KIDBOTS ROBOT PAGE
This GIF was shrunk down to fit on one, 3.5 inch floppy...
The higher quality gif is on the MENU under BOT TOON
The TOP PHOTOs show the top and bottom view of a robot interface to a parallel cable, made on a piece of cardboard. (COST = under $10 ) The interface uses an old printer cable, and the wires are soldered directly to the CENTRONICS type connector pins. The interface has 3 (4069) buffer chips (RadioShack) simply because they were on the shelf (dozens of different kinds can be used and ordered). There are 8 RED L.E.D.s (Light Emitting Diodes) wired to the chips. If you program: 100 OUT &H378, 2 ... then the second LED will Light. The buffer chips also have an 8 position "DIP" switch, with 5 tiny switches wired OUT to memory address &H379. By switching these, you can have the computer READ inputs FROM your robot. The interface is used to allow you to start programming, and SEE what you are outputting and inputting on the printer cable. The printer cable has no 5 volts (+) to power the LEDs and the CHIPS, so that I used a JOYSTICK cable, which has pin 1 as 5 volts + power. Look in the picture, and you will see two white connectors, with 4 wires : two black wires in the middle, and a yellow and a red on top and bottom. Usually, you can get 5 volts plus from the red wire and ground from the black wires. +5 and ground connectors are inside ALL computers.
On the bottom 4 pictures you will see a very well designed interface, with a metal box on the bottom. (The box is an old TV converter that was not working = $0.00 , from COLBY's in New York.) This unit has buffer chips, LEDs and then small black 5 volt relays that turn on when the LEDs turn on (from Radio Shack), then the relays (switches) are connected to white "terminals" with screws to connect wires to your robot. A robot is connected by a cable of wires. The robot was made from 2 Wal-Mart ($4.99) cars, which had battery and button controllers. The buttons were removed, and the batteries connected to the interface switches - this way, instead of YOU pressing the buttons, the computer presses the buttons. The two motors were taken out of the cars, and one wheel on each motor was cut off, and the two motors glued together. By turning the motors on and off and reverse, the ROBOT can go forward and back, and turn. Switches on the bumpers on the front and back of the robot let the computer know if the robot hits something. Kinderegg candy halves were used on the front and back bottom as "skids". The total cost is about $30 iff you use old parts and buy some bulk. I have found a local ( Vancouver, Canada) parts supplier, who is willing to ship world wide, if parts are not available to you locally..
In the next short time, I am building a few interfaces, and showing
step by step how to build them, and how to connect to motors, lights,
and sensors etc. The "robots" that I use for demonstrations will be here.
I have found a supplier of parts, who is willing to ship world wide, so
any Electronic Parts you cannot find locally, will be available.
Please stay tuned!
PARTS AND DIAGRAMS
I am located at the moment in Vancouver, Canada, and have found a really great
place to get parts, and they have agreed to allow me to refer to them. I have to get
reliable sourced parts and prices confirmed, before I post the parts, the cost, and plans for
an interface but every time I have been in Vancouver in the past, I always
ended up on MAIN St. at "Main Street Electronics",
These are the folks I will be using on the website.
I obviously hang around the electronics, computers, engineering, crowd, who have
pointed out that "I" can purchase electronic parts online through any one of a dozen
large corporations, however, any time that I have contacted large electronics parts
suppliers, they have been horrified at the thought of getting thousands of orders for a
handful of parts from a bunch of kids - quote " TOO MUCH PAPER WORK".
They have told me that they want one large order for a million dollars, since there is
then only ONE set of shipping orders involved... Every single prototype I have made
using Listed, Part numbered, stock, electronics, from a single supplier, has had the
parts DROPPED as soon as I have finished... Hence my reluctance to list anything
until the part numbers, and availabilities are cross checked and certified!
The interface I build, is generic, and can be easily modified to control anything you
want, and is made as simply and cheaply as possible, from the most common parts I
In contrast, most of the other robot projects use parts that are rare, expensive, complicated,
and difficult to work with - ( One so called ' do it yourself' robot project, used a $300
CHIP that I could only find in use by a Jet aircraft manufacturer, for top secret, advanced
weapons guidance systems ! This chip was part of a complicated circuit that had notes
such as "if you don't know what a (part number) is, you shouldn't be trying to build this" ! )
This type of arrogance, from wealthy, highly specialized and trained, individuals, who
have access to difficult to find SMT (Surface Mount Technology) workstations, and equipment
who post magnificently complicated, impossible to replicate blueprints on expensive
AUTOCAD programs and machinery, used in Industrial circuitboard manufacturing,
is, unfortuneately , quite common, and only serves as "bragging" and little else.
My philosophy is the exact opposite!
ANYONE who wants to instantly BUY a full, 7 foot robot, can just order ROBBY
BELOW, for $49,999.95, ( From The Forbidden Planet )
OR, you can order B9 From Lost In Space, Below, for only $24,500.00
The Robots I encourage kids to MAKE, use parts you can find anywhere, locally.
I try to use parts that are self- explanatory - What You See
Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG ( Pronounced Wiss Eee Wig ) ((a term commonly associated
with the early, brilliant Operating system from APPLE, as opposed to the cryptic, blank.
screens which presented themselves in CPM or DOS and the many control characters used
by them to format typing - for example, Centered, CAPITAL LETTER, Underlined, quotated
headings such as " MAIN PAGE " could be typed as
^F:ARIAL:10^V^C^U""MAIN PAGE""^C^N^R -- You could not see what it would look
like until you actually printed the entire page, and very often you would have to re-print with
corrections, three or four times. While an Apple would show
as you typed it in, and hence, What you see is what you get.))
The chips I use have LED lights added to show the inputs and
outputs, and the relays, again have
LEDs added to show which position the relay is output to.
Visually, you can see the output in Binary one's and Zero's to the
interface, and see the results on the output wires to your robot - very
graphical, and logical.
I am working on a tin can robot at the moment, called SERVO.
SERVO lives in a SteamPunk Universe, complete with a Storyline.
To see SERVO and the story, CLICK HERE.
SERVO WILL OPEN IN A TAB, JUST CLOSE TAB TO RETURN
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