This article is a follow-up to the RobotShop Grand Tutorial Series and includes all the hardware chosen in the “Practical Example” at the bottom of each lesson. The RobotShop Rover for Arduino is a small tracked platform designed around the popular Arduino USB microcontroller.
The first product that one might look for after having received the package is the frame. The RobotShop Rover for Arduino aluminum frame (RB-Rbo-11) is powder coated a deep blue and comes with a variety of different mounting hardware used to complete the kit. Aside from standard washers, nuts, and rivets, the hardware also includes a 9V battery clip and leads. On its own, the RobotShop Rover for Arduino frame doesn’t do much, so in order to make a functional tracked mobile robot, you would additional parts.
There are two Solarbotics GM9 gear motors included with the kit capable of up to 66rpm and a maximum of 3kg-cm of torque. These are not the fastest of motors but do allow the robot to carry additional payload. The Standard GM Track Kit includes all the links and pins you need to make two tracks, as well as two drive sprockets and two idler sprockets. To hold the idler sprockets in place, the kit comes with two Shoulder Bolts with matching washer and nut. Next a standard AA battery holder holds four AA batteries which power the drive motors and servos.
All the parts listed so far are included with the RobotShop Rover for Arduino Tank Kit (RB-Rbo-13). The RobotShop Rover Tank Kit is ideal if you already have your own Arduino microcontroller or want to use your own parts to complete the robot. In order to make a fully functional robot however, you need additional electronics, starting with a microcontroller.
The Arduino USB Microcontroller is essentially the brain of the RobotShop Rover and includes an ATMega328 processor already installed. To connect the board to your computer, the RobotShop Rover Complete Kit comes with a 6 foot USB cable.
The Arduino board can’t produce a high current, which is why a 5 Amp Low Voltage Dual Serial Motor Controller (RB-Pol-16) is included to power both drive motors. You may notice the pin headers are not soldered onto the board – this allows you to mount it horizontally or vertically, or even solder wires directly to the controller.
At this point you have all the essential parts you need to make a mobile robot, but you may find connections are not easy. To help you easily connect electronics and wires, the kit includes three mini solderless breadboards, a pre-formed jumper wire kit and 25 feet of 22 gauge hook-up wire. The extra wire is used mainly to connect the motors. There are also two mini power switches included whose pins are spaced perfectly for breadboards.
One very attractive aspect to the RobotShop Rover for Arduino is that there is a slot at the front for a standard sized servo. The RobotShop Rover Complete Kit therefore includes a Lynxmotion pan and tilt system with two Hitec HS-422 servo motors. If you have only received the Tank Kit, you are free to add a Hitec HS-422 servo to create a pan system. To complete the kit, the popular Sharp GP2D120 infrared range sensor and associated Sharp IR cable are included to give the robot feedback about its environment.