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Offline engineerswifeTopic starter

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make $50 robot for my husband - help
« on: November 25, 2009, 09:44:05 PM »
So, here's the deal.  My husband is a very skilled electrical engineer, and I am his clueless (but not completely inept ;) )wife. As a labor of love, I would like to build the $50 robot for him for Christmas.  However, I have never soldered before and am a little leery of ruining the parts.  I would like to use a breadboard, but someone posted that would make it more difficult.  Why is that?  Also, if I use a breadboard, which should I use, where should I get it, and would the layout stay the same? 

Thanks so much in advance!

Offline Admin

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 10:12:42 PM »
whoa!

If my girl did this, I'd be both entirely speechless, and also very very proud of her. I'd probably brag about it for years/decades to all my friends!

It sounds like money isn't that big a deal for this gift, you're worried about making mistakes, and you have a hard deadline.

As such I recommend buying *two* of the ATmega8 chips and one ATmega168. Also, buy *two* breadboards. Why you ask? So if you mess up, you have backup parts. It'll probably only cost you an additional $10 so no big deal.

Quote
I would like to use a breadboard, but someone posted that would make it more difficult.  Why is that?
He was probably just afraid of soldering. Soldering is something you can learn to be decent at within an hour or so of practice. Browse youtube for soldering tutorial videos before you start. Then practice for a bit on a breadboard before adding components just to make sure you have the hang of it.

Quote
Also, if I use a breadboard, which should I use, where should I get it, and would the layout stay the same?
If you're in the US, just get the one in my tutorial from Radio Shack. They have several options, so you can look at them in person and see what you like.


ps - I split this post as it deserved its own full thread.

Offline engineerswifeTopic starter

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 10:29:16 PM »
First off, thanks for the fast response. 

Now more questions:

1.  I get buying two of the ATmega8 chips, but what is the ATmega168 chip for?  I did not see that on the parts list.

2.  I can still mess up a breadboard?  How?

Soldering is something you can learn to be decent at within an hour or so of practice. Browse youtube for soldering tutorial videos before you start. Then practice for a bit on a breadboard before adding components just to make sure you have the hang of it.

I thought using a breadboard meant I didn't have to solder???

3.  What type of wire to I use to connect everything?


PS, If you answer me as if I am a child, I will NOT be offended. 

Offline Joker94

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 10:56:57 PM »
1. There is an optinal upgrade for the $50 robot that is usful when you want to use more advanced programs. It has a bit more fire power you could say.

the link http://www.societyofrobots.com/step_by_step_atmega168_swapout.shtml

I am not a big Bread boarder my self but you are able to mess up a bread board. I suppose the reasons could be stuffing up some of the holes, melting the plastic if there is a major short or fault( that is not going to happen unless you over power the circuit) and i guess there are many other ways to stuff up a bread board.

If you use a bread board you wont have to solder. They are commonly used by people to prototype new circuits we have designed or make a quick circuit without soldering. Alot quicker.

Hook up wire, either 24 - 26 gauge hook up wire. I use 26. You can get it from radio shack and other electronics places and it is quite cheap.

Offline engineerswifeTopic starter

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2009, 11:01:31 PM »
Great!  Thanks.  I am sure I will have a million more questions as I go, but I am hoping this will win major spousal brownie points. 

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2009, 12:23:11 AM »
Sorry, confusing semantics. People name the same thing with different names.

To me, there are 'breadboards' and 'solderless breadboards'. But not everyone calls it that. RadioShack calls them 'PC boards' and 'breadboards'. I've heard various other names for them.

I don't like the solderless breadboards because they are big, wires can easily come out, and your circuit looks mostly like a rats nest. I recommend them for trying out new untested schematics, but the $50 circuit is 100% tested so you can trust it'll just work.

Offline Joker94

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 12:58:17 AM »
i find solderless bread boards to big and bulky for my robots. If you have a big enough platform you'll be fine with a solderless read board.

design it first, if you need any help you have the forum.

Offline Soeren

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2009, 03:10:36 AM »
Hi,

[...] I am hoping this will win major spousal brownie points. 
Well... Here's my points on brownies for Christmas.

The fun part of robotics is constructing (designing and building) them. When build, they are quickly going to be dust storage, as there is limited fun in watching (and tripping over) a 'bot scooting purposeless around your floor.
You describe your SO as a "skilled electrical engineer".
I'm an electronics engineer, living and breathing electronics and related robotics disciplines (mech, programming, psychology etc.)

If my SO build me a $50 'bot, my reactions would be all of the following (not all of them expressed openly though):
- Wow, you outdid yourself 1k times (for a psych/cultural studies major who can't even paint a door without making "curtains" it would be a feat).
- Gee, goes nicely with the knitted socks... No fun in them either.
- Glad you didn't elect to give me money, since you'd surely have spent them for me as well.
- Wonder if the components survived heat and ESD.
- Next time you wish for some yarn, I'll give you a finished sweater... That'll teach you ;D

I do think it's nice that you're trying to give him something that's "him", but ask yourself... Are you trying to prove yourself in some way, or are you genuinely trying to give him a nice gift (in which case you should just give him the components and the URL to the web page).
And I'll repeat... The fun part is the construction - at least give him an extra set of components to go with it.


My SO declared after last Christmas, that I was so not going to get anything electronics for Christmas this year, since she hates feeling so out of synch with people and so out of knowing what she's buying, as she does in the only (and very geeky) electronics store in Copenhagen (regular tools, she gets one of my sons to buy). She even suggested I should wish for Sims 3 (since she is curious about it  ::)) - Oh well, there's still a few electronics books I'd like in my library and she loves buying books.
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 Admin

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2009, 10:35:28 AM »
I entirely don't agree with Soeren, but its probably different for every guy . . .

If my girl did this for me, it'd:
- show she is trying to understand what I like
- allow me to talk to her about my robots above a surface level
- make me very proud of her dedication for me

Soeren, the $50 Robot itself isn't the gift. Its her attempt to show her husband she is really trying to understand him and his favorite hobby/profession.

Offline engineerswifeTopic starter

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2009, 10:45:57 AM »
Wow, Soeren, that was...harsh!  But, I can appreciate your honesty.  

Yes, my husband is very good at what he does and has been an integral part of some very high profile robotics work (think DARPA Grand Challenge/Urban Challenge and UAVs).   Doing this for him is not about giving him a cool new robot to play with.  Although I think he will enjoy it for at least an hour.  :P He hasn't asked for components; he hasn't asked for a robot.  It is more about getting outside of my interests and genuinely trying to be involved in this part of his life and learning more about something he loves.  My degree IS in Psychology, so this is a huge stretch for me.   I chose this robot not because it is the coolest one out there, but because the tutorial makes it seem very attainable... even for the rest of us.

I guess here's hoping he has more of Admin's response than yours.


Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2009, 12:41:56 PM »
Wow.... I mean... Holly bat syllables .... really...

Geezzz...

I don't even tell my friends about robotics... I mean we don't share same interests....
I would really appreciate it, if my girl would do that thing... but... honestly...
And really without meaning any offense...  I don't date that kinda girls...
Generally... I don't like anyone interfering with my persona. Some things are for me and only me...
Job it is, hobby it is, it's for me... and I also don't things to interfere with each others...
For example, I do robotics, I study physics (well I'm a uni student...) but if you seen me behind the wheel and in bad mood...
get yourself a cover... and of course I'm not a geek.... and of course not a nerd...
And this is the critical point... having some spiritual interests doesn't mean you have no other interests in life...
What I'm trying to say is that I would really prefer my girl having a "surprise" party in a hot tab, some good wine... etc etc etc etc...
Spicy things...
But building a robot... what the holy bat syllables.... really...

I dunno, I try to understand that showing your husband that his interests are well respected by you is very good... but...
some things are far better appreciated instead... really...
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline cooldog

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2009, 06:34:31 PM »
i back up admin on this one.
many people don't even bother putting effort into gifts, now its all gift cards.

wish my girl would do something like this for me
robot will rule the world and i will be building them
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Offline madchimp

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2009, 10:10:53 PM »
You know your Husband better than anyone on here and you obviously think he would appreciate it, I say go for it. I think it's awesome that you are trying to understand his interests more. I would personally think it was awesome if my wife built that for me. Who knows you may find you enjoy it as well hehe.

Offline SmAsH

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2009, 12:48:36 AM »
Personally i think this would make a great gift for an engineer...
The fact that your actually trying to do something he will like is just... Wonderful!
I sure wish my girl would do this for me... Shes more like "uh... cool... a transformer thingy"...
Howdy

Offline blackbeard

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2009, 10:42:07 AM »
If you're in the US, just get the one in my tutorial from Radio Shack. They have several options, so you can look at them in person and see what you like.

i don't know if it's because i'm in canada but radio shack (now the source here but still the same store) sells really substandard breadboards that break apart like soda crackers. i've actually found some very economical ones on ebay that are very durable
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Offline engineerswifeTopic starter

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2009, 07:20:08 PM »
Thanks all for you support and help.

I have decided to go ahead and learn to solder.  We'll see how it goes.  Parts are ordered...I will keep you all posted with progress and undoubtedly more questions. 

Offline GearMotion

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2009, 01:51:51 PM »
My degree IS in Psychology,

I think we all need to refrain from making any jokes about bipolar capacitors. :-P

I understand completely what you are doing. Your goal is to make connections that are other than electrical. And I, for one, will help you any way that I can. I wouldn't have expected the $50 robot to be a way to express love/commitment, but there you have it.


Offline yann

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2009, 02:47:25 PM »
Tough I'm a 13 years old...

********ONLY IF YOU HAVE LINUX, BECAUSE I GRADUALLY HAVE NO EXP. IN WINDOWS...********

I have some exp. in robotics and for you as a beginner, I wouldn't recommend  the 50% robot, but this:

Use ATmega16, and this schematics has gradually 3-4 wires/connections and parts, and offers great things!
I made it on a BreadBoard(no soldering) and got it running in about a minute... It is cool...
Tell me if you decide to do this, and I will teach you how... Anybody else interested, works for them too...

Offline parallax

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2009, 08:01:16 PM »
I will say that my SO is working on something with me. She came to me one day and said "Can I build a robot with you?" She is a poly sci major and has no experience with such things. I cannot begin to explain what it means to me that she took a genuinely interest in my passion. Now, due to the fact that she took that initiative we are working on a fun project together and we have tailored it so that it ties both our talents together. What an amazing experience it has been  ;D

I applaud your initiative, and so does my SO  ;) It has been a rewarding experience for us, and we both hope you have a positive experience with it as well.

Society of Robots is a place where you have a collection of robot enthusiast of every caliber. From beginner hobby-ist to professionals- we come together here because all share the same passion. I'm sure you could find no better place in the cloud guide you through this  :)

   
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I recognize the signals of the ancient flame"

Offline engineerswifeTopic starter

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2010, 08:38:45 PM »
Just an update..

Thanks to all of you for your help in my project.  Before Christmas, I had all the soldering done and the servos almost completely modified.  I did not have the chassis constructed or the programming done.  I decided to give it to my husband anyway and have fun finishing it together.  He loved it and was completely surprised!! 

Of course he had to go and complicate the original design.  We are making it four wheel drive by adding two more servos and changing a couple of other things.  This means we had to order more parts.  So, as soon as they get here and we get it all put together, I will get pictures up. 

Thanks again for all the help and support.  I know this was a very meaningful gift!!


Offline GearMotion

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Re: make $50 robot for my husband - help
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2010, 08:50:44 AM »
That is the coolest thing I've heard for a long time. Thanks for sharing!

 


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