Christmas, New Year and the i-Sobot

I’ve had a throat infection over Christmas.  I didn’t do as much robotting or programming as I’d hoped I would.

My mother-in-law bought me 123 robotics projects for the evil genius for Christmas and it is a good book of general hints and tips.  It sadly doesn’t have any “follow these step by step instructions” to make a giant robot but each individual project will lead you to better knowledge.  It also has some really good introductions to programming with PIC Basic.

I managed to fiddle with my Arduino so more and wire up a wheely robot with an IR proximity detector.  Unfortunately I didn’t complete it.  The final wiring between the Arduino and the hardware kept coming apart and I managed to set my arduino IDE up to program the wrong hardware and that took me about an hour to spot.  I need to get back to it soon.

Because of this little set back I browsed the web and spotted Amazon selling the i-Sobot for half price (£100).  So I bought one a few days ago and it arrived yesterday.  It is really good for it’s size and does a lot of things that have kept me amused for a couple of hours.  It isn’t possible to hack it easily but I think I’ll try to wire up an IR transmitter to the same frequency as the i-Sobot so I can send it commands from a PC or from a programmable remote.  Programming the i-Sobot remote is a bit fiddly and it is easy to loose what you’ve programmed.

PicKit 2 Debug Express installed and working

Well I thought I’d better try out the PicKit 2.  It is installed, building, programming and working.  I haven’t done anything more than that but one of the demos has given me an idea for a school game.  That is; we have school fairs occasionally and they have the usual buzzer wire type games.  I might build a simple 2×8 LED/Light box with a wheel (connected to Potentiometer).  Basically the game will move a red light left and right, and the player has to turn the wheel to keep a green light in line with the red line.  The speed at which the red light moves can be varied.  I’d probably have to put in a timer too and maybe some sounds like an engine!

Hmm, this project is getting bigger!

PicKit 2 Debug Express

I order a picKit 2 Debug Express from MicroChip a couple of weeks ago. It cost 30p plus postage (£9.99 in all).

I’ve just installed the software but I haven’t got time to try it out.  It’ll be an interesting addition to my Arduino programming efforts and it has an in circuit  debugger which the Arduino doesn’t have.

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