I have built and destroyed a few rovers in the past. Most of them I didn’t make any plans ahead, I just “MacGyver-ed” something from spare parts. It was fun and still is. It started several years ago with a unit that I built from Meccano parts which had tracks and two small Arduinos all connected via serial ports. Then went to a smaller unit using an ATtiny2313 and a Bluetooth module controlled by an Android app I created myself. The most recent dismantled victim was using a WRTnode module which was streaming a USB camera connected to it, my first true “rover”. This one I used to run small cables underneath big greasy equipment at work, so it was actually a workhorse, well more like a “work-pony”.
Were are they all now? Hopefully in Robot heaven with only memories of their existence. l did keep the “brains” of the Bluetooth ATtiny2313 unit, it is still all mounted on a small breadboard. There is something special about this one that makes me keep it around. Maybe the fact that the ATtiny2313 only has 2K of memory and I made a rover out of it, maybe because I actually had a plan in action when I built this one instead of just winging it.
After building several different rovers I came up with a list of my basic requirements:
- It has to be controllable via WiFi in order to get decent range.
- It has to have a live streaming camera to see where it is going.
- It has to have a rechargeable battery.
- It has to have lights to see in the dark.
- It has to have adjustable speed for better control.
- It has to have tracks instead of wheels for better traction.
The nice things to have would be:
- Controllable colored lights (RGB Leds).
- Speaker/Amplifier to speak or play sounds .
- A variety of sensors such as battery status, wall and proximity sensors and/or environment sensors.
- Docking station for recharging the battery.
Really cool things to have:
- Being able to be autonomous.
- Some kind of vision system.
- Speech recognition.
I always start with the basic and build up to the nice things before attempting the cool stuff, however the basic build has to take in account for future upgrades as well.
This is how I put together my CHIP Rover. I started with the basics and added a couple of nice features later; I am still tinkering with it, currently planning on sensing stairs or void ahead to avoid an ugly demise.
For the basic setup I used the following material:
|BRAINS:||1||CHIP – The $9 Computer|
|CHASSIS:||1||Zumo Chassis Kit (No Motors)|
|MOTORS:||2||Micro Metal Gearmotor (I Chose the medium speed 75:1)|
|MOTOR CONTROLLER:||1||TB6612FNG Dual Motor Driver Carrier|
|BATTERY:||1||Lithium Ion Polymer Battery – 3.7v 2500mAh|
|WIRES :||1||Breadboarding wire bundle|
|HEADERS:||2||40-Pin Break-apart Male Headers – 2mm Pitch|
|HEADERS:||2||Stacking Header – 2×20 Extra Tall Header|
|PERFBOARD:||1||5x7cm PERF BOARD|
|POWER:||1||5V 2A Micro USB Charger Power Adapter|
|CABLES:||1||Micro USB (For accessing CHIP via computer)|
I forgot to list a USB camera above but that’s probably because the first goal is to get it moving. I will have a dedicated post just for the camera.
The links in the BOM are for reference, you can obtain any parts from your preferred supplier. I chose each component after dry fitting several different part together until I found the right combination. This took several weeks as I had to wait for some parts to arrive.
In the following posts I will document how it came together.
Ciao for now.