OCTOBER 2015


MODULE 1 - BUILD THE P1X8 MICROCONTROLLER ROBOT


The RobotScience project offers training as a MODULE that consists of LEARNING UNITS.

A RobotScience TRAINING MODULE consists of ten LEARNING UNITS.

RobotScience offers many TRAINING MODULEs from novice to advanced, across a wide range of skills from basic robotics to advanced robotics, industrial control systems and renewable energy.

Due to the challenging nature of our training, and the use of hot soldering irons where small kids somehow always end up burning themselves in spite of our many warnings to be careful, the minimum requirement is that you have to be a teenager to enrol in our training.

For a training module to be economically viable we require a group of ten trainees, we do offer robotics classes for adults when we have a group of ten trainees.

The first training module with RobotScience is where you build the P1X8 robotics microcontroller board.

You solder electronic parts onto an printed circuit board, then you test the board.

You then learn how to download programs from your PC to the robotics microcontroller board to control stuff.

The controller board is built onto a small robot chassis, then you learn how to control the robot.

The desktop robot is first programmed with graphics and then BASIC computer text code which opens the doors to other professional industry standard programming languages like C and Java, etc.

Our first module is an introduction to digital electronics and control systems, by learning to control a robot to navigate through a maze and make its own decisions based on inputs you have made a start into the amazing world of electronics and robotics.




Within just a few years of completing our training, RobotScience teenagers have won robotics competitions and invented incredible stuff with these skills.

Each module consists of practical training sessions, as well as assignments and challenges that trainees must complete in their own time.

Watch some of the videos on this page to see our exciting our training.

We have more than 300 videos that have been watched more than 200,000 times here:

www.youtube.com/mikerobotscience




    The BUILD P1X8 module consists of ten LEARNING UNITS that are supported with texts that trainees are required to read.

    In many instances we also have videos that help trainees understand the content of a learning unit.

    We test our trainees to ensure they are learning, questions are based on the following Parallax training guide and reference text: "Robotics with the Boe-Bot" Chapter 1 - Chapter 5.

    Trainess are required to produce their own notes from the reference texts, and perform demonstrations that demonstrate competence in the practical exercises at the end of each chapter of the Parallax textbooks and reference texts and complete multiple choice tests.



    LEARNING UNIT ONE: HOW DO ROBOTS WORK?



    Human heartbeats and robot digital pulses
    square waves and pulse trains

    What is a microcontroller?
    billions of microscopic electronic switches

    How are microcontrollers programmed?
    using graphics to get you through the maze

    What are microcontrollers used for?
    a common control system you use every day

    How are microcontrollers programmed?
    using text code to get you through the maze


    VIDEO: Control servo motors with BASIC text code
    What digital signals drive a robotics rotation servo?
    1.4ms ... 1.5ms ... 1.6ms ...
    PULSOUT 1 equals 2 microseconds
    fwd: 700 stop: 750 rev: 800
    etc
    EXERCISE: Control the robot
    CHALLENGE: How far can you get through the MAZE?

    REVIEW: Read and summmarise Chapter 4 of Parallax: Robotics with the Boe-Bot

    This chapter gives you more detailed information about how to control movements of your P1X8 which uses the DIP Basic Stamp 2. We call this chip the P1X8 because it is a single eight bit microcontroller. Parallax also has the P8X32 microcontroller which is an eight core chip each core is 32 bits which means it is very powerful. Once you know how to program the P1X8 the P8X32 is easier to learn. We don't start with the P8X32 because you first have to learn P1X8 ...


    PREPARATION for LEARNING UNIT FOUR: Read Chapter 5 of Parallax: Robotics with the Boe-Bot

    This chapter teaches you how to write a program that drives the P1X8 around while checking insect whisker sensors for obstacles. When the robot touches up against something it will back away a little, then turn and start moving forward again.






    LEARNING UNIT TWO: ELECTRONICS PROTOTYPING ON BREADBOARD


    In this session we learn about how to build a practical small circuit on a breadboard.
    Using a single transistor as a switch we see how a photo-sensitive device can switch the lights on when it gets dark, and switch the lights of when it gets light.

    This can be used as an energy-saving device to keep the lights off in the day, or as a security feature to keep the lights on at night when criminals are prowling.

    In this class we are going to learn a whole lot of useful stuff that we are going to need in the rest of these classes, as well as while we study towards a degree in engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

    TOPICS:

    What is a switch?
    What is an electronic switch?
    What is a transistor?
    Collector, base, emitter
    Source, gate, drain
    Datasheet of transistor

    Study the schematic and the physical diagram.

    Redraw the schematic and physical into workbook then build onto breadboard.





    LEARNING UNIT THREE: HOW DOES A ROBOT REACT TO PLEASURE AND PAIN?



    What does independent mean in robotics?
    dead reckoning, tele-operation and decision making

    Why are insects equipped with whiskers?


    VIDEO: A pleasure and pain robot with BASIC text code
    pull up and pull down input circuits
    conditional statements
    subroutines
    how to wire the breadboard

    EXERCISE: Touch the robot
    CHALLENGE: Can this help you get through the MAZE?


    How does a switch work?
    a closed circuit is on and open circuit is off

    What's happening inside the P1X8 processor?
    uncertain states and path of least resistance

    How does P1X8 check inputs?
    explain the IN command and binary states

    What is a conditional statement?
    IF this ELSE that ...

    What does the simplest sensor look like?
    build a switch on P14 to control LED on P15

    How do we set up whisker sensors?
    explain C and NO and NC connectors

    How do we strap P5 and P7 inputs to high?
    explain the 10 kilo Ohm resistor

    How can we avoid typing out repeating code?
    sub-routines instead of repetition






    LEARNING UNIT FOUR: HOW TO SOLDER A SMALL ELECTRONIC CIRCUIT


    Soldering rules - how to prevent getting burnt
    What does a good solder joint look like
    What does a bad solder joint look like
    Solder resistors on a board
    Solder the transistor light switch circuit from Session 2

    TASK: Draw the physical layout diagram into your workbook


    CHALLENGE: Build the transistor LED light switch onto a piece of prototyping stripboard






    PROGRESS CHECK: DEMONSTRATION OF COMPETENCE


    Demonstrate the ability to complete a challege that combines dead reckoning and touch sensing.



    PROGRESS CHECK: QUALITY OF SOLDERING


    Demonstrate the ability to perform quality soldering before progressing to P1X8 controller board.







    LEARNING UNIT FIVE: ASSEMBLE THE P1X8 CONTROLLER MOTHERBOARD

    Resistors onto motherboard
    Transistors onto motherboard
    SIP strips onto motherboard
    Regulator
    capacitor
    RS232 header
    Breadboard






    LEARNING UNIT SIX: TEST THE P1X8 MOTHERBOARD

    How does a multimeter work?
    Test points worksheet
    Chips onto board
    Serial communications test
    Test each IO channel with LED

    How to wire up the LED on the breadboard

    Back to BASICs
    What do the following mean? HIGH/ON/5v/1/ONE ... LOW/OFF/0v/0/ZERO

    Why use PAUSE and what does it mean?
    PAUSE 500 extends your command by half a second

    How can we control a light emitting diode or LED?
    Write code and download to P1X8 to flash LED on P0-P15







    LEARNING UNIT SEVEN: BUILD THE ROBOT CHASSIS

    Mechanics is taught through the assembly of a lightweight chassis using guideline consisting of photographs, etc.
    Mounting servo motors
    drive your own robot through the maze






    LEARNING UNIT EIGHT: A ROBOT WITH WHISKERS

    Input monitoring and P1X8 decision making
    Insect whiskers - the breadboard circuit
    Insect whiskers - the text code






    LEARNING UNIT NINE: A ROBOT WITH SMART WHISKERS

    Basic Artificial intelligence
    AI whisker program in BASIC
    Variables as a whisker touch store function
    Getting P1X8 out of corners and mobile






    LEARNING UNIT TEN: WHERE CAN I GO NEXT WITH ROBOTICS?

    Where can I find the documentation?
    Do I want to be an engineer?
    What have I not completely understood?
    Have I demonstrated the required competence and skills?
    Have I filed my notes and MC test?
    Do I want to participate in the AfrikaBot maze competition?










    WATCH our FREE fast time lapse VIDEO:

    Watch hours and hours of training in just a few minutes!!!





    Narrated normal length VIDEOs:

    P1X8 motherboard assembly:














    P1X8 mechanical chassis assembly:








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