Need help starting College-level design project
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Need help starting College-level design project

by johnnyboy on Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:11 pm

I'm an engineering professor and want to modify our Engineering Design freshman course to include a microcontroller-based design project in the coming semester. We have traditionally utilized a design project which is strictly "mechanical" in nature.

My desire is to develop a project using the Arduino microcontroller to control a robotic car to follow a black-tape track which I will place on the floor. This is nothing new, since I have seen videos on this site which do exactly that. My class consists of four student teams who must each develop their own robotic car. I need help with the parts my college will have to buy to support this new design project. We wil loan out the needed parts to each team.
Here is what I have come up with so far (by looking over the Adafruit site):
- 4 Arduino experimentation kits
- 4 motor/stepper/servo shields
- 4 drive motors (they will need to have some kind of gearbox to reduce output rpm)
- 4 servos to drive a steering mechanism
- 12 (or possibly more) optical sensors or photocells to detect black tape on the floor
- 4 power transistors
- a large pack of resistors, capacitors, diodes, microswitches, pots etc.
- 4 battery cases
- 4 stepper motors (may be needed, if servos can't do the job)
- small reed relays???

Can you provide recommendations on what to buy? Do I have too much listed or am I missing some things? My school's budget is limted since it is a Community College with limited funds.
Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:13 pm

Re: Need help starting College-level design project

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:38 pm

There are many ways to design a robot drive system. One of the simplest (and lowest cost) ways is to use a differential steering system. This can be done with 2 continuous rotation servos as drive motors. You steer by varying the speed of the right vs. left motor.

Also, line following can be done with a single light sensor. Actually it can be more accurately described as edge following, but it is an easy way to teach the concept of proportional control. The basic single sensor system can be expanded to multiple light sensors to make a more robust system. But if cost is a concern, a single sensor will work.

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Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:11 am

Re: Need help starting College-level design project

by adamstuart07 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:47 am


You have to spend many on some basic things like
microSD module and other basic curcit ....
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:57 am

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.