Initial Robot Assembly

Maxwell's initial assembly started Thursday evening. I didn't have much time to work on it - only about an hour - but I wanted to at least begin the process.

Maxwell's base is the Rogue Robotics Rogue Blue 2-level that I purchased from Hobby Engineering in Northern California. It came packaged in a series of sealed plastic bags containing all the parts plus a minimal parts list. A quick inventory of the kit confirmed that everything was there - though I was surprised that the kit didn't contain the battery holder that was shown in the website photo. The holder isn't listed on the kit parts list, so I'm assuming that it has to be obtained separately. Kind of strange since the kit does include both mounting hardware for the non-existent holder and velcro.

In the short term it isn't a big problem since Maxwell will be tethered to my laptop as I get familar with programing him. Hopefully before I'm ready to let him start exploring on his own, I'll have a chance to stop in Akihabara and buy a battery holder.

The biggest problem 'out of the box' was that the Rogue Robot instruction manuals are not included, they just point you to their website with what is supposed to be the right url. Unfortunately their website organization has changed since this particular kit shipped, so the url didn't work at all. It took me a few extra minutes to search their website and determine the correct url.

Once I found the right 'manual' on their site, the assembly went quickly.

Two modified servos act as the wheel motors.

The ground clearance is minimal. There are two teflon buttons mounted at either end of the bottom base with a double sided sticky pad. I'm not particularly happy with this approach, but it will have to do until I have time to re-engineer it. Maxwell is going to be able to run around on a flat surface pretty well, but any bumps or depressions are likely to stop him in his tracks.

The tires appear to be a fairly stiff foam rubber that should provide good traction. The wheel slips easily onto the servo and is held in place by a long screw.

This is a closeup of the wheel surface. Close inspection of the wheel and mount showed the presence of tiny black particles - apparently rubbings from the wheel tires.

Maxwell's 'brain' is the Parallax Board of Education (BOE). The plastic bag it comes in had a detailed sticker covering the jumper selections, power considerations, and other details. Just in case, I took this photo of the sticker before I opened the package.

The back of the BOE board is silk screened with tech support contact information - email and phone; the power switch settings; and a breif ad for the Parallax education courses.

The BOE mounts on top of the base using hardware supplied with the kit.

I still have a lot of work to do before Maxwell starts moving around, but at least he's starting to look like a robot.

Our dog Austin paying close attention to Maxwell's construction. He probably thinks it's something to eat...


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