Author Topic: Too many choices, what to use.  (Read 7161 times)

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Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Too many choices, what to use.
« on: January 24, 2007, 06:38:32 PM »
Hey everyone. So I am really wanting to build a robot. I am thinking of an object avoidance differential drive, where if the robot gets within about 2 feet of something it will take a 90* turn. I am thinking to make it a little cooler I want it to have "automatic headlights" type thing where if the light goes below a certain level a few LEDs turn on. I have various batteries and servos laying around from my rc airplanes, and was planning on using a CD or its case for the chassis (although I will probably end up using HPDE or aluminum) and some wheels from my rc planes. I will need to get a photoresister to detect when the lights go out, and some sort of sensor to detect how close I am to objects, I'm thinking of a sharp IR rangefinder or two. Is this a plausible 'bot? This brings me to a toss up between microcontrollers. I was thinking of the OOPic-R. I like the "plug-n-play" because I am horrible at soldering and figure it would be easier to trasfer between robot models. It also says it has the PIC16F877 which it seems quite a few of you use and seem to like. I also like that it can use several languages (I think that is what I saw) because currently I have no knowledge when it comes to programming so I thought I would start out in Basic just to get my feet wet, then move on to C. To me, it seems like it could do the simple robots, but also go on to more complex things as I gain experience. Do any of you have experience with the OOPic-R? Does it look like a good controller? Is it worth the cost? Is there something similar for a little less money? OOPic-II+ maybe, that is about 15 dollars cheaper. What is different about the two?
Sorry for such a long post and all the questions. Thanks in advance for the help.

Offline Admin

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 07:30:42 PM »
Quote
I am thinking to make it a little cooler I want it to have "automatic headlights" type thing where if the light goes below a certain level a few LEDs turn on.

A neat idea, but you have a problem:
robot sees darkness, turns LEDs on
since the LEDs are on, the robot sees enough light, so it turns the LEDs off

You will have to make sure the photoresistor does not see the light from the LEDs . . .

Quote
Is this a plausible 'bot?

Actually, very plausible! And quite simple too, which is very good for a beginner. I applaud you for putting tons of research into it before asking :) Id say go with your idea, you're definitely on the right track.

Quote
Do any of you have experience with the OOPic-R? Does it look like a good controller? Is it worth the cost?

Havnt used it, but it looks decent and useful. The price is in the upper range, but still decent. Shop around and see who is selling it the cheapest.
http://www.oopic.com/ordering.htm

Quote
Is there something similar for a little less money? OOPic-II+ maybe, that is about 15 dollars cheaper. What is different about the two?

The OOPic R has a much better setup for connecting your wires and programming cable than the OOPic II. It also has many other useful features like a motor driver, more power options, and a peizo buzzer. Its definitely worth the additional $15. I think the OOPic II was meant as just a bare-bones type system . . .
http://www.oopic.com/connect.htm

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 09:34:06 AM »
Thanks for the reply Admin. I never thought about the photoresistor seeing light from the LEDs, I was worried that they could interfere with the IR rangefinder. Thanks again.

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 03:37:41 PM »
Ahh man, I just noticed, all of the software for this is for Windows >:( We no longer have any windows machines in my house. Are there any comparable microcontrollers that are compatible with Linux? I have been looking and the only one I found is the Brainstem GP 1. http://www.acroname.com/robotics/parts/S1-GP-BRD.html
It is pretty close to the same price, but I'm not sure how good it is.

Offline trigger

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 05:00:50 PM »
Ahh man, I just noticed, all of the software for this is for Windows >:( We no longer have any windows machines in my house. Are there any comparable microcontrollers that are compatible with Linux? I have been looking and the only one I found is the Brainstem GP 1. http://www.acroname.com/robotics/parts/S1-GP-BRD.html
It is pretty close to the same price, but I'm not sure how good it is.


I'd go AVR. Check out www.avrfreaks.net.  There's an open source C compiler for it.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who can read binary, and those who can't.

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2007, 05:18:29 PM »
Thanks for letting me know about AVR, but o far all I have found is:
Mavric-IIB Price is a bit steep at $99.00 for the cheapest version. Maybe I am searching wrong but I am not finding a whole lot of augmented MCUs with AVR microcontrollers. It certainly doesn't help when I don't really understand the descriptions of what all it can do.
Still searching. I'm not really interested in making my own augmented MCU. I'm not very good at searching for things. Too frustrating when I can't find what I want. Unfortunately I have to go do a stinking Chem lab write up. Thanks for all the help so far guys.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2007, 05:19:54 PM by stlcards08 »

Offline Steve Joblin

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 06:15:24 PM »
Check out PICAXE for the most cost effective and simple microcontrollers out there... www.picaxe.com

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 07:01:21 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion, however, it says they do not currently support Linux.

Offline trigger

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2007, 07:44:00 PM »
Thanks for letting me know about AVR, but o far all I have found is:
Mavric-IIB Price is a bit steep at $99.00 for the cheapest version. Maybe I am searching wrong but I am not finding a whole lot of augmented MCUs with AVR microcontrollers. It certainly doesn't help when I don't really understand the descriptions of what all it can do.
Still searching. I'm not really interested in making my own augmented MCU. I'm not very good at searching for things. Too frustrating when I can't find what I want. Unfortunately I have to go do a stinking Chem lab write up. Thanks for all the help so far guys.


You can get a development board for the AVR called the "Arduino" for $32 off of sparkfun.com.  There is also an integrated development environment (IDE) which simplifies the programming, so it's great for beginners (and it allows access to advanced features because it uses C).
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who can read binary, and those who can't.

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2007, 08:04:59 PM »
Trigger, you are a lifesaver. My head was about to explode I was getting so frustrated with not being able to find a controller. This looks like what I need. And the price is definately right as well ;D
Is there anything else I would need to get along with the Arduino USB board?
Anyway, thanks again.
Edit: just saw another of your posts about arduino. Doesn't appear as though I need anything more besides sensors, base, and modified servos. The USB is a bonus as well because my laptop has plenty of USB ports, but hardly any others.
Any one have any reasons I shouldn't get the Arduino? I don't want to buy it and find it to be a waste, because although it is cheaper than most, $32 is still alot to a HS student with no income.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2007, 08:21:35 PM by stlcards08 »

Offline trigger

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2007, 11:31:16 PM »
Trigger, you are a lifesaver. My head was about to explode I was getting so frustrated with not being able to find a controller. This looks like what I need. And the price is definately right as well ;D

No problem. :)

Quote
Is there anything else I would need to get along with the Arduino USB board?

You'll need a power supply.  USB can power the board while programming, but if you want to put it in a mobile robot, you'll want a battery.  A 9 volt is what you need for this board--preferably rechargeable (costs more up front, but less in the end :)).  Also, you'll need a way to hook the 9 volt up to the board, so look around for a compatible connector. 
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who can read binary, and those who can't.

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2007, 07:50:56 PM »
Just ordered it last night. Best of all, my dad didn't even make me pay for it ;D
Thanks again for the help and suggestions.

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2007, 07:16:34 PM »
Just recieved my Arduino! ;D As an unexpected surprise, the ATMEGA168 came with it rather than just the ATMEGA8 :o
Thanks for the suggestion again, looks like it is going to be GREAT ;D

Offline trigger

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2007, 07:32:49 PM »
Just recieved my Arduino! ;D As an unexpected surprise, the ATMEGA168 came with it rather than just the ATMEGA8 :o
Thanks for the suggestion again, looks like it is going to be GREAT ;D

Awesome! I'm excited to hear how it turns out for you. I'm in the process of designing and building a homemade version myself. I'll keep you posted on my progress too.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who can read binary, and those who can't.

Offline Brandon121233

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2007, 11:11:35 PM »
Hey guys
I'm just at about the same point, I'm pretty sure that the arduino is the right choice for my project, but I'm still a but skeptical about its performance. Do either of you guys or any one else have some first hand experience with the board (for example how user friendly it is) and could let me know if you think it is a good buy? For my project I'm look at using it to controll two servo motors, an ir line detector and an ultrasonic detector, and my eventual hope is to be able to interface this board directly through the USB port to hook up to my TI 89 Titantium calculator to run various BASIC programs in real time and use the calculator screen as a monitor to look at sensor info. Any info you could tell me about how it handles would be great and I'm sure other people would appreciate it as well, as this seems to be a beginner friendly board (interface and price wise).
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 11:15:02 PM by Brandon121233 »
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Offline JesseWelling

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2007, 11:32:30 PM »
Some one was asking about augmented AVR boards.
I might be a bit late but Robostix from gumstix.com is pretty good.
It's got a very inteligent pen pattern as well as a voltage regulator built in.
And should you ever want to expand your skills in to the embedded Linux department,
It's the obvious winner.

http://gumstix.com/store/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=139

It also comes in a headerless version for $10 cheaper

Offline ed1380

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2007, 02:23:22 PM »
so the Arduino is a good beginner board, that also has intermediate level functions. What is an example of objects it can control?
Problems making the $50 robot circuit board?
click here. http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=3292.msg25198#msg25198

Offline trigger

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2007, 03:10:11 PM »
so the Arduino is a good beginner board, that also has intermediate level functions. What is an example of objects it can control?

It's a microcontroller board. Characterizing the board as having beginner or intermediate functions is not entirely accurate; it's the software that's been abstracted into libraries so that beginners can use it more easily (but since it's written in C++, there is stll access to the low-level functions). It uses the same microcontroller that some very advanced projects use. If you want to see some interesting example projects, search for Arduino on youtube.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who can read binary, and those who can't.

Offline ed1380

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2007, 04:24:32 PM »
so it will be able to controller a diferential drive robot, and many other things. you just have to program it.
Problems making the $50 robot circuit board?
click here. http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=3292.msg25198#msg25198

Offline Brandon121233

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2007, 06:37:25 PM »
Hey stlcards08, do you have any updates on how your project is turning out? Or how well the Arduino is working out for you?
Hell, there are no rules here—we're
   trying to accomplish something.

                                                                              —Thomas Edison

Offline stlcards08Topic starter

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2007, 06:22:30 PM »
Unfortunately, I have been caught up with school so I haven't been able to do much of anything. I haven't even been able to order any parts for my project other than the Arduino yet. From what my dad and I have done so far with the Arduino, it seems great. My dad was controlling servos, but I haven't had the time to learn very much C++ or the Arduino library so i never really got much further than LEDs and Piezo speakers. This summer I'm gonna spend alot of time in the afternoons learning (mornings are for golf, and after golf, basketball/football/hockey etc.) and hopefully by the end I will have made my original bot, and then something that will be of use to do some simple task around the house.

Offline Togo5

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2007, 03:53:36 PM »
hey ADMIN

can you please give me some more info and possible english dealerships that sell the OOPIC-R board as it sounds perfect for what i need., and your the only one who seems to have info on it. iv browesed the web and have got a general gist of it but other info would be perfect

Thanks

Offline dunk

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2007, 04:33:34 PM »
hey Togo5,
so i have had pretty good luck shopping on-line for parts from other countries.
i regularly buy bits from all over europe, the us and asia.

you sometimes have to pay a bit more in shipping but usually not that much. (shop around if the price looks unreasonable.)
as for currency conversion, google can tell you the rates (try searching for "5 euros in pounds" for example.) but any website willing to ship abroad will do all the conversions automagically.

what else, ah yes, time delay. usually stuff arrives to me in europe from any other european country about 1 day later than normal. usually 2 or 3 days.
from the states things usually take 7 to 10 days.
from asia, more like 2 weeks.

dunk.

Offline Togo5

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Re: Too many choices, what to use.
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2007, 04:27:40 PM »
cheers Dunk :)

 


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