Mechatronica 2000 Eindhoven by Matthijs Boerlage

This robot is build by a group of ultra enthusiastic students of
Mechatronics at the Fontys University of Professional education
Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The project evolved from a course in
microcontrollers and other digital control systems. In our
project, the most famous 68HC11 microcontroller of Motorola was
studied. The members of the team are:

Bart van Bragt
Paul Barends
Hugues Nsungu Ngelesi
Matthijs Boerlage

Under guidance of Johan van Engelen and Piet van Amerongen. 

Description of the robot:
The robot is based on a dirt cheap RC car. The motor with gearbox 
is driving the backwheels and a very cheap solenoid is used for
the steering unit. These actuators are controlled using H-bridge 
interfaces (L293D for solenoid and MOSFET's for motor). It also
has some really cool flashing lights above the wheels. These are 
used to at the very first stage of programming. If you can get a
LED blinking, you can control the rest of the world just as easy 
;-)  For sensing objects, two front whiskers are used. These are
just plain microswitches attached to metal wire. 

The function of the robot is pretty simple. It always drives forward 
until it hits an object with the whiskers. It then turns back
in a curve and goes forward again. 

We really wasted months on communication errors between the PC and 
HC11. We have tried everything (different board layouts,
optocouplers instead of MAX233/232, d11 and windows terminal instead 
of PcBug, etc.) and walked into some really really strange
problems. Finally, we borrowed a working HC11 board from a friend and 
started working on the other electronics and software. Making
the interfacing electronics and software was not a big deal. I think 
we generally spent a week (approx. 8hrs.)on driving
electronics and spent more than three months (approx. 100hrs.) on 
interfacing the HC11. If we had more time for the driving
electronics, we would probably have some more sensors. But hey, 
maybe next time!

Part list:
- RC car
- HC11 board (botboard compatible)
- PCbug, as11 (free software)
- some electronics (L293d, MOSFET's, resistors, capacitors, etc.)
- internet connection to SRS and PARTS

RC car: $15
1 working HC11+board: $25+
Misc. Electronics: $10

Get the book: Mobile Robotics, Inspiration to Implementation
Get a easy to understand microcontroller to start with.
Get parts running before trying the get every thing to work 
at the first time: make small steps.
Get in contact with other robotic hobbyists on internet: 
start at the Seattle Robotics Society.

More info, schematics and cool photo's at:

Happy robot building !

Matthijs Boerlage 
The Netherlands, Feb. 2000


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