hack saw and dremel tool... soldering iron and solder sucker.
take basic electronics (analog), advanced electronics (digital), and
microprocessor courses at your local community college.
if you don't want it connected to a computer, you'll need at least a
CPU on the robot, and a wireless data link.
Use a hot air gun on the MOBO to get off the components you want.
Also, I don't think there's a lot of useful stuff on modern computers,
but 486's had lots of logic circuits you could use, plus connectors
and so on.
If you want AI, well good luck. I'm happy with Artificial Stupidity.
That's about the level of my robot work. But you'll need a computer of
some sort connected to the robot. I believe people hae had success
with micro ATX boards running their choice of OS and software, but the
options are endless.
On 30 Apr 2007 07:03:41 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
"I like to be organised. A place for everything. And everything all over the
your computer has drives (floppy, hardisks, CD or even DVD) and the
motors can be stripped out and applied as robot motors. Even you fan
motor could be converted if you can find a way to mount a gearbox on
Beware though that the motors that you will get are stepper motors and
they are not very good for robotics if not used in feedback loops.
This means that you will have to find a way to measure the motor
position by either a small potentiometer or an optical encoder. The
second solution leads to better accuracies and less noise.
The problem with stepper motors is that they are very good for
constant load applications and they can drift if applied in variable
load applications. Robots are complex mechanism and this emans that
their load is always changing. Chances to loose track a stepper motor
is very likely.
On the drives, some mechanical parts could be reused.
I will soon lead students to bult simple robots with bits and peices
from different computers and also VHS players.
Have fun and good luck,
For the most part, computers aren't worth stripping for parts. You're
not going to be able to use any of the chips on a modern motherboard
in anything you hand solder one-off. As far as using the whole
computer to control a robot, ATX computer systems are really only
appropriate for large (say, 50+ lb) robots with huge batteries that
require high computing power.
Computer PSUs can be reused if you need cheap 3.3/5/12v dc power, but
you're probably better off with a *real* lab power supply, even a
1970s model off ebay.
The motors in disk drives are pcb-integrated synchronous pancake
motors and are basically useless for robotic purposes. Floppy drives
have one tiny stepper that is so cheap it doesn't even have actual
Ink jet printers are usually good for a few stepper motors -- or dc
motors with encoders on a few models -- and a bunch of little gears
and mechanical parts. When you take these apart, keep the mechanical
subassemblies intact if you can -- gears that you know fit together
are infinitely more useful than a bag of random ones. Small laser
printers often have one somewhat larger stepper motor. The laser
itself is invariable an infra-red band diode.
Junked UPSs are a great source of free SLA batteries -- especially
since it's likely that such batteries have been maintained perfectly
(remember, they are *always* connected to a digitally controlled bulk/
float charger) and cycled very few times, albeit violently. They also
have several big mosfets. (You'll want to replace the solid-block
Old keyboards have an 8049 mcu, which if you're really motivated you
might actually be able to use. USB keyboards, not so much.
Mechanical mice have a pair of quadrature encoders.
Don't forget what your time is worth. The other day I found a junked
UPS (I live in nyc, I walk by a lot of other people's trash.) and got
a pair of batteries worth maybe $30 each new for just the exercise of
carrying them home. If you're spending half an hour ripping up a
keyboard to get a $1 chip, however, you may want to consider if your
engineering skills are really worth less than minimum wage.
Also, you cannot disconnect a robot from its computer. It stops being
a robot if you do that. If this is all news to you, you may want to
consider building a simple robot before the complex one.
Maybe you are asking the wrong question. Why go all to that trouble?
From my limited experience as a student working on a second robot
Why not use a microcontroller... like a good old Microchip
(www.microchip.com) PIC. Or there are 16- and 32-bit ARM models around
if you want that much grunt, but starting off with an 8-bit micro is a
good way to start. There are several books on PIC robotics around,
although they focus on BASIC programming. I have basically used what I
have learned at college, and lots and lots of r e s e a r c h.
If you go with a PIC, there are cheap C compilers around less than $200,
and some student versions for free from Hi-tech and Microchip. I bought
a compiler produced by CCS from a regular here - Don at dontronics. The
reason why I made that choice was that there are many libraries and
functions available. Also check out mikroelektronika
http://www.mikroe.com/ there are many people that use the forums there,
and there are free compilers for trial use. Their compiler has many
functions and libraries.
Microcontrollers are often more suited for robotics projects because of
the many hardware peripherals available on-board the chip. A
microcontroller is a SCC - single chip computer with IO, memory, and
communications, etc all on one chip.And it's a lot easier to prototype
and solder, power, hook up etc etc.
First you need to do a lot of homework and planning before you charge in
- the research is critical, or you will waste time, effort, and money
and maybe save a poor old PC...
Even if you want some serious computation, you can get the micro to
transmit the data to a PC wirelessly to crunch numbers if you like.
If this is your first project, maybe start with a simple design.
As a student at a technical college, I take my teacher's advice and
develop simple systems first, and then link and develop these and build
your skills level.
J. T. Laurie wrote:
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