Very good advice. Start by getting hold of a little DC motor, say from one
of those toy cars at Radio Shack which you should be able to find at the
first neighborhood garage sale for a buck. Take it apart, then on your own
try to make a remote control wire from a battery to the motor so that with
one little switch you can make it go forward, and then backward. This will
introduce you to the double pole double throw concept so essential in DC
control as you move into H bridges. Also you will learn about voltages and
how you can't just put a resistor in line and with the snap of a finger say
"6 volts... go to 2!"
Then, the next time you see an RC toy at another garage sale, pick it up,
take it home, try to see how it works by getting interested in servos and
All the time asking questions in this forum, Goggling robotics, studying
vendor catalogs and product descriptions.
I'll weigh in here.
Go the public library. Even an old book on robotics is still valid for
the basics. You can't Google if you don't know what key words to look
for. Typing in 'robotics' isn't all that helpful.
You can also ask the reference librarian to help you locate other
materials, like magazines. Some libraries have microfische of Nuts &
Volts -- 15+ years or so of robotics info. Check Reader's Guide to
Periodicals for back issues of magazines like Radio-Electronics, which
ran several complete robot building series. Can't get these on the
The best part about the library: it's free.
Wayne Lundberg wrote:
on that I'd suggest not trying to dig into microcontrollers right away,
its an expensive way for a starter to make smoke. play with electronics
for a while before going there, but realize that people have more
problems with teh mechanical end than they do the electronic end.
Gordon McComb wrote:
I think it's the other way around. While it's always good to learn basic
electronics (which you can do with a $25 lab kit), microcontrollers make
it far easier to create the type of circuits most often desired for
robotics, with little or no wiring, and therefore far less chance for a
connection error. Unless you're wanting to make everything yourself,
there are store-bought solutions where you basically just plug things
Everyone has their favorites, but for beginners I suggest the OOPic R
(about $80), which directly interfaces to multiple RC servos. The
BOE-Board is also good, though more expensive. It comes with an
extensive manual, and if you follow it, it makes it pretty hard to blow
smoke out of the BASIC Stamp.
Before you listen to all that talk about motors and controllers and processors,
try the all but forgotten "Top Down" approach. Why are you interested in
robotics? Are you really interested? Do you have a burning in your belly
that there is something unique you want to do? Are you going to wind up
with a ton of junk parts 6 months from now and not have a plan about what to
do with it? Do you have an idea you want to try or are you going to be just
another "robotics nerd" who would be better off playing some hoops and getting
some exercise for their body? Unless you are sure, and have something you
really want to do, there are lots of other things to play with. Not to
but robotics is no big deal unless you have a burning desire to get into it. It
sort of the fad of the day, so to speak. If you have something you want to do,
then go for it.
for the all the advice, it's all being gratefully recieved:) keep all
the advice coming, I need all of it:)
to Redcrow all the hobbies that I have taken up I have stuck with:)
and Dad will pinch all the parts before I even blink;)
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