Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Security Robot 1 Progress

Since I started this blog after I started building my first robot I wanted to "catch up" on my progress. My first robot has turned out quite well and I have learned a lot along the way. I started designing my second one and can use what I have learned. Most of the parts are from Sparkfun.com and some Adafruit.com. I will list the parts and links to them soon. As with most projects they start of small and grow to much more. The same happened here.

I started with the Arduino Starter Kit, just to play around with a microcontroller and then I needed a project to build with it and decided that a robot would be great since I have always wanted to do that. Now I realized how easy and inexpensive it actually is!

I did a lot of research on various options since my goal was to be able to run the robot 24/7 with a automated way of charging. 

My first order was from Sparkfun.com and consisted of the following:

1 ROB-00321 Tank Treads
1 ROB-00319 Dual Motor Gearbox
1 ROB-10016 Universal Plate Set

The same day I ordered from Adafruit:

1 171 Motor Party Add-On Pack for Arduino

This was enough to get started and moving. I went with the Motor Party pack since it came with servos and such but later realized there isn't room for a pan/tilt camera mount so I have yet to use the servos. From here, I was able to get the framework of my code working and was also able to move the robot and eventually send commands via serial to control it. At this point I started looking at way to control it via the web. My first method was with using PHP talking to the serial port, but later, I ended up using Serialproxy. Serialproxy takes a COM port and bridges it to an IP/Port; this is made it much easier to control remotely. I am using the Tinkerproxy build. For testing I can telnet to my robot and send commands.

This was great but it meant the robot was tethered to my desk, well, actually as far as the USB cable would go. A long USB cable wouldn't cut it. At this point I knew this is something I could build on and promptly wanted to start ordering some more.

Note: Pictures to come.

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