Picture of How to build your first Robot ($ 85)
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Update: To some 10.000 people who already read this post, I would like to apologize. When I first entered this post, I was way over estimating the prizes, due to the fact that I live in Denmark, where everything is very expansive!

The total cost of this robot was originally set to some $ 150. It turns out that the price is actually only some $85 in the rest of the world, almost half prize!!
(sorry, I have entered new prizes for the components)

If you have any problems or questions regarding this project, please feel free to contact me at letsmakerobots.com

This is a walk through on how to make an autonomous, self-exploring, "own-mind" (not remote-controlled, not strictly pre-programmed, but reacting to surroundings) robot in a few hours.

It is really easy, and it does not involve knowledge of electronics to get you started with robot-building.

Focus in here is on the absolute necessary to get the basics covered.

This is meant to be an eye-opener, after building this, you can build anything and control any electronic device!

Sounds crazy? It is true, you just need to try it to understand how much power is in some of the chips you can buy for a few bucks today. Welcome to the world of microcontrollers :)

The programming example I write in the end is to make this robot what you would call "wall avoiding" (it will sniff around and explore based on which objects it meets, what is on the left, right and ahead), but it can be programmed into anything - easily. If interest is shown I will provide more programs for it.

Here is another using the exact same basic principles, board, chip etc. it is VERY much alike - Only I have put some more time into this one ;)

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i got another main bored, and it is so different than the one ur using, i am so lost, btw i dont know what its called

i got another main bored, and it is so different than the one ur using, i am so lost, btw i dont know what its called

i got another main bored, and it is so different than the one ur using, i am so lost, btw i dont know what its called

will the arduino code differ largely from this one?

Pittfall33 years ago
instead of the sharp ir sensor does anyone think you could use a ultrasonic sensor? would the coding be different? im sorry im a newbie at robots X)
Maybe a little late to answer but, yes you can use a ultrasonic sensor although you need to change to code a bit as you most likely need to first send out a ping and then read the time it takes for it to return. have not read the code closely but it seems like the code doesn't send out a ping
Kr0n4 years ago
Can this be created with a Bot Board 2?
ub3rFrank7 years ago
Does anyone know where I can get some of those pins? Is there another name for them besides just 'pins' ? Thanks
I've usually heard (in the US), those pins called "100 mil pitch headers" or "breakaway headers". The "100 mil pitch" part means that the pins are spaced 0.100" (2.54mm) apart (this is critical, trying to make the wrong sized header work is a huge pain). They're also called "breakaway headers" because you can easily cut the strip apart to get just the number of pins you need in a row. Digikey is once source, here's an example part number (they've got more, from different manufacturers and at different lengths): S1032E-16-ND

If you can find them at a local electronics store they're probably cheaper, but double check the pitch! (Can you tell I recently got burned on that one?)
acidblue7 years ago
What kind of 330 Ohm resistor should i get? 1w, 1/2w or 1/4w? or does it matter? Going with a standard servo and the 330 Ohm resistor since it's cheaper. Sorry if this is a stupid question, just want to make sure I get the right one.
fritsl (author)  acidblue7 years ago
Any of the 330 Ohm resistor will do. It does not to be very accurate, and that is the differences; How accurate they are :)
Whoops, the difference between 1W, 1/2W & 1/4W is *not* accuracy, it's how much power they can take. If you're attaching the resistor to a pin of your microcontroller it probably doesn't matter, because the microcontroller can't source enough power to burn up a resistor, but other times it might matter a lot! This website has a nice discussion of power dissipation in resistors, including an experiment! http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_6/chpt_2/7.html
SimonRawr4 years ago
Will the software work on a Mac?
I made this robot and love it. It's a great start into robotics and programing. Thank you for the instructable :-)
shadofox215 years ago
My servo doesn't seem to work correctly. When I put in the batteries, it twitches a little, but it won't take any commands from the program editing software.

The software is working because the motors can be programmed.

So far I've tried 2 different servo plug locations.

Any idea what might be wrong?

and my motors work great too.

thx in advance.
anthonyjr26 years ago
I Really do not understand this Step at all. i dont have an old servo or anything so i cant really do your method. and the way it says in the manual doesnt make sense either. could you please in some way, explain how to do it with the ribbon cable?
Why havent you responded to my above question yet?
fritsl (author)  anthonyjr26 years ago
Did you not also ask this on LMR? I think you got an answer there, no? Anyway, the deal is that I show you what part of the board is to be connected to what wire on the sensor. I am not sure I understand the part about using "the ribbon cable"; The only ribbons I know that comes along as standard, are only 2 pins wide.. and this analogue sensor needs 3. So how can you use the ribbon? That is excactly why I just show you what connections on the board goes to what wires on the sensor. It is not LEGO, if the stuff does not fit together, you will have to make it fit. The right connections must be made, and I suggest one way, there are millions.. some use bubble gum, you know ;)
hi... Im ralph Notarte 16 yrs. old.. from philippines.... and I have a question.. how to program the robot????...... and can you say it all???? thanks... REPLY [flag][delete]
so your saying have to make a way to do it? ok. (also, i did ask this on LMR, but i got the wrong answer i wanted
hi... Im ralph Notarte 16 yrs. old.. from philippines.... and I have a question.. how to program the robot????...... and can you say it all???? thanks...
how hack a electronic mosquito trap
I have a electronic mosquito trap , how can make cool things out of it.
G-James5 years ago
Are there any alternatives for double sided tape, its pretty hard to come by round where I am.
A-Nony-Mus5 years ago
nice 'ible, i built one and it is fun to play with.
i do have two questions tho,
1.) How does noise interference work? i mean, i know the noise can be annoying, but how does that mess with the circuitry?
2.) is it possible to add a photocell, and if so, where?
I learned so much in the past year.  Thanks to you frits.      
arhodes185 years ago
 does anybody know if this one will work? world-educational-services.info/cart/index.php
cambigfoot5 years ago
will an arduino work?
 where i can buy these motors in the eu
Jinnarin5 years ago
If you are in the US and looking for the yellow chip, I believe this isthe right one: www.alliedelec.com/search/productdetail.aspx
area365 years ago
how would you program it to talk?
area365 years ago
Does anyone know where to find those pins?
Willmeister6 years ago
and on the back
Willmeister6 years ago
can i put like a little wheel on the front so its steady
Please give any suggestion to the "Instructables the Movie" at http://www.instructables.com/community/Instructables-the-movie/
joeyoung1236 years ago
btw some of the links dont work, if it doesnt work and it shows an ip in the address bar, replace it with
D.L.H.6 years ago
Awesome ible I just got a small question(I might try this later on maybe) Where did you get the small tank treads because I think that is a better design for what terrain I have in my area.
fritsl (author)  D.L.H.6 years ago
Some links to treads, and hints for first timers here:<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://letsmakerobots.com/node/387">http://letsmakerobots.com/node/387</a><br/>
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