Author Topic: starting $50 bot with son  (Read 1540 times)

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Offline darkyamiTopic starter

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starting $50 bot with son
« on: April 30, 2010, 06:18:29 PM »
We've been interested in robots for years... but did not know where to start... We've bought some snap it together kits when my son was young... not very challenging.
We tried surfing online for a local class or school but unsuccessful... The only one across the bay closed down and we never got a email response to our questions on how to get started. Some classes are now available for summer camp 45 miles away but are designed for little kids. My son is in high school now.
We're really excited after finding you. We followed the instructions...sent away for most of the parts at digikey last night and just got the email that it is on it's way....but they don't have the LED piece....mmmm... that is very challenging to find for someone who has no experience even w/ a glue gun to match and find. I hope we're replacing it with the correct part. We're taking the rest of the list and going to the neighborhood RadioShack. It will be a great family project for us. My son has APD but is earning straight As in school... This will be so helpful for him to get a feel of engineering and robotics. I used to take apart all kinds of stuff as a kid but had to stop b/c "girls don't do that". We're really looking forward to working on this project.
My older son is going to CMU in August for grad school and I'm going to ask him to check out the Robotics Club for us. He found your website for us. :D

Offline Xyver

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Re: starting $50 bot with son
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2010, 08:35:15 PM »
So.... Whats your question?

Offline corrado33

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Re: starting $50 bot with son
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2010, 09:25:57 PM »
Welcome to SoR.  

If by "the LED piece" you mean the LED, then any LED will do, you might just have to change the resistor value a little bit. (Probably not however)  If you think you're going to continue this hobby, I suggest getting the pack of random resistors they have at radio shack.  (It's only a few bucks if I remember correctly)  It's nice to have a bunch of different valued resistors just layin around, although I've ever only used 4 or 5 different values from that pack.  ;)  You'll also be able to pick up the LED at radio shack (at a much higher price than DigiKey however)  It'll probably be anywhere from $1 to $4 depending on the color you want.  Honestly the LED isn't REALLY needed, it's just a status light, but it's nice to have regardless.  

Also, some radio shacks have the little technical section (with all of the parts you need) and some don't.  So if yours doesn't have a bunch of color coded drawers with resistors and LEDs and a bunch of other stuff in it, then you'll have to go to a different radio shack.  

Also, I'd suggest buying a couple LEDs because if you get the resistor value wrong, you'll fry the LED, then you'll have to go out and get another one.  Again, you could get the bag of random LEDs if you wanted, or you could just pick up a packet of two.  (Although again, they're much cheaper online, I got a container of about 100-200 of them for a few bucks once).  It's nice to have extra LEDs laying around as well.

Anyway, good luck, they're plenty of help here.  My advice is to simply check your board before putting the microcontroller or anything important on it.  (I'm assuming you're not using a breadboard, if you are, ignore this.) One of the main problems people run into is that there will be a short somewhere on their board, causing one of the components to fry, or something just not act right.  It's kinda like the old adage, measure twice, cut once.  Well in this case, check twice, so you only have to put everything together once.  

Good luck, we'll be here if you need help.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 09:30:04 PM by corrado33 »

Offline GearMotion

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Re: starting $50 bot with son
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2010, 07:35:03 AM »
I used to take apart all kinds of stuff as a kid but had to stop b/c "girls don't do that". We're really looking forward to working on this project.

I think it is great that you are doing this. I've been trying to fight the bias that "girls don't do that" by helping any way that I can. I've known a couple of fantastic female engineers that have fought that battle and won. The profession is better with them. I wish our society's gender bias would just die a quiet death.

Feel free to turn to this board for help.

Offline collegefan77

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Re: starting $50 bot with son
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 10:22:46 PM »
I'm kind of in the same situation your in.

I'm a 14 year old teen who's interested in robotics and wants to construct and program a robot for around $50

I started a forum last night on where to start-

Someone mentioned a Lego Mindstorm MXT you can find at a toys r us. (it's for teens and good thing to start with I've heard.)

I asked about others and I found a robot you can build, but there more expensive unfortunately but its calledd the Parallax Boe-Bot, right now I'm finding a way to get this.

I found out the Mindstorm was over $200

And the Boe-Bot was $150

Basically $50 won't get you a product you just buy. Though online I've heard ways you can build a $50 with just material, but if your kid would get bored with that and likes only the features of the robot then buy a kit.

Good luck  ;D


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