How to build a robot - did you have problems?



Why another $50 Robot related tutorial?


Well I’ve built a good number of the standard $50 Robot card and every one has worked and done ‘what it claims’. But I guess my main ‘issues’ with the original design are (apologies in advance to ‘Admin the creator’):-


  1. Not all of the I/O pins are implemented. OK so it’s easy enough to just add some extra header pins.
  2. You probably have two power supplies: a TTL supply that drives the controller, sensors etc at 5v (via the regulator from a 9v battery) and a separate battery pack to feed the servos and/or DC motors.  When building the $50 robot you have to decide which of these two power supplies you are going to use. So long as you know beforehand exactly what your board is going to do then that’s fine but, if you are like me, you may want to add or change stuff later. So I wanted a board where each I/O pin had two headers: one for sensors and one for motors/servos.
  3. Fabrication. I’ve used the board suggested by Admin (which I found kind a fiddly), I’ve also tried Tri-Pad strip board (less fiddly but you end up with a much bigger board). So I thought I should try to make my own PCB.
  4. There are lots and lots of Forum posts from newbies who have attempted the $50 Robot as their first electronic experiment and have become very frustrated when things haven’t worked. So, in this tutorial, I want to cover some basics of building a circuit (no matter what it is). So even if you don’t intend making my board then I hope you will find these general comments worthwhile and instructive.

This tutorial is broken down into the following sections:-