I want to gut a comp and use it for the brain of a robot . Any one out there up to instruct?

I see these micro controllers and pics and whatknot. I have a few computers that i would like to gut and use to control motors and track objects. Is this possible what do i need?

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NikonDork8 years ago
Hope you have a degree in Electronics Engineering, cause what your proposing simply wont work without a rather large bit of tinkering. The reason why you see people using micro controllers and such is because they are pretty much purpose built. You cant just gut the contents of a PC and reassemble them into a functioning robot. However, you could use a functioning PC as the "brain" of your robot with the help of an Input/Output card. There act as an interface between the PC and the various sensors and motors/servos/steppers/actuators on the robot. They are used for all kinds of applications from home automation or industrial purposes. It seems to me that your looking into getting started with robotics, in which case I would recommend the Lego Mindstorms NXT kit. Its a set that contains all you need to build simple 'bots. This system is expandable, so you can add on more components as you need them.
impellbm (author)  NikonDork8 years ago
Thank you for this answer. I have lots of time and old computers no electronics engineering degree and you hit the nail on the head with im starting out. I was looking at picaxe. Im not rich so id like to buy whatever will do the whole job and figure it out as i go instead of buying a million different little things. Let me ask you this i have a 7c tx,rx and some gear motors/ servos i want to be able to drive around tankstyle and shoot with a turret then have my robot autonomously pick up the balls. Now i dont have an esc but id like to build a rc pulse to gear motor interface to start. Haha babble babble I appreciate your incite! -Brian
gmxx8 years ago
it is possible, but if all your doing is moving some motors, i would reccomend the arduino. if you were to use a computer, you will interface with the computer over serial or parallel. usb would require extra microchips and such. you will need to know how to write software to use a computer to make something.
impellbm (author)  gmxx8 years ago
Im researching right now but im making a robot that shoots nerf balls and i would like it to go pick them up automatically, and do some thinking for its self, like track/avoid people. Where should i start?
 I wonder if you've been to societyofrobots.com. They have the know-how, and all sorts of tricks, including snippets of code anyone can use.
gmxx impellbm8 years ago
if you really want to go down the pc route.... you will need a serial or parallel port. you will need to know how to program. if you know any complieled languages, use that otherwise, i would either use python, c++ or visual basic. beyond that, your project is so specific, that i can't give any more details without more information.
I am currently in the process of building a robot that is run via laptop. There are many very good I/O interfaces out there.
Here are a few good ones that I have found:

Control relays via your printer port:

Control servos from your serial port:

Control DC motors via USB:

There is also a nice software package out there that will play nice will all this hardware it’s called Roborealm:

 THANK YOU, binaryhellstorm. I think your links would be exactly what the doctor ordered. 
NachoMahma8 years ago
. You can do it, but most home-brew robots are smaller than most PC mobos. Big power hogs compared to a microcontroller, too.
impellbm (author)  NachoMahma8 years ago
Im not concerned about power so much i will have an onboard generator.