. For programmers, if you use the bootloader all you need is the usb cable that comes with it.
Although, hardware programmers are very useful to have.
Oh, and on the motors and the Roboduino do I just plug and play?
Yep, although they will fry the pin if you do that. With servos it is plug in and play, with dc motors you will need a motor controller/driver, find the specs of your motor and find one with the appropriate ratings.
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Offline blackbeard

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2010, 09:30:07 AM »
the best advice i can give you for programming is don't look for programming help on the internet. instead buy a book like "c for dummies" which is a MUCH better resource. here is a list of reasons why you don't want help from internet people.

1) people always assume you want them to program for you. for allot of noobs this is correct and it's ruined help from experience coders for everyone.
2) allot of people who help are noobs and give false/awkward programs.
3) the dreaded "google it" spammers.
4) there are allot of renditions of programs like C which include C# (C sharp), C++ ect which are not always compatible and then there's always the dozens of other languages which turn up in most searches that can mislead you.
"sure, you can test your combat robot on kittens... But all your going to do is make kitten juice"

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Next step: Give them vaginas

Offline SmAsH

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2010, 04:03:47 PM »
the best advice i can give you for programming is don't look for programming help on the internet.
What! If you ask for programming help on this forum, i think a lot of people would be more than happy to help you! Sure, books are good. But what happens if you don't understand it?
Can you ask the book? No. I think the experience of this forum far exceeds any book.
Still, books are good to have, but don't be scared to ask for some help if need be.
Howdy

Offline Hertz32

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2010, 04:10:44 PM »
roboduinos r ok i use romeo arduino

Offline chelmi

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2010, 09:34:20 AM »
the best advice i can give you for programming is don't look for programming help on the internet.
What! If you ask for programming help on this forum, i think a lot of people would be more than happy to help you! Sure, books are good. But what happens if you don't understand it?
Can you ask the book? No. I think the experience of this forum far exceeds any book.
Still, books are good to have, but don't be scared to ask for some help if need be.

I think that what blackbeard meant is (correct me if I'm wrong): don't learn programming by asking question on the internet.
Buy a book, read it, practice and when you hit a wall, ask in a good forum (like SoR, yahoo answer is NOT a good option here).
Because you wont learn programming by copypasting code sample without understanding it and we (as forum users) cannot provide
programming lessons. But we can unblock you from time to time if you ask specific questions. And "I don't understand programming" is not specific :p
It's not even a question :p

Chelmi.

Offline Fiery DuckTopic starter

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2010, 07:07:29 PM »
I think I will use C. If anybody knows any good websites for learning about C, let me know...please. I think for my first robot I will hack an RC car. I can get some parts for it from a VCR/DVD player my parents have that broke. The text screen for the DVD player works and I know it has about 5 LCDs in it. I like the the look of the roboduino, but how would I connect a USB to it. I don't see a usb port.

Offline HyperNerd

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2010, 04:06:57 AM »
By USB port, which type do you mean - there are two:

Host:
Controls other devices. You would use this kind of port to connect a USB flash drive, or a PDA.
Examples: Computer, laptop, USB hub?? (not sure which it is, it's sort of both...)

Slave: (I think that's what its called)
Is controlled by another host. This type is the easiest to put into a robot.
Examples: USB flash drive, phone, PDA, printer (but not one you can connect a camera to)

If you wanted to control another device, like a PDA, you would need a USB host controller chip, and a lot of interface programming I think.

If you wanted your board to communicate with a PC or laptop, then you would need a USB -> UART adapter, like the FTDI interface chips.

 -HyperNerd
There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Offline Fiery DuckTopic starter

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2010, 12:37:39 PM »
I'm talking about for plugging the Microcontroller into the computer to program. There's a bootloader, so I don't need a programmer. Also, on the programming sites, I would like some geared towards robots if possible.

Offline Dont_Taz_Me_Bro

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2010, 03:16:22 PM »
Well I'm actually taking an intro course in mechatronics and robotics at my local community college for fun.

One thing the course does is provide each student with a Parallax Board of Education kit as seen here:

http://www.robotshop.com/parallax-board-of-education-usb-full-kit.html

They then provide you with a textbook called "What's a Microcontroller?" as seen here:

http://www.robotshop.com/parallax-whats-a-microcontroller-parts-kit-and-text-v22-3.html

If you want an easy and fun way to learn about some practical applications and BASIC programming than I highly recommend buying the two items above.

The items will allow you to fully understand how the controller works and will do so by walking you through step by step instructions for building circuits on the proto board. They will also write the code for your programs and go into detail explaining what each command and line is doing.

You start out by just playing around with LED's. Eventually you start incorporating push buttons, servos, and potentiometers.

As you progress further the book will delve into LEDs (LCD's not covered in the book) and speakers.

I've learned some really cool things, i.e. how to mimic the rotation of a servo horn to the turning of a potentiometer

It really something I think beginners should look into.....maybe a little pricey for some but it couldn't be made any simpler to really get a good grip on some of this stuff.

Offline Hertz32

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2010, 05:04:49 PM »
for learning c i use http://www.cprogramming.com/tutorial.html#ctutorial
but when i first started i used the microsoft tutorials

Offline dellagd

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2010, 05:26:27 PM »
hey yes there is a USB port on the roboduino to hook it up to the computer for programming, even though it doesnt look it.
it appears to be a female B-type USB port. you will need a cable like this to hook it up to your computer

I'm not sure if it comes with a cable but thats what you need!
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Offline Hertz32

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2010, 05:35:35 PM »
isnt that the cable lego mindstorms kits use??

Offline dellagd

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2010, 05:46:12 PM »
idk man I never used mindstorms, didnt like their style of "robotics"
Innovation is a product of Failure, which leads to Success.

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Offline Hertz32

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2010, 12:30:54 PM »
meah* only used em once at edinburgh science festival.

Offline dellagd

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2010, 03:06:11 PM »
well, for my opinion, get the axon man. You will never "outgrow" it and there is just SOOOOO much good support and good libraries (like WebbotLib) out there for it. Not only is it more POWERFUL than the BS2 board but it has WAYYYYYYYYYYY better support. I know since I have both :P
Innovation is a product of Failure, which leads to Success.

If I helped, +1 helpful pls

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Offline Xyver

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2010, 12:35:25 AM »
Arduino has good tutorials and reference pages, I've learned C entirely off the internet (not entirely, Im still a noob but everything I know so far is internet based).  If you do get Arduino, these are the 2 best pages:
Tutorials:  They teach you good things and by copying and pasting a few together you can make fun programs.  I wrote the 50$ robot code mixing a few together :D  http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage

C language: http://arduino.cc/en/Reference/HomePage

Offline RobotBits

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2010, 04:48:14 PM »
There's also a great book for learning the Arduino called "Getting Started with Arduino" (oddly enough)  ;D

It assumes no prior experience of electronics or programming and gets you going with a set of easy exercises - a much lighter read than most C books!
RobotBits - Robot kits and components for fun and learning!
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Offline Metal Slug 2

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Re: A newb has his day...
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2010, 11:46:51 PM »
I would recommend starting with a Roboduino.  If your interested in some soldering practice and have a soldering iron and solder, buy the kit.  Otherwise you can buy the pre-build board.

The roboduino and the Arduino are very similar. While the arduino has many plug and play 'shields' (extra hardware components used to increase the arduino's functionality, ex. the 'waveshield' allows users to play sound files), the roboduino has male pin headers, which allow users to easily plug in servo's or sensors via their hitec or futaba connectors.  The shields available for the arduino are compatible with the roboduino, however you will need some female-to-female jumper wires to wire them up.  Another advantage for the arduino is that the ('regular') arduino duemilanove (there are many types of arduino's) has an ATMEGA 328 microcontroller, while the roboduino comes with an ATMEGA 168.  The difference is that the atmega 328 is faster, has more memory (can store larger 'sketches' (which is the program or code you write)), and more EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read only memory).  However, if you are starting out, you will not notice any speed differences.  If needed, you can also upgrade the roboduino with an ATMEGA 328.

Basically, the roboduino is geared towards robot hobbyists, while the arduino is for everything.

The arduino is very well documented as mentioned before.  For example, MAKE has posted several informative and detailed videos on youtube taking you step by step through the components, wiring, and programming of some of the sample programs that come with the arduino software (which is free).

How to control a servo w/ a potentiometer:
How-To Tuesday: Arduino 101 potentiometers and servos

with an accelerometer:
How-to Tuesday: Arduino 101 Accelerometers

with the Ping))) ultrasonic sensor:
How-To Tuesday: Ping))) ultrasonic sensor


When it comes to learning how to program, I find that looking at sample programs and other peoples code really helps.  

Some Useful Links:

Roboduino:
http://store.curiousinventor.com/roboduino-kit-servo-ready-freeduino-arduino-compatible.html

Arduino:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=666

Female to Female Jumper wires:
http://store.curiousinventor.com/wire-cable-heatshrink/female-female-header-jumper-variety-pack.html
or http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8430
OR you can use these: http://store.curiousinventor.com/catalog/product/view/id/305

ATMEGA 328 w/ Arduino bootloader:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9217

Dirt cheap servo which is modifiable: http://hobbyking.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=3743

10k potentiometer: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9288

Good luck!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2010, 11:48:51 PM by Metal Slug 2 »

 


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