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Any tips for this robot newbie???

as you know from the title, i am new to the field of technology/robotics, does anyone know a good place for me to start learning (for free)

any complete beginners tutorials would be great

p.s. what is raspberry pi??? --- saw its website but still don't see the use of it

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Libahunt4 years ago
I think you should start to create a robot. Theoretical knowledege is
hard to grasp if you have not tried anything out yet.

This https://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-SpurtBot-Line-Follower/ is
a great simple project. If you have never played around with electronic
components yet then I suggest get a breadboard and do some very simple LED-light-up. Move on to 555 timer LED blinking
(https://www.instructables.com/id/Flashing-LED-using-555-Timer/). And
after that the beforementioned linefollower robot would be doable, I
think. If you can't get some of the exact components that are listed for the projects, then ask on instructables with what to replace them (tell where you can order from), as it can be really hard to figure out at first the important properties of components.

Now that "SpurtBot" robot I suggested as beginners project is an analog device. Current through one of the motors depends on the analog light input to transistor (in the reflective sensor). And the speed of the motor depends on that current.

Now Rasperry Pi or an Arduino are digital programmable devices. To get similar result of linefollowing with this kind of device it must be programmed to read an input from sensors that are connected to them, do some calculations with the input and send an output to a motorcontroller and/or other devices connected to it. There can be many inputs which give information (light sensors, touch sensors, distance sensors etc) the code uses the inputs for desicions and also there can be many outputs the code then makes move/light up/buzz etc accordingly. You can write many different programs for it. For a simple
example you could make a program that makes robot follow a light source and a program to back away from light without modification to the physical robot but only by means of code.

As the compexity of the input-to-output operations grows the harder it gets to make an analog device for it. For a beginner it would be suitable to try out Arduino programming right after as simple projects as I listed before. The learning curve for complex analog devices is probably much steeper than for Arduino programming.

For learning I suggest start with analog. If you like the electronics field, then invest in Arduino next. Arduino is probably simplest among all microcontrollers to learn because it comes as one piece of hardware, has very good tutorial coverage and lots of examples of every kind on the internet. Rasperry Pi is a device of more advanced kind - it runs Linux which means you should have some knowledge about operating systems which is a very complex topic. Besides it is still hard to get your hands on a Rasperry. Arduino on the other hand only needs basic understanding of C-language and general programming principles - much easier to learn. And Arduinos are permanently in stock.
rptech (author)  Libahunt4 years ago
thanks for the great response,

i won this (judges prize) kit https://www.instructables.com/contest/robot2012/?show=PRIZES

and as soon as it arrives in the mail, i'll start experimenting

as for the bread board, do you know any links where i can learn more on involved parts (capacitor, switches, resistors, etc...) I found a link with basics and would like to experiment on that as well
Libahunt rptech4 years ago
Honestly - no, I don't know any general and exhaustive tutorials on specific components (on the net). In suspect there are none, or at least nothing really useful because knowing only single component does not help much to make real electronics. I mean the components only make something interesting if they are in a circuit and if you spend some time putting together circuits and reading the explanations how they work then you will gain kind of intuition about what components can do in a circuit. 

If you really want that kind of systematic theoretical knowledge then schoolbooks are probably the way to go. I have taken an "introduction to electronics" course in university and the course had "one component" chapters in it too. Books I have seen in my language also tend to have similar build. I can say for sure the course was helpful, but really needed additional practical part, I had to put the theoretical knowledge into context on my own.

I have heard (including from my teacher in uni) that best book in english is "The Art of Electronics" by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill, but I have not seen it myself (because I live in Eastern Europe and the librarys here lack that kind of stuff).

Go see what you can get from the library. Even electronics books that are 20-30 years old cover important aspects of most simple components and are fine to start with.
rptech (author)  Libahunt4 years ago
seems interesting,
i always wanted to start learning from scratch, but since i'm only a high school student, i never have the materials or the right resources

my goal right now (during vacation) is to start out with the basics of a circuit board/breadboard (learning what it's parts do) and then move on to something more complicated like programming an arduino, then so on (mini projects as you recommended)

thanks again for the great response
I checked out your instructables now and they are great! If you do so well in mechanics and 3D design then you should be able to figure the electronics out pretty quickly too. Sorry if my aswer is overly simplistic for you somewhere.
rptech (author)  Libahunt4 years ago
thanks for the compliment, i have tried searching for websites that walk you through electrical components (youtube has been quite helpful) and am trying to learn the basics right now. I soon hope to learn C++ as it will help me in programming
Burf4 years ago
Learn robotics FREE:

www.google.com/search?q=learn+robotics+free&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=ubuntu&channel=fs

Raspberry Pi is a mini, open source computer:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs
rptech (author)  Burf4 years ago
been there, done/searched that

by tutorials i mean, tutorials on common components that are used in many beginner projects (i.e. arduino)

i've seen the website as well for raspberry pi but don't know how it can help in creating a robot