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I'm an IT engineer with an interest in home brew wifi. I've always wanted to build a wifi robot but I am utterly lost when it comes to robotics so I wonder if any of you guys could point me in the right direction for a good starting point.

My initial needs are pretty simple, I want to drive a couple of motors off my PC, I want to build a basic PC controlled car with a moveable camera. The PC side is simple enough, I've a fair amount of experience with ITX boxes and would run this all from a standard VIA Mini-ITX board running Linux or Windows at a push. What I am stuck on is the robotics controller... and I mean totally stuck.

Can anyone recommend a cheap / half decent controller board, something to drive 4 wheels and a cam? I am no developer, so I really need one that comes with the drivers and software bundled.

Many thanks :)


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It was by White robots and was the whole deal. Case, motors, camera. Looks like heathkit bought them out.

Problem with a PC chassis is good computing power. Poor I/O and power consumption.


New Member
Well the power is obviously an issue and I'll go with a car battery - this adds weight, but that's not a major concern at this stage. As for computing power, I reckon an 800MHz, 1GB RAM system running a cutdown version slackware will handle the software easily enough, though I may opt for a gumstix job instead. The ITX box consumes about 15W, the motors and USB devices will obviously chew up a fair bit more, but I should be able to get a good few hours out of a decent car battery. Might even hook up a solar trickle charger for it.

The chassis I will make myself.

What I need is just a decent USB robot interface card capable of driving 5 motors, the rest I can handle. I've looked at a few online, bought one, blown it up and am really wondering if anyone else has any direct experience. It's fairly elementary stuff I would have thought?


Does it really need to be USB ? because thats going to be difficult and costly. Just easy to use a computer with a parallel port instead and build a h-bridge yourself.
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