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Robotics 101a - building a robot -

What is Robotics?

A mix of Mechanics, Electronics, Programming, Arts & Crafts ...

So much of the time the Arts & Crafts are forgotten but they do play a huge role in all robotics.

For those interested to get started it's very easy and affordable. Learning and playing with robotics doesn't take a rocket scientist because most of what you need has already been invented, designed and developed ... including the programs to do most things.

So we start off with COTS = Common Off The Shelf ... parts and programs.

First go buy a few things ... spending as little as $200 you can build a very basic robot including Power and ReCharging, but everything here will be used over and over in other projects.

For the first project you will need;

Two Continuous Rotating Servos ... $26
do a search online and you will find prices range from $13 on up ... I suggest getting the $13 servo motors as these will be used over and over on the different various projects. example: Futabas from Parallax.com

Remote Control Radio & Receiver ... $45
I've seen some good 6-channel systems starting about $45 online. example: HobbyPartz.com

The most difficult choices are your battery and charger ... you want something you can use for all your R/C projects not just this one beginner robot.

One battery pack about 6V - 8V DC Lithium preferred LiPo ... $45
The trick here is to find a brand and stick with them so your charger can have one balancer to fit the cells for recharging. I use ThunderPowerRC.com ...

Be sure to ask for standard R/C servo connectors on the power leads or you'll have to solder them yourself. If your radio is Futaba they use a keyed connector ... so you can ask for a Futaba compatible connector ... but it's not too important as long as you pay attention to + and ground (-) when connecting to the receiver.

Lastly for radio gear is a channel mixer $4
Commonly known as a "V" Tail Mixer ...

One battery charger LiPo preferred ... $80
Get the charger that best fits your battery pack so you don't have to screw around with adapting cables and wires.

This is a very basic and very useful for home hobby robotics charger for ThunderPowerRC batteries; Amazon.com

Charger wallwart $30

Finally ... a small cardboard or stiff-paper box about 100mm(4") wide ... 100mm long and 50mm tall.

Now you've spent about $200 but all these materials you will use over and over as you explore your creativity with robotics and automation.

A great resource for good useful parts and these beginner instructions is to start with a simple Parallax.com Boe-Bot ... I've seen them online for as low as $50 and have bought several just for all the parts! Check eBay.com for a good old Serial Boe-Bot kit ... Be sure it's the full kit not just a parts kit.

The cheapest BoeBot online after eBay seems to be Carl's Electronics $144 about $15 cheaper than direct buy from Parallax.com

These are great kits and include a comprehensive manual (my own guide to these online lessons) a STAMP module and BOE for experiments besides some other very useful and very reusable parts. If you want to save money learning and experimenting start with the Parallax.com BOE-Bot

Now will assemble a most basic remote controlled bot.


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