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Name: Neal Trotter
Member since: 2002-04-11 16:48:33
Last Login: 2004-01-09 15:46:48

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I have just recently become interested in building robots as a hobby. I, as of yet, have not built anything. I am just researching for now, but plan on building the line following robot "Sandwich" from David Cook's book. I am finding it a little difficult now, because I have absolutely now knowledge of electronics. I am a graphic designer by trade, and decided on this robot strictly because (1) It looked cool and (2) the word "beginner" was on the cover of the book. Not very wise, but it does present a challenge. I seem to have more interest in the looks and function of the robot rather than the software inside. There are no robotic groups in my imediate area, but I have been looking for groups and sites on the web. Maybe someday I could help start a group in my area. Mainly, I would just like to find some people that could help me to create and learn more about robotics. A book is good instruction, but I think I would benefit more from one-on-one guidance. By the way, has anyone seen the movie "Runaway" with Tom Selleck? Some of the robots I have read about remind me alot of that movie.

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I started working on a new robot, using the same circuitry as the sandwich robot (eventually, I'll have to learn something more advanced than the line follower circuit :)

Instead of a line-follower, I am trying to make it a, what's it called, photovore. I got the idea from David Cook and his XS Boost Chef's Salad Robot on his website,

Mine, however, will run on batteries, and the antennas will just be little red lights. I plan on adding whiskers for object avoidance, a piezzo buzzer, and a tilt switch I salvaged from a toy.

I tried building this robot earlier, but I messed up somewhere and for the life of me could not get the thing to work (I think I burned out some of the electronics). So, in frustration, I salvaged all the components I had not destroyed, bought some new ones at Radio Shack, and rebuilt the robot. I have just now gotten to a point where I believe the robot will work. If all goes well, I might have this robot completed by the weekend.

I just wanted to thank scienceboy2 and The Swirling Brain for certifying me as a Journeyer. I was very surprised when I noticed that my identification bar had turned from blue to green. Thank You!

I still have not decided on a new project, although the Boe- Bot that scienceboy2 suggested looks very tempting. A few weeks ago I bought a small TAB robot in a kit from Barnes & Noble. I also bought a Basic Stamp for it. I will start learning how to program the Stamp within the next few days. I figure the kit would be a good (and fairly cheap) introduction into Basic, but we will see.

I also bought an I-Cybie a month or so ago, half price over Of course, the day after I ordered it, I found it for even less on another website. Go figure! I had a little Buyer's Remorse at first because I had read a lot of bad things about the robot dog during the days that I waited for it to arrive. But when it did arrive, I was fairly impressed. Right now, I could only dream of building such a thing! But maybe someday...

Finally, my line-following robot works! It really works! I had a little trouble with the wheels because I don't have a workshop or the tools to connect the wheels to the motors properly. I rigged something up for now, but I wouldn't be surprised if the wheels fell off after a few days.

Over all, it was alot of fun to build this robot, and educational too. The only downside is that when I show it to other people they say "is that all it does?" and "does it talk?" Kind of takes some of the fun out of bragging about my accomplishments. I still think I did a pretty decent job though!

Anyway, I can't wait to start another project. Thinking about buying a kit. Probably one of the BEAM robots, but not sure yet.

I took some time this weekend to debug my line-following circuit. I could get the motors to work, but only one at a time. Also, one side of the circuit wouldn't work when the line-following switch was connected. I spent so much time convinced that it was the line-following switch because it was the only part that I had not tested out on the bread board. I was sure that was where the problem was. I rechecked my wiring and found out that I had incorrectly wired one of the transistors. After rewiring the transistor, everything worked like a charm!

Now I just need to get the body and the wheels put together. Will probably do that next weekend.

I have soldered quite a bit of the line following circuit together and it works...sort of! I am not that great at soldering yet, but I think I am getting better. My first solder was to the battery connection and making the positive and negative power buses for the circuit. Well I messed up somewhere (I think my points of solder all ran together) and my power switch doesn't turn the power off. I have to remove the battery. Maybe I can rig something up later.

The light sensors appear to be working and all the corresponding lights are working (except for one in a row of three. I don't know where I messed up on that one!) Everything seems to be in order, except that the motors are not working! I feel like Homer Simpson building a spice rack! In the end, it might not look pretty, but I hope it works.

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