Time Required: 3-5 hours depending on experience
Jameco J-BOT Kit (P/N 2140285)
Someone mentioned that Jameco needed a robot mascot. I have always been a tinkerer, especially with radio-controlled electronics and so I volunteered for the chance to design and create the J-Bot. While this was my first autonomous robot build, I'm confident it won't be my last. We thought this would be a fun project to build.
Required tools and parts:
|Jameco J-BOT Kit||J-BOT|
|Arduino UNO (Not Included in Kit)||A000046|
|11 AA batteries||ALK AA (EN91)|
|Long nose Pliers||G/S(GPL-172) 4.7 -R|
|Helping hands||3RD HAND|
Step 1 - Building the 4 wheel drive platformBefore building the brains, we'll need the basic platform. I found some good videos to help step me through the process of putting together the same 4 wheel drive platform that is included in the J-Bot kit.
Overview of kit and laying out your parts
Laying out parts (con't)
Mounting wheel motors
Prep and Soldering
After soldering the wires to the motors, I suggest adding a drop of hot glue to the copper clips so the clips do not rip off because they are very fragile.
Assembling the platform and adding wheels
At this point it would be a good idea to label all the cables so you can identify them later. I decided to label them by using regular scotch tape. I labeled the two front motors "FL" and "FR" for front-left and front-right, as well as the back as "BR" and "BL" for back-right and back-left.
Step 2 - Wiring and Mounting Arduino to PlatformThis video shows how to wire for battery pack.
To mount the Arduino to the platform, I first put the standoffs on the Arduino to see where I could mount it. I decided to mount the Arduino on the bottom plate because it would require less drilling. I drilled one hole on the platform so I could get all four standoffs connected to the platform.
Next we will build the Adafruit motor control shield to control the motors on the platform. This website walks you through the simple build.
Be sure you sort out your parts; sometimes the capacitor color will not be the same as the pictures in the instructions. Look at the value of the capacitor, not the color.
The kit includes some headers so you can solder them onto the motor control shield to make it easier to connect the different sensors. The headers that are provided are 8-position. You will need to cut in the middle of the seventh pin so it will fit onto the motorshield. If you decide not to use the headers, you can solder jumper wires to the board. In this build we will be using pin A0, one grd (ground), and one +5V pin.
Take both sets of wires from the left side (front left and back left) and test them with an AA battery (not included) to make sure they are wired correctly. Both of the wheels should go the same direction. We are wiring the motors in series. Do the same with the right side.
After making sure that the motors are wired correctly, put the left side to the terminal labeled M1. Put the right side to terminal M2.
Connect the battery pack cables to the motor shield as shown below.
You will need to solder the plug and the battery holder together as shown below. This will provide power to the Arduino UNO
The plug is center positive, so you will need to solder the red cable to center.
Step 3 - Adding the breadboardI decided to put the breadboard in the front for easy access; so I put the plate on the front side.
Connect one of the jumpers to pin A0 which is the green cable below. Then connect a jumper cable to ground (yellow) and one to 5 volt (red).
On the breadboard connect the power (red cable) to the first row, the ground (yellow cable) to the second row and the signal cable to the first column.
Put the header into one end of the extension cable, and put it on the board as shown below. The white cable is the signal, the red cable is power and black cable is the ground.
Step 4 - Adding the PING sensorWe will use the aluminum piece that came with the breadboard to make a holder for the PING sensor. Put the sensor on the aluminum piece and mark it with a Sharpie. I used regular scissors to cut the aluminum piece.
I used a small piece of Velcro to stick the sensor to the mount.
Because the aluminum is thin, I used a regular screwdriver to push in a hole in the middle of the mount.
I used the circle horn for the servo and attached the mount to it by using the screw provided.
I decided to stick the sensor to the mount with Velcro. The servo was attached to the servo hole on the top of the shield by using the standoffs, two screws and two nuts.
I attached six AA batteries to the top plate with Velcro in case I want to take the top plate off.
This is what the motor control shield should look like when all of the electronics are connected together.
Step 5 - Now time to program!This is really the fun part; the sky's the limit when it comes to programming your J-Bot. You can pre-program the route to the candy office machine or coffee pot to have your office buddy make a pick-up. Add a web-cam to peer around high cubicle walls, add speakers to broadcast tunes, add limbs and a remote control to fetch your favorite gadgets. J-Bot is waiting for your imagination to run simply botty.
First you will need to download the Arduino software. Next download the Arduino Stepper/Servo software library and follow the directions on how to put the library in its respective folder.
Next, open the Arduino software and paste the code. Click here for code.
Stay tuned for the next addition on the J-Bot. I will add more sensors and perhaps a webcam.
1. Make sure the Adafruit motor control library is in its proper folder.
2. Check the code and make sure you copied the complete program.
The IC chips on the Adafruit shield heat up.
The wheels fall off.
|1. Apply a small amount of hot glue to the wheels.|
The fun with J-Bot doesn't stop here. See what Omar does next for J-Bot here.
Omar Arriaga is currently attending Canada College, in Redwood City, California and is pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. Omar is a Product Marketing Assistant at Jameco Electronics. His interests include building robots, learning about new electronic gadgets, dirt biking and long walks on the beach. If you have any questions feel free to contact him at oarriaga@Jameco.com.