World's Simplest Line Following Robot

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About: Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer working as a research fellow in the domain of RF and Microwave design

Intro: World's Simplest Line Following Robot

Here in this instructable I'm going to show you how to make the World's simplest Line following robot. Simplest in terms of number of parts used and the complexity of the circuit.
Most of the line following robots on the internet use complex circuits with microcontrollers and op amps. And the algorithms used like PWM(Pulse Width Modulation),PID(Proportional Integral Derivative) are tough to understand and implement for a newbie or a hobbyist.

As an engineering student, I have studied all these things. But why not make it simple for others?
So I designed this circuit for a line following robot which uses the same principle as is used by most of the circuits available on the internet.

So let's start!

Step 1: Parts Required

LM358 dual op amp - 1

BC547 transistors - 2

1K 1/4Watt resistor - 2

330 ohms 1/4Watt resistor - 2

470 ohms 1/4Watt resistor - 2

10K potentiometers - 2

Infrared LEDs(IR LEDs) - 2

IR sensors (Photodiode) - 2

DC geared motors 30 RPM or 60 RPM - 2

Chassis for mounting motors and PCB - 1

Step 2: Circuit Diagram

Here's the circuit for the line follower.
The circuit is shown only for one side(i.e., one motor and one op amp). You need to make the same circuit using the 2nd op amp IC present in the same chip- LM 358( dual op amp means it has 2 op amps inside).

Note-

Connect the components on a general purpose PCB except for the sensors(IR Leds and Photodiodes).

You need to make sensor connections on a separate board as shown in the pictures above.

The distance between the sensors should be equal to or slightly greater than the width of the track on which you want your robot to work. In my case I'm using a black electrical tape of width 18 mm.

So the distance between the sensors is 18 mm in my case.

This robot follows black track on white background. If you want to make a robot that follows white track on black background then you need to invert the connections.

Interchange the connections on the inverting and non-inverting terminals of the op amp.

Step 3: Working

The working of this circuit is very simple.

Here the op amps are used in open loop configuration. To be specific they are being used as a comparator.

A comparator is a circuit which compares the voltage on one of the input pin with a reference voltage set on another pin and gives either a high(+Vcc) or low(0V or -Vee) output.

LM358 has 2 op amps inside. Both are used as comparators. Each comparator is connected to one sensor and output to one motor through a transistor.

The reference voltage is set using a 10K pot on the inverting terminal of the op amp.

Now suppose the sensor is placed on a white surface. The IR rays from the IR led will be reflected and these are sensed by the photodiode. This increases the voltage of the photodiode and it crosses the reference voltage set by the 10K potentiometer.(You need to do this manually by experimenting on the surface on which you want your robot to work.) So the output goes high and the motor starts working. If the sensor comes on black surface, black colour absorbs all the IR rays, so output of op amp is low and hence motor stops.

When the track is curved, one of the sensor is on white surface and one is on black track. So one motor is running and one is stopped, the bot takes a turn.(Shown in image above.

The above picture is the courtesy of ermicro.com

Please read calibrationdetails otherwise you won't be able to get it working.

Step 4: Calibration- the Most Important Step

Please follow the instructions carefully. If you don't follow each and every step given here, your line follower won't follow the track.

Follow these steps once the robot is ready. All the parts and the sensor PCB is firmly attached to the chassis at a certain distance from ground.

1)Place the robot on a black surface(both the sensors are on black surface). The distance from sensor to ground should be kept fixed to calibrate the robot. Variation in the distance between sensors are ground may cause the robot to not follow the track. So please attach all the sensors firmly to the chassis.

The black surface should be made of same material as your track.

In my case I used the same electrical insulation tape for the calibration purpose.

2)Now the motors maybe running or they may be stopped depending on the current position of the potentiometer.
While the robot is still on black surface, adjust the potentiometer such that both the motors just stop.

3)Now do not move the potentiometer shaft. Carefully place the robot on a white surface. The motors should start running. Your robot is calibrated now.

4)Make a track on the white surface using the same black material you used for calibrating.
Switch on the bot and keep it on the track.

It works perfectly and follows the track as efficiently as a micro controller based one.

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19 Discussions

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Nandu s kumar

Question 4 months ago

Sir if u don't mind would u please send me the complete circuit contains both omps. Because I can't caught you.

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Nandu s kumar

4 months ago

Let me know the clear picture of ur circuit. How to make and connect the other side of robot on the same circuit. Please send a detailed circuit.

1 reply
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rjawaleNandu s kumar

Reply 4 months ago

What details do you need? Check the LM358 datasheet on http://www.ti.com website There you can see that a single IC contains 2 opamps (The triangular thing in the circuit). The other side of the robot is built using the second opamp present inside the same IC.

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Nandu s kumar

Question 4 months ago on Step 3

2nd op amp IC present in the same chip- LM 358( dual op amp means it has 2 op amp inside . What does it means? Can u give a clear circuit of both side . I am confused. Does it means to use 2 lm ics on both side . Please let me know the clear data of ur circuit.

1 more answer
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rjawaleNandu s kumar

Answer 4 months ago

LM358 is a dual opamp IC. Which means there are two opamps inside the single IC. I have shown the circuit diagram for one motor connection. The second motor can be connected by making the same circuit. You don't need 2 LM358 ICs.

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novicesmml

2 years ago

I am currently trying to make but its not working because the current comming out of the transistor is not enough to drive the motor although the battery itself when connected to the motor works fine.

Thanks for your help in advanced

3 replies
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novicesmmlrjawale

Reply 2 years ago

With BC547 I get 5.7v and with BD139 I get 6.1v (this I tested with ciruit simulator being that I dont have it with me and if that is the problem I will have to go buy it) even though power supply is 9v and powers the motor well.

Thank you for your quick reply

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rjawalenovicesmml

Reply 2 years ago

Its not the voltage that drives the motor. Always remember inductive loads like relays and motors require current. 5.7V is enough to drive the motor. the circuit is not supplying current. Use normal BO geared motor which works on 3-6V.
Simulation circuit won't have these motors.

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sak3

2 years ago

is LM358 an ic?
can u give a clear picture of the circuit diagram, i can't see the pin numbers

3 replies
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rjawalesak3

Reply 2 years ago

yes LM358 is a dual op amp IC.
Ok thanks for letting me know that the circuit is not visible.
i will soon upload a new one.

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sak3rjawale

Reply 2 years ago

thank you. im eagerly waiting for the picture

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rjawalesak3

Reply 2 years ago

Are you using a mobile to view the pic?
I opened the schematic using PC. Just click on the image for larger view.

It is perfectly clear.

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rjawalebhavik zure

Reply 2 years ago

You're welcome!
Yeah, I explain things in detail so that people find it easy to make circuits and debug them.
Just seeing the schematic and making a project is very easy but the if you get the working of the circuit you can make your own projects.

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rjawaleskumar231

Reply 2 years ago

Thank you!
If you liked it please vote my instructable in Robotics contest.

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skumar231

2 years ago

adding video is make ur instructable better.......

1 reply