Hello, my name is Cody Smith. I’m a member of the Palm Bay Pirates team 2023 FIRST robotics team. But I’m here for a bit of help on a personal project. Let me first say that I myself am new to electronics and robotics but have a big computer background. I’m a web designer and experienced 3D modeler.
A friend and I are attempting to build our own robot using an old 1GHz Pentium III Dell motherboard we got our hands on (we actually have four or so). We like to call this the “Dell Bot” project. After building on teams FTC bot we decided that we wanted to step up to the big boy league but we wanted to do it differently and on a budget. So we figured instead of paying a large amount of money for a micro controller that has next to no CPU power to just use the abundance of computer parts I have in my garage.
We have the Dell computer stripped down to bare components. Version 1 of this bot will be tethered for power and possibly communications. Version 2 will hopefully have a car battery on board to directly power the motherboard and various motors and be controlled via a wireless network card by a laptop. Version 3 will feature an arm, lights, speakers, a microphone and a USB webcam. A little note, we hope to use an omni-directional wheel system.
The biggest problem we’ve ran into is how to interface the motherboard or as I like to call it the mega controller (big micro controller) with the various DC motors we need. The rest is relatively easy.
The idea I had and hope to pull off is to make our own PWM output bread board. It would work by using the motherboards two serial ports (RS-232) hooked up to our own board to somehow create 10 or so PWM motor / servo outputs.
I’ve looked pretty deep into this and really found no help. I’m hoping to use Python to program the serial port(s) but still the whole thing has me scratching my head.
I’m wondering if anyone here has a better idea or could give me some insight on how PWM and/or serial ports work and communicate? Well, has anyone here attempted something like this before? Or maybe tell me I’m crazy for trying to do this lol.