Author Topic: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?  (Read 1280 times)

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Offline tomnolan.xTopic starter

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$50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« on: February 01, 2012, 10:37:41 AM »
Tittle says it all really. I am a beginner, have read and gained some advice here on the forums.

Should  I start with the $50 robot (I find this daunting due to the fact I have heard it will more than likely cost in excess of over $200 for extra parts and also tools. Also I live in the U.K) or the Lego NXT.

Here is what is going through my head:

Lego NXT:
  • Bigger up front cost.
  • Safer option. All parts are there, easy platform to start on
  • Limitless building options
  • Lego are a good brand, will come with some instruction and i can build something 'complex' without needing to know to much TO BEGING WITH

$50 Robot
  • Could be a huge cost
  • Might not get all the parts
  • I have limited tools
  • I live in the UK (parts)
  • I dont even know what a microcontroller is
  • I will probably learn more to start with

Please could you give me some advice?

Offline Soeren

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 03:15:18 PM »
Hi,

Building LEGO after an instruction booklet is like painting by numbers - i.e. you're reduced to an assembly machine.
The upside: You can vary the build and you can dismantle and re-use every bit (unless you weld it chemically).
The downside: If you plan to do more than one robot, perhaps even advancing along the way, you will soon find the LEGO controller to be a straightjacket to creativity and there are limits to what you can build with LEGO as well, although a lot of people makes their own sensors and such in gutted out bricks.

Building the $50 robot is not that far from painting by numbers either, as all the design and calculation is done for you, but you can change it any way you want (do the straight one first though) and if you use a socket for the controller chip, it's easy to move into another project later. It will teach you to handle the raw controller (unlike LEGO) and some of that will extend to other (larger) controllers as you grow into the more advanced.

It's your money and you're the only one knowing your abilities and know how well you adapt to new stuff, so ultimately it's your choice,which nobody but you can make.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 03:44:15 PM »
Hi there :)

I don't see how building $50 robot can cost $200. Even if You haven't got anything to start with it shouldn't cost much more than £50.

I've actually made a part list based on $50 Robot Tutorial. Have a look at it (attached to this post). All prices are as of 01/02/2012 taken from eBay (Buy it now; UK only);

My opinion regarding kits (Such as LEGO NXT) is that after assembling them You still will not know how soldering works, how and why to pick certain parts and how and why they are used there, how to setup microcontroller (hardware and software), how to debug MCU You have built, how to program it, etc. You get my point. Kits are quite limited for their price, however being limited makes them very easy to use, not much fun though  ;)
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian W

Offline ErikY

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 05:05:04 AM »
I am a complete newbie when it comes to robots, so take this for what its worth.

I originally bought the lego mindstorms nxt2 kit to do with my daughter. I researched programming it, and discovered leJos a java plug in that allows you to code the lego nxt 2 mcu.

My daughter and I put together the humanoid robot, following the instructions, and we wrote some programs using the GUI that comes with it. It was pretty cool, we could make it do some cool things.

I then wrote some java programs for it, I am a software engineer, so that is the most natural part of the whole thing to me.

After going through this, here is what I realized:

1) robots are cool as hell!

2) I started thinking of things I would want to build, and I instantly realized that with the sensors included, and the sensors available, I was going to be EXTREMELY limited in what I could design and build with the lego kit.

3) I felt I wanted to understand much much more about robotics, what makes them work, how could I build things from the ground up so to speak.

4) I felt very unsatisfied by the pre-made kit.


I then found this site and have been completely fascinated with what I have seen many build.

I have been reading everything I can on this site, and have ordered all the parts to make the $50 robot, and hope to build this weekend.

What I fully expect is that the $50 robot finished product will be nowhere near as cool as the humanoid lego kit. That being said, I fully expect if I can make it work, I will learn 1000 x more about real robotics doing the $50 robot, and will feel so much more satisfied. I hopefully will also be able to expand on it, and eventually build things that are much cololer than I ever would be able to build with lego. Time will tell.

I think at the end of the day, it depends on what you want to accomplish. If building and programming really cool robots quickly will satisfy you, lego kit is really cool and easy to jump right into. if you want to know more about real robotics, I think it will leave a lot to be desired.

just my .02


Offline tomnolan.xTopic starter

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 05:12:06 PM »
Hi there :)

I don't see how building $50 robot can cost $200. Even if You haven't got anything to start with it shouldn't cost much more than £50.

I've actually made a part list based on $50 Robot Tutorial. Have a look at it (attached to this post). All prices are as of 01/02/2012 taken from eBay (Buy it now; UK only);

My opinion regarding kits (Such as LEGO NXT) is that after assembling them You still will not know how soldering works, how and why to pick certain parts and how and why they are used there, how to setup microcontroller (hardware and software), how to debug MCU You have built, how to program it, etc. You get my point. Kits are quite limited for their price, however being limited makes them very easy to use, not much fun though  ;)

Thanks for your help (and everyone else)

The parts pdf is some what poor however. Sure it tells us what we need but where do we accumuilate such items? B&Q?

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 05:36:14 PM »
The parts pdf is some what poor however. Sure it tells us what we need but where do we accumuilate such items? B&Q?
Did You read my post;D
All prices are as of 01/02/2012 taken from eBay (Buy it now; UK only);
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian W

Offline tomnolan.xTopic starter

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 04:32:51 AM »
The parts pdf is some what poor however. Sure it tells us what we need but where do we accumuilate such items? B&Q?
Did You read my post;D
All prices are as of 01/02/2012 taken from eBay (Buy it now; UK only);



Ooops, sorry!!
With the two resistors:
  • 340 ohm resistor
  •   1.62Kohm resistor
Do i just buy the ones from the US or should i buy the 360 ohm and 1.6k ohm resistors from the UK?

Thanks and again sorry!

Offline Soeren

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2012, 04:42:39 AM »
Hi,

With the two resistors:
  • 340 ohm resistor
  •   1.62Kohm resistor
Do i just buy the ones from the US or should i buy the 360 ohm and 1.6k ohm resistors from the UK?
Just use a 330 Ohm and 1.5k
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2012, 04:49:54 AM »
Instead of 340 ohm You can use 330 ohm + 10 ohm in series;
Instead of 1.62k ohm You can use 1.6k + 20 ohm;
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian W

Offline Soeren

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2012, 05:16:12 AM »
Hi,

Instead of 340 ohm You can use 330 ohm + 10 ohm in series;
Instead of 1.62k ohm You can use 1.6k + 20 ohm;
There's absolutely no need for this precision:
330 Ohm is less than 3% from 340 and with 5% tolerance resistors...
From 1k62 to 1k6 is 1.2% an from 1k62 to 1k5 (which may be much easier to get and perhaps even cheaper, as it doesn't take E-24) is 7.4%

Then look at what they're used for.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: $50 robot vs LEGO NXT?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2012, 05:40:26 AM »
Quote
There's absolutely no need for this precision: [...]
Good point, however I was just pointing out that it is possible to combine multiple resistors to get desired value  :)
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian W

 


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