Other robots?

I’m posting this question for a team mate of mine.

He is looking into making a robot for fun, but doesn’t want to use the extremely simplified VEX or IFI systems. At a relatively cheap price. Where could he get controllers, speed controllers, motors, communications, and all that stuff, and what would you recommend?

You definitely need to be more specific about his needs and expectations.

He’s just going for a simple robot that he wants it to be able to run autonomously using 10+ sensors, 6+ motors, and also be able to teleop run it. He’s basically going for a simple unmanned ground vehicle

How big? How fast? Which sensors? What’s the budget? So far, it sounds like, “He doesn’t want to use any commonly available simple and inexpensive robotics systems, but he wants to build a simple and inexpensive robot.”

Still need more info.

Does he want to start with a microcontroller on a board and do the rest himself?

How big?

What sensors?

What motors?

It kind of sounds like you could accomplish this with this year’s FTC system.

Still need more details, what scale are we talking? Obviously a small mouse sized vehicle needs different equipment than a car sized one. For something small-ish I would suggest an arduino. That will give you a pretty basic micro. As for wireless communication I would suggest either using the arduino bluetooth (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8255) This will let you bring it back to a computer. If you want you could always just use a standard radio transmitter and run that into some of the analog inputs.

As for speed controllers, that is entirely dependent on the size you want to run and what motors you are using. For smaller robots cheaper speed controllers will work. For larger ones (FRC size) you need the more expensive ESCs. My suggestion for an FRC sized robot would be Jaguars, not because they are better than Victors but because they are CHEAPER. That or find an FRC team to donate the old 883s they have laying around.

I would guess a little bit smaller than an FRC robot, but bigger then an FTC/VEX robot.

So 30-60lbs? 60-100lbs?

Motors will drive your ESC choice, any idea what motors you want to use? Top Speed? Battery Life? Drive Style?

I’d probably say 50-70 pounds

He’d probably want as fast as possible

Well, as far as metal is considered, 1/8 aluminum tubing would be the lightest and kinda cheapest route.

Secondly motors, there are TONS available online. I would recommend he stick with the FRC stuff. Simply because all of the motor controller complications have already been reduced and it’s a complete package.

I mean your choices are infinite. All he would need to do is type it up on google and find whatever he needs.

But personally, for an inexpensive project/build. I would recommend using either old parts, or VEX.

The choice for electronics probably depends on how much he wants to learn…for example, my brother is in the middle of designing a 4 channel speed controller to run on 48v and take a vEx transmitter tether output to power our underwater robot. If your friend doesn’t want to get that deep into it, then he’ll have to figure out just how much power he needs from the motors, and buy appropriate speed controllers (banebots has several that are smaller/less expensive than the Jags or Victors).

For the robot structure…you’d be amazed what you can do with plywood if you spend a bit of time designing. Quick, cheap, tough, light.

For electronics, you could use a PIC or dsPIC microcontroller.

I built a board for my robot here: http://roboticsguy.com/electronics/dspic30f4011-board/

If you want to drive the robot around with a remote control, you can buy a Vex remote control and receiver for about $20 bucks on ebay and integrate it VERY easily.