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Robot Challege (help!!! I'm lost!!)


Paralys
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Well, I seem to have gotten myself in over my head this time. I agreed to enter a competition at school, sadly before reading the requirements (Flame away for that part, I deserve it lol).

Here's the challenge. I have to build a robot, preferably using an RC car as a base (preferably with a cord to the control box). Sounded easy at first, all it has to do is move as many of these items as it can into a goal box the size of 30x30x30 cm:

2 Ping- Pong balls

1 Compact Disk

9 Corks

10 Pennies

Then it must deflate 3 blue balloons and remove a red one from the play area (the red one can be deflated by the robot if it must be)

Ok, good challange but, the restrictions got far harder. Though seeing as I'm stubborn, I decided to stay on the roster for the competition.

The final restrictions for the robot itself? Well:

Must fit in a 30x30x30 cm Plexiglass box not including the wires running to the control box.

Must be ran off of ELECTRICAL circuits only. NO HYDRAULICS, FLUIDICS, OR PNEUMATICS. (sorry for the caps, just feel it is necessary at this point.)

Allowable frequencies: 75, 27 and 49 Mhz Band

Must be energized by one or more commercial batteries with a voltage not to exceed 9.6 volts.

However, all circuits may have thier own source of power if necessary as long as the output doesn't exceed the 9.6 volt limit.

Preferred to be wheels instead of treds on the bot, cause the competition has a two minute time limit to move as many of the above items as you can.

Well... I have a couple friends trying to help me, but progress is going slow with so many limitations. So, I found that my best way to speed up progress may be to ask for some help on here. Hope someone has some ideas on anything, doesn't have to be a whole build, just a few tips or anything

Thanks to anyone who survived reading the post.

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Do you get anything in terms of funding?

It seems doable, even to a non-hardware hacker like myself, but you'd have to invest in a control board, some electric motors... those things might not cost that much in and of themselves, but it adds up and you're but students.

Normally with school assignments like these you get some pointers as to where you could go to get certain elements that you'll probably need to make it happen.

That 9.6 volts sounds strange. I kind of expected that to be more like 12 volts. Any particular reason, that you know of, for them to choose this value? With 12 volts you would've been able to power up a Mini-ITX board. Now you might still be able to, but you'd need a DC-to-DC converter.

You should probably just go out to buy two RC cars. They can be had for just shy of 15 bucks each I reckon.

Take the drive train from both to power your machine and make it go a little faster. Use the steering of the one to steer the device and the steering of the other to either grab/enclose or pierce (with 'deflation' as an end result) an object using a pair of arms or something.

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It’s fairly simple to do. Does the robot have to have a primitive AI like robot football or can it be controlled by a RC controller.

http://www.gumstix.com/waysmalls.html is better suited then any Mini-ITX board.

I have one of these for a project I was working on but I got a new job and don’t have as much free time. (although I'm working on it over Christmas)

http://charmedlabs.com/

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Do you get anything in terms of funding?

It seems doable, even to a non-hardware hacker like myself, but you'd have to invest in a control board, some electric motors... those things might not cost that much in and of themselves, but it adds up and you're but students.

Normally with school assignments like these you get some pointers as to where you could go to get certain elements that you'll probably need to make it happen.

Nope, no funding at all. I have about 3 or 4 R/C cars (with cords) laying around, so those aren't a problem, which is why i would prefer to use one as the base to it all. However, the mini ITX boards and the gumpack sized boards maybe a bit out of my price range for the moment. I recently spent around 400 on a new comp build and find myself quite broke at the moment. Though if anyone has any suggestions as to some way any of my old comp parts could be used in anyway at all that would be a cool idea too.

Also, if any of the suggestions as far as using my old parts goes, I don't mind if the suggestions may mess up my old parts to the point where I cant use them in a computer (Like, ex. soldering things to them).

Sorry to be so picky about everything, (the rules are too strict IMO). As to why they would have the 9.6 volt limit, I have no clue whatsoever. It seemed kinda dumb in my opinion (maybe they think that Seniors in highschool will kill themselves with anything stronger than a 9 volt battery.) Though the suggestion about using both drive trains is helpful, so thanks on that.

Thanks for all your help so far everyone hope to hear more soon. :D

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Science Olympiad, right!?

I did that last year. Mine had four motors, two for driving and sering, one for the arm, the other for the claw, to pop the balloons, we had the "star-o-death." It was a bunch of exacto knife blades glued together. I'll post some pictures if I can find them.

Hey, don't worry. Some teams went there with a "zip-zap" car with a cup. :-)

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Science Olympiad, right!?

I did that last year. Mine had four motors, two for driving and sering, one for the arm, the other for the claw, to pop the balloons, we had the "star-o-death." It was a bunch of exacto knife blades glued together. I'll post some pictures if I can find them.

Hey, don't worry. Some teams went there with a "zip-zap" car with a cup. :-)

:shock: Hah,I seem to have been caught. Well, it is Science Olympiad. (which, I was trying to avoid mentioning lol not knowing if anyone else gets on this site from my school. But, I guess that as long as they don't know who I am it's fine. (teacher that's sponsoring our school's Science Olympiad team is really strict) :D Well, I suppose my cover was blown on that one, but anyway, hope you can get those pics up soon, and also how did you power it?

(btw, how'd you do in the competition)

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We powered it by a 7.2 volt RC batter, we got a good 15-30 minuets of runtime from it, seeing how we were running four motors off of it. Four channels of a seven channel RC receiver drove four speed controllers.

I'll have to find those pics, I have have to get them from my teacher, and it is winter break.

The pics below are from two years ago. We used the same body last year, but I completely redone the wiring, by removing the wire between the controller and bot.

330415937_00908e8cca.jpg

330415934_5f23c0be17_o.jpg

I'll have to find the new pics

The best part about Science Olympiad:

330422212_58f228010b.jpg

doing nothing! :D

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