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Author Topic: Questions about what to get!  (Read 953 times)

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Offline PhantomX9Topic starter

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Questions about what to get!
« on: June 29, 2012, 10:11:25 PM »
First off as this is my first post on these forums even though i registered back in 09, i finally decided to stop beating around the bush and start a hobby in robotics, so i scraped together about 220$ and here is my question.

Besides buying the things mentioned in the 50$ robot tut, what else would be a good investment to make.
Should i buy a bunch of hobby engines and other electronic stuff(if i should please list good items to buy.)
Should i buy a kit? Should i buy a articuno? err i mean arduino, and which one would be the best for someone with no knowledge of these things?

I apologize for wasting forum space with these questions but any and all help is appreciated.

(Also why are there so much verification questions?)

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 02:02:46 AM »
I say keep these 220$ and buy only things needed to build robot You want to build.
"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 knossos

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 09:55:26 AM »
I wouldn't buy too much until you know how interested you are in continuing the hobby, but if you are committed to it, the first addition I would recommend would be a Sharp IR Rangefinder.  It is fairly simple to interface and adds a wide range of possibilities.
"Never regret thy fall,
O Icarus of the fearless flight
For the greatest tragedy of them all
Is never to feel the burning light."
 
Oscar Wilde

Offline PhantomX9Topic starter

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 04:28:53 PM »
Thanks for the replies, i guess i will first build the 50$ and see where to go from there, but i am wondering what is the general opinion of arduino for robotics?

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2012, 12:54:13 AM »
Arduino is good, but You can't beat home made MCU. When You do something Your self, a lot of knowledge is gained, also, You can build it the way You want it to be. At the end of the day it's like programming in C# for windows, it's all nice and easy, but when it comes to custom requirements and raw power, everyone goes with C++.
"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 PhantomX9Topic starter

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 12:10:21 AM »
Arduino is good, but You can't beat home made MCU. When You do something Your self, a lot of knowledge is gained, also, You can build it the way You want it to be. At the end of the day it's like programming in C# for windows, it's all nice and easy, but when it comes to custom requirements and raw power, everyone goes with C++.

Is there any resources you would recommended on making your own MCU? other then the one in the 50$ tutorial.

Offline KurtEck

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 09:35:42 AM »
Making your own processor board can be a lot of fun, recently I have made a few different ones, but I ended up doing this by having the boards to be fabricated and then I did all of the assembly work.   This was a lot of work as I used mostly surface mount components and I added a lot of things, like switches, speaker, power buss, ...  If you are going to build your own boards you should invest in a nice soldering iron/station, plus magnifying light.  If your board uses all through hole components, then while I would still recommend getting a good quality soldering iron/station, it does not need to be as good.

Something I would also recommend getting is some form of multimeter, that you can measure volts and ohms.  If something does not work, this helps out to figure out where you may have a short or where you may have an open circuit.

However, I am not sure if I would personally recommend this as what I would do for my first project.  It really depends on your interests.  Personally I think Purchasing a kit can also be a good way to start off as there are often lots of other people that have also built the system, and they often can help out when there are issues.  Also they can usually get you up and running quickly enough for you to experiment and find out where your interests lie.  Are you more interested in the electronics?  Or the hardware?  Or the programming?  Also depending you where you live, there may be clubs around that have workshops that you can attend and learn.  Example: http://www.seattlerobotics.org/WorkshopRobot/index.php.

As for Arduinos versus other boards?  Again hard to answer.  The plus to them are that there is a lot of support for them and lots of different boards you can purchase for a cheap price.  Downside is that the boards don't typically have any standard servo type connectors and the associated power buss... The boards that are sold here are nice for that.  There are also some other boards out there that added this plus still maintain compatibility with Arduinos, like(http://www.lynxmotion.com/c-153-botboarduino.aspx).  The Arduino environment is free, but others prefer to use standard C or C++ without the Arduino stuff.  I agree with them, but currently do most of my stuff within the Arduino environment as it is fun to share...

Most of my robots come from Lynxmotion, but I do have one from Trossen and have had others, like Robonova.  So forgive me that I mention mainly Lynxmotion products. 

One thing you will find when you start playing with Robots, is there is lots of different types of robots.  Sometimes you have to experiment to find out where your interests lie.  Examples:
a) Wheeled robots. Like the $50 here, or the SRS one I mentioned above, or one from Parallax (http://www.parallax.com/Store/Education/KitsandBoards/tabid/182/ProductID/820/List/0/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName,ProductName).  These are nice table top learning robots.  If you find you want want to get off the table and more speed or load and expandability (but at a higher price), I have had a lot of fun with the Rover from Lynxmotion: http://www.lynxmotion.com/p-860-a4wd1-combo-kit-for-autonomous-botboarduino.aspx

b) Or you might like track drive robots...

c) Or you might like Biped walking robots.  There are several of these out there, like the Robonova, or Robotis.  One of the simplest ones is the Lynxmotion Brat: http://www.lynxmotion.com/c-97-brat.aspx

d) Or you might like multi-leg robots like hexapods.  This is where I find I have the most fun and have several, including: My first one from Lynxmotion: http://www.lynxmotion.com/c-101-ch3-r.aspx  and my most recent one the PhantomX from Trossen: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/c/phantomx-hexapod-kits.aspx.  But as these all have at least 18 servos (some have 24), the cost goes up...

...

Again I am only touching the tip of the iceberg here... Sorry for my long winded answer :D

Kurt

Offline PhantomX9Topic starter

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Re: Questions about what to get!
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 04:21:07 PM »
Thanks a lot of the the reply kurt, really helpful! This forum has an extremely helpful community.

 


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