VCR Robot

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

A sample robot, using parts from VCRs and bought only the minimum necessary to make the simplest robot I could think of. At the time I was using the Nemesis microcontroller, produced by Kronos Robotics, however this was not a good choice for Romania, because import taxes would have made their price almost double. Nemesis is a PIC 16F88 with a pre-programmed bootloader.

VCR Robot
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This feature allows the user to program it from the serial port of the PC through a logic level adapter. Kronos Robotics also provides Athena, a free Basic compiler, lots of sample code and great support. Basic is easier to learn by young people, so I thought it is a good choice for beginners. And Nemesis costs only $12. 95. A PIC 16F88 costs about $3, but needs a programmer (the cheapest I could find is $40) and the PBasic compiler costs $99. Too expensive. Now I would use an AVR ATtiny26 and Bascom-AVR for programming, cutting the price to about $15 for the whole project. The only parts you will need to buy for this project are the Nemesis microcontroller, the SN754410 motor driver IC, a prototyping board, the LM2940 voltage regulator, a battery box, 18 pin and 16 pin DIP sockets, a 5 pin female socket, a strip of breakable male pins. I also bought a serial lever shifter to program the microcontroller from Kronos Robotics website. All the other parts you can get from a VCR, but you will need 2 VCRs to get 2 identical motors. You will also need a few cable ties, a couple construction nails, wire, a couple small wood screws and 4 AA batteries. The main part (IC1)is the Nemesis microcontroller, the robot`s brain. As you can see, it has 15 general I/O pins, 7 of which are connected to the internal Analog to Digital converter and 2 are connected to the built in UART (serial) interface and a Reset pin (Attn). It runs at 8MHz...

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