Pololu Blog (Page 15)

Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.

Clusterbot, a beginner robotics project tutorial

Posted by Grant on 17 October 2013
Clusterbot, a beginner robotics project tutorial

Lonnie Honeycutt made a nice tutorial on how to make a simple beginner robot that uses many parts that you can find on our website. The tutorial breaks down the construction of the robot into different parts and includes videos that help demonstrate how to build the robot. It also includes links to some of our products used in the robot, like the TB6612FNG Dual Motor Driver Carrier, Pololu Robot Chassis, and the Tamiya 70097 Twin-Motor Gearbox Kit. Check it out if you are looking for a project to get you started.

Here are links to three parts of the tutorial he has posted so far:

Part 1: Arduino robotics – motor control

Part 2: Arduino robotics – chassis, locomotion and power

Part 3: Arduino robotics – wiring, coding, and a test run

WALL-E controlled by a Maestro

Posted by Jamee on 17 October 2013

Forum user robo_proyect modified a WALL-E toy with a Micro Maestro 6-Channel USB Servo Controller for his first robotics project. Visit his blog (in Spanish) for more information on this and his other projects.

Featured link: http://forum.pololu.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7435

Free Elektor magazine October 2013

Posted by Paul on 15 October 2013
Tags: new products
Free Elektor magazine October 2013

Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s October issue with your order while supplies last. This offer is only available for orders shipped to USA or Canada. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR1013 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 6 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

For other issues and more information, see our Free Elektor Magazine Offers page.

New product: RC Switch with Medium Low-Side MOSFET

Posted by Paul on 11 October 2013
Tags: new products
New product: RC Switch with Medium Low-Side MOSFET

Last week we announced the Pololu RC Switch with Relay, the first product in our overhaul of the RC Switch family. Today we released the second new RC Switch product, the Pololu RC Switch with Medium Low-Side MOSFET. This board converts hobby radio control pulses to digital on/off signals and has an integrated medium, low-side MOSFET that allows it to drive moderate loads (up to around 15 A), such as lighting or small actuators.

This product replaces item #1211 and includes valuable new features such as a safe-start mode and user-configurable input direction and threshold.

For more information about the Pololu RC Switch with Medium Low-Side MOSFET, see the product page.

Related posts:

Zumo Robot with Pololu Plug-in Modules

Posted by Jamee on 8 October 2013

Forum user Erich created a custom Zumo Robot Chassis PCB to use with our Zumo chassis kit. The board is designed to accept a large number of plug-in modules, such as a DRV8835 dual motor driver carrier, encoders, and voltage regulators. Sensors that can be mounted on the robot include a Zumo reflectance sensor array, some distance sensors, and an ultrasonic sensor, and it also supports several wireless communication modules. Instead of an Arduino, it uses a Freescale FRDM-KL25Z as the microcontroller board.

You can follow his robot’s progression by visiting these forum posts:

March 2013: Zumo Robot with FRDM-KL25Z Board

September 2013: Zumo Robot with Pololu Plug-in Modules

October 2013: Zumo Robot with Pololu Plug-in Modules, assembled.

New product: Pololu RC Switch with Relay

Posted by Paul on 4 October 2013
Tags: new products
New product: Pololu RC Switch with Relay

We are overhauling our RC Switch family of products, starting with a new and long-awaited addition, the Pololu RC Switch with Relay. This RC relay board makes it easy to control large loads within radio control (RC) systems. Here is an example setup with a typical RC receiver controlling the switch:

The Pololu RC Switch with Relay has advanced features not present in earlier RC switch products, including a safe-start mode and configurable input direction and threshold.

In addition to the assembled version shown above, a partial kit is available for specialized applications such as custom connectors or alternative relays:

Pololu RC Switch with Relay (Partial Kit).

For more information about the Pololu RC Switch, see the product page.

Related posts:

Highlights from the LVBots September 2013 mini-sumo competition

Posted by Paul on 3 October 2013
Tags: lvbots

LVBots held a mini-sumo competition at Pololu on September 19. With a total of 19 robots participating, we got to see a lot of different strategies, from passive to aggressive to deliberately misleading. Sensing technology was of key importance, with robots using everything from sonar and optical rangefinders to accelerometers. See the range of designs for yourself in this video compilation from the contest:

Do you live in Las Vegas, or are you passing through? Stop by this evening to see the robots in person! You can find out more about LVBots or sign up on our Meetup page.

Featured link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biiSHoyjBzY

Speech synthesis with the Orangutan SV-328

Posted by Kevin on 2 October 2013

Forum user Jim Remington has been working on getting the Talkie speech synthesis library to run on an Orangutan robot controller. The Talkie library, written by Peter Knight for the Arduino, has its roots in a Texas Instruments speech synthesis system that dates from the 1970s and was used in the Speak & Spell educational toy.

When we read about what Jim was doing on the Pololu Forum, we wanted to try it ourselves. We modified Jim’s Orangutan LV-168 code to work on the Orangutan SV-328, and we discovered that the Orangutan’s motor driver could be used as an improvised audio amplifier. This video demonstrates the result:

(Yes, those numbers are a little implausible, but they’re a good way to show off Jim’s number-to-speech routine.)

Our version of Jim’s demo, converted to an Atmel Studio 6 project for the Orangutan SV-328, can be found in this post. To read more about Jim’s work and download his code, see his forum topic.

New product: Arduino Robot

Posted by Paul on 1 October 2013
Tags: new products
New product: Arduino Robot

We now carry the Arduino Robot, the first official Arduino on wheels, which includes a pair of ATmega32U4-based platforms that control two motors, sensors, and more. From the Arduino blog post about it:

Designed in cooperation with Complubot, 4-time world champions in the Robocup Junior robotics soccer, the Arduino Robot promises endless hours of experimentation and play. It is a self-contained platform that allows you to build interactive machines to explore the world around you.

You can use straight out of the box, modify its software, or add your own hardware on top of it. You can learn as you go: the Arduino Robot is perfect for both the novice as well as those looking for their next challenge.

For more information about the Arduino Robot, see the product page.

New product: CP2104 USB-to-Serial Adapter Carrier

Posted by Kevin on 1 October 2013
Tags: new products
New product: CP2104 USB-to-Serial Adapter Carrier

We’ve just released a new USB-to-serial adapter based on the Silicon Labs CP2104 USB-to-UART bridge. This tiny, inexpensive board makes it easy to connect a logic-level serial device to a PC, offering access to all of the data, control, and GPIO pins on the CP2104 while measuring only 0.6″ × 0.95″, including its Micro-USB connector. The adapter’s versatile pinout allows it to be used in a number of different ways, including on a breadboard or as a six-pin FTDI cable replacement.

And in case you don’t have a compatible cable lying around, we now also carry Micro-USB cables in two varieties: a standard cable that works with high-speed USB devices, and a thinner version that is lighter and more flexible but limited to low- and full-speed USB.