Picture of impBot: a Pan-Tilt Electric Imp Robot
With controlBox, you've got a great basic input device pushing data to the Electric Imp planner (and therefore to the internet at large, via the HTTP Out node), but what about output devices? Controlling lights is a good trick, as we saw yesterday, but it's not enough to start your quest for global domination. No, as the Instructables Robot is well aware, for all your real conquering needs, you need robots.

Building an Electric Imp robot is quick and easy. Check out this instructable to build your own.

Step 1: Building impBot: What you'll need

Picture of Building impBot: What you'll need
Building an imp-based robot is particularly easy for a couple of reasons:
  1. The Electric Imp API for configuring and controlling Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) is quite straightforward and intuitive
  2. Many servos, like the A0090 micro servo in the pan/tilt mechanism I used here, run great on a 4.5V to 6V supply - which means you can power your electric imp breakout board and servos from the same small power supply
    • A note on this: you may have less luck if you attempt to run the imp and servos off of a USB power supply. While the supply voltage is just fine, a USB power supply may not provide the necessary current, depending on what you're using. 
  3. You don't need any additional components: power, an imp, and a servo, and you're all wired up.
  4. Everything is really small!
Here's a full inventory of what I used:
  1. An imp (rather obviously)
  2. An electric imp breakout board (I used an "April" dev board from electric imp, but the Sparkfun breakout is identical)
  3. Two A0090 micro servos
  4. A pan/tilt bracket
  5. A small piece of stripboard for connecting things cleanly
  6. A pair of CR123 batteries
  7. A pair of CR123 battery clips
  8. Some headers and heat shrink tubing to keep things neat
  9. A box I had handy. Something 4" square by 1.5" deep or more should be just fine for you. You'll want to cut some holes in it, so get one made out of something reasonably easy to cut.
  10. A SPDT (Selector) Switch, which I wired up to select between USB and battery power. Since I don't have USB power connected, it serves as a power switch
And of course, some tools were required:
  1. A soldering iron and some solder
  2. Heat gun for shrinking heat shrink
  3. A big, heavy pair of scissors for cutting up the stripboard. If you're going to saw this stuff (you probably don't want to), wear a respirator. FR4 dust is toxic.
  4. A pair of angle cutters.
  5. Some double-sided foam tape for securing stuff to the bottom of the box
  6. Drill 
  7. Small adjustable wrench
  8. Dremel - great for cutting a hole for the pan servo in the top of the box
Alright! That's the works. Check out the next step for the schematic and let's get started.
muscleda1 year ago

Hey Tom - Any change of updating the code to the new Agent/Device IDE? I bought the parts, but can't navigate through the old "Planner"... and github doesn't appear updated. Thanks.

tombrew (author)  muscleda1 year ago
Thanks for the heads-up. I'll try and get to it as soon as I can.
botronics2 years ago
Is there a way to use your iPhone instead of control box to control the servos? This way I only need one Electric Imp.
Bob Bowie2 years ago
Hopefully, you can show me how to let my PC control this remote controlled lawnmower: http://www.instructables.com/id/Remote-Controlled-Lawnmower/

The above web site has a video of my remote controlled lawnmower.

Currently, the mower is controlled by a Futaba 4YF transmitter. I want my Windows 7 PC to control the mower either with an interface to the Futaba transmitter or by a PC based joystick and transmitter that replaces the Futaba transmitter. The interface needs to allow the following 2 steps:

Step #1-Learn Mode Control the mower via the transmitter and record the sequence of joystick commands to the PC

Step #2-Playback Mode Transmit commands recorded on the PC in Step #1 tothe mower.

What is the easiest way to accomplish these 2 steps?
deesqrd2 years ago
Neat! How about controlling with a joystick for full 2-axis control?
tombrew (author)  deesqrd2 years ago
Here you go! http://www.instructables.com/id/Internet-connected-joystick/
tombrew (author)  deesqrd2 years ago
Stay tuned ;)
brilliant - I tried it using the sparkfun shield. It worked immediately! This may look like an ad for the imp but the imp itself is the best ad. Try one (better two) and you will see
Really great work you guys do!
tombrew (author)  GastonLagaffe2 years ago
Thank you so much for the positive feedback - that's exactly the experience we're trying to create!
Jazzy132 years ago
This is really nice, I love the idea of an impbot. Could you possibly post how much this would cost to build?
Jazzy13 Jazzy132 years ago
And the control knob please.
tombrew (author)  Jazzy132 years ago
imp - $30
breakout - $20
pot - $3
switch - $1
I used a spendy enclosure for the controlBox, about $15

Total for the controlBox would be about $70.
tombrew (author)  Jazzy132 years ago
imp - $30
breakout - $20
servos - $18 for two
bracket - $6
stripboard - $5
CR123s - $6
CR123 clips - $3
switch - $1
my enclosure was ~$10

Total's just about $100
http://goo.gl/rzuFJ you might find your answer here.