In this Instructable you will learn how to build an EXTREME Snap Circuits Programmable Robot. First, you will learn how to install the PICAXE Programming Editor (the PICAXE is the microcontroller, or computer brain for your programmable Snap Circuits robot). Next, you will learn what a simple PICAXE program looks like and what it does. Then you will learn about the various parts and electronic components used to build robot. You will then assemble robot. Finally you will learn how to program and test the robot.

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Snap Circuits is an educational toy that teaches electronics with solderless snap-together electronic components. Each component has the schematic symbol and a label printed on its plastic case that is color coded for easy identification. They snap together with ordinary clothing snaps. The components also snap onto a 10 X 7 plastic base grid analogous to a solderless breadboard. There are several Snap Circuits kits that range from a few simple circuits to the largest kit that includes 750 electronic projects.

All the kits include manuals printed in color with easy to follow diagrams to assemble the projects. The illustrations for each project look almost exactly like what the components will look on the base grid when finished. Because the electronic symbol is printed on each electronic component, once the project is completed, it will look almost exactly like a printed electronic schematic.

To build the programmable Snap Circuits robot, I used parts from three different sets, the Snap Circuits Motion Detector, Snap Circuits Rover, and Snap Circuits Micro. Elenco does not currently have a Snap Circuits programmable robot product. I find this surprising since Elenco has developed the Snap Circuits Rover, which is a remote controlled rover and the Snap Circuits Micro that teaches you how program the PICAXE microcontroller and how to build circuits for the PICAXE, but Elenco has yet to develop a product that combines the PICAXE with the Snap Circuits Rover.

I designed the robot to be easy to build completely out of Snap Circuits parts and easy to program to inspire folks from 8 to 80 to get interested in robotics.

The following are the Snap Circuits parts you will need to build the robot (Snap Circuits parts or whole sets can be ordered from  C & S sales http://cs-sales.net/snapcircuits.html):

Software CD from the Snap Circuits XP or Snap-Micro I kit (if you do not have either of these kits you can download the PICAXE Programming Editor from http://www.picaxe.com/Software/PICAXE/PICAXE-Programming-Editor/)

1 10 X 7 Plastic Base Grid
1 Snap Circuits Rover
1 9 volt Battery Block B5
1 Motor Control IC U8
1 8 Pin Socket U14 With PICAXE 08m Installed
4 1KOhm Resistors R2
1 Slide Switch S1
1 USB Programming Cable
3 Single Snaps
9 Two Snap Conductors
1 Three Snap Conductor
2 Four Snap Conductors
1 Seven Snap Conductor
1 Orange Jumper Wire
1 Yellow Jumper Wire
1 Green Jumper Wire
1 Purple Jumper Wire
1 Gray Jumper Wire
1 White Jumper Wire

Step 1: Installing the PICAXE Programming Editor

The PICAXE Programming Editor is the software you will use to program the PICAXE micro-controller installed on the Snap Circuits 8 Pin Socket U14 block (the PICAXE chip carrier). The software contains the flowcharting software, the editor that you can use to write BASIC programs and the compiler for the micro-controller.

BASIC is an acronym that stands for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. It was created way back in the 1960s as an easy to understand programming language to introduce students to computer programming.

What's a compiler? Have you seen those geeky T-shirts that say "there are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't?" If you find yourself scratching your head instead of laughing hysterically, then you don't understand binary. Computers, on the other hand, understand only binary. 1s and 0s. On and off.

I have heard of some people who can do binary code, or machine language in their heads, but the rest of us normal people would have a difficult time writing a computer program out of nothing but 1s and 0s. Instead we use a higher level language like BASIC to write software.

Have you ever been to a foreign country and didn't know the language? You can hire a translator to translate what you say into the language that the locals can understand. That's what a compiler does. Computers can't understand BASIC so a compiler translates the software you write in BASIC into machine code, or the 1s and 0s that computers can understand.

Part needed for this step:

Software CD from the Snap Circuits XP or Snap-Micro I kit (if you do not have either of these kits you can order the CD from Elenco or download the PICAXE Programming Editor from http://www.picaxe.com/Software/PICAXE/PICAXE-Programming-Editor/)

Install the PICAXE Programming Editor from the Snap Circuits XP or Snap-Micro I software CD (Windows XP/Vista/7). The setup program will auto run when you put the CD in the drive. Click the large button that says “Install the PICAXE Programming Editor software."
<p>I am a blind user of snap circuits. I am wondering if you can write instructions for your kit as I ahve done below for one of the 8 segment display circuitts. I am not able to follow graphic instructions. It only takes about 10 minutes to write instructions just put your robot together and take it appart in reverse order. As you take it appart write the instructions. When you are done takign it appart the last piece you take off should be instruction1. I have about 12 of the rover kits, 15 of the extreem kits and 15 of the light kits wrote out and I am wroking on making accessible kits for the blind. I would love to build your robot but can't unless you help. Thanks. You can email me at kperry@blinksoft.com<br><br>Project: 8 segment display c to C<br>8 segment display description. And input<br>The display is upright when the side with three snaps is at the top. <br><br><br>1. Place Digital Display B6 B8 with A and B on A6 A8 side covers to E6 E8<br>2. Place Q2 long side E2 E4 Emitter on E2<br>3. Place U2 covers A1 A3 to B1 B3 three snaps on A1 A3 side<br>4. Place standoff E2<br>5. Place 7 Connector G1 G7<br>6. Place standoff D6<br>7. Place 2 Connector B6 C6<br>8. Place R5 A4 C4<br>9. Place standoff C4<br>10. Place 3 Connector B3 D3<br>11. Place 2 Connector C3 C4<br>12. Place 6 Connector B1 G1<br>13. Place C3 capacitor D1 D3 braille on D3<br>14. Place 2 connector E1 E2<br>15. Place 2 Connector A3 A4<br>16. Place 2 Connector A1 A2<br>17. Place 2 Connector A2 A3<br>18. Place D3 Diode B9 D9 positive side D9<br>19. Place Battery Pack A7 A9 positive side A7<br>20. Place 2 Connector A7 B7<br>21. Place 4 Connector A4 A7<br>22. Place 2 connector A9 B9<br>23. Place battery pack E9 G9 positive side on E9<br>24. Place 2 Connector D9 E9<br>25. Place Red wire B6 D3 <br>26. Place black wire C8 E4<br>27. Place L2 lamp E6 G6<br>28. Place 2 Connector D6 E6<br>29. Place S1 switch G7 G9</p>
how to connect picaxe with computer without cable???

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Bio: You can try my projects AT YOUR OWN RISK. There's infinite ways to damage or destroy persons and property. I can't think of ... More »
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