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New ( offline )
Posts: 2
Posted: 2015-08-13 01:45 
 Post subject: Hello
Intro
Sorry if this is in the wrong section, I just found this site and signed up.

Ahem. Anyway, My name is Seth and I am currently going into my second year of college. I have decided to get into robotics and will keep pressing into it no matter what.

I have always been interested in robotics, but never got into it and now I feel the time has come that I push for it.
I know next to nothing about robotics, electronics, and programming so please when responding to me keep this in mind that I am literally a blank slate/idiot when it comes to any of this stuff.

Question #1

To give you all an idea of my current status, I just bought 2 books ( Make: Electronics, and Robot Builder's Bonanza Fourth Edition) as they seemed the best options available on amazon. From the little research I've done it seems that my best bet is to start learning electronics and then move onto the actual robotics and finally programming.
If this seems the correct order please let me know as this is a huge concern for me, so I guess you can consider this my Question #1.


I am currently attending a community college to get my prerequisites done and unfortunately they have neither a Programming class, nor a robotics or even electronics class, which is why I am forced to teach myself for this last year before I transfer to a State University which DOES have those classes.

Question #2

So far I just received my books and started reading the Make: Electronics. In order to do all the experiments and learning I need to get myself a set of tools, and components for future use. Unfortunately, there are no stores near me that sell anything of this type. I will either have to buy the stuff online (IE: RobotShop.com) or drive to a city that is not to far away but far enough that I would consider buying online. The Store in the other city is Radio Shack which I am told has everything I need.
I would just appreciate any input as to how you experienced veteran robotic hobbyist acquire your parts and materials?


[CENTER]Question #3

[LEFT]Well for this question I guess I would just like some reassurance. Am I doing this right? Is this how you are supposed to learn robotics? I just buy these books and read about it? It's the best I could come up with, but I seriously wish there was a class I could take on such a topic. How do you guys usually recommend newcomers learn about the world of robotics?


Question #4
[LEFT]
I know I am asking a lot of questions, but can you blame me? Robotics is such a large and diverse field. It's very intimidating upon first look and I hope that with the help of all you people I can find my way into it.
As far as programming goes, I have gotten mixed responses. I have basically been recommended either LISP or C++ and I honestly can't decide. Which would be better for robotics? I understand that LISP is more beneficial when it comes to AI which is or will be a very important part of robotics which kinda has me leaning towards it. However, C++ is so diverse and widely used that it certainly seems like a good choice as well. Any input/advice here would be great.


Well that's all that I can think of for now. My brain hurts, and my eyes are burning from all the computer staring I've been doing today. I hope at least someone will be able to read through my questions and answer them for me. It would mean a lot to a newbie in robotics. I appreciate any and all responses and again my apologies if this is in the wrong section. I couldn't think of a more appropriate place then here.


EDIT:

Been reading the book, It says I need

Potentiometers:
Panel-Mount, single-turn, 2k linear, 0.1 Watt Minimum.
I found these on robotshop.com
http://www.robotshop.com/en/50v-20k-ohm ... ifications
But I can't find anything about it other then the 0.1 watt and 2k, what is the panel-mount, single-turn for? Could someone explain this to me?


[/CENTER][/LEFT][/CENTER][/LEFT][/CENTER]


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Posts: 6939
Posted: 2015-08-13 09:37 
 Post subject: Re: Hello
Quote:
Q1) To give you all an idea of my current status, I just bought 2 books ( Make: Electronics, and Robot Builder's Bonanza Fourth Edition) as they seemed the best options available on amazon. From the little research I've done it seems that my best bet is to start learning electronics and then move onto the actual robotics and finally programming. If this seems the correct order please let me know as this is a huge concern for me, so I guess you can consider this my Question #1.

You might want to read through Robot Builder's Bonanza first as it goes into mode explanation of components and functionality.

Quote:
Q2) So far I just received my books and started reading the Make: Electronics. In order to do all the experiments and learning I need to get myself a set of tools, and components for future use. Unfortunately, there are no stores near me that sell anything of this type. I will either have to buy the stuff online (IE: RobotShop.com) or drive to a city that is not to far away but far enough that I would consider buying online. The Store in the other city is Radio Shack which I am told has everything I need.
I would just appreciate any input as to how you experienced veteran robotic hobbyist acquire your parts and materials?

Different people have different experiences and approaches. Many start out with a project, and once complete, part it out for the next one, gradually building up a collection of spare parts.
Purchasing online is incredibly commonplace these days, and stores like RadioShack are slowly eliminating their components section as they cater to a specific hobbyist market and are generally low profit.

Quote:
Q3) Well for this question I guess I would just like some reassurance. Am I doing this right? Is this how you are supposed to learn robotics? I just buy these books and read about it? It's the best I could come up with, but I seriously wish there was a class I could take on such a topic. How do you guys usually recommend newcomers learn about the world of robotics?
How do you learn best - a formal education or more "get your hands dirty"? Kits are a great start and have an element of both DIY and learning.

Ex: http://www.robotshop.com/en/d3-educatio ... RB-Dfr-239 (less focus on electrical connections and more coding to use inputs and outputs
Ex: http://www.robotshop.com/en/seeedstudio ... RB-See-225 (more focus on electrical connections and understanding)
Many people end up enjoying one aspect about robotics more than others, be it mechanical, electrical or programming.

Quote:
Q4) I know I am asking a lot of questions, but can you blame me? Robotics is such a large and diverse field. It's very intimidating upon first look and I hope that with the help of all you people I can find my way into it.
As far as programming goes, I have gotten mixed responses. I have basically been recommended either LISP or C++ and I honestly can't decide. Which would be better for robotics? I understand that LISP is more beneficial when it comes to AI which is or will be a very important part of robotics which kinda has me leaning towards it. However, C++ is so diverse and widely used that it certainly seems like a good choice as well. Any input/advice here would be great.
Start with Arduino - it's based largely on C, and easier to start with. From there, Python, C++ or Java.

_________________
Coleman Benson

RobotShop inc.
Putting Robotics at your service!™
www.robotshop.com

Lynxmotion
Imagine it. Build it. Control it.™
http://www.Lynxmotion.com


New ( offline )
Posts: 1
Posted: 2015-08-13 13:49 
 Post subject: Re: Hello
Hello Seth

Congratulations on starting your robotics adventure!

For your first question, it depends what you like to do best. Robotics is combination of mechanics, electronics, and programming (as you know). The best way to get started is pick which one of those three most interest you, and then move on from there. If you like mechanics best, you can start by making some contraptions (like a crane, or a steering mechanism) and implementing basic electronics to move them. If you like electronics best, you can start by learning soldering, and making basic circuits. You can then move on to creating your own microcontrollers, and moving more into programming. If you like programming best, you can start with an Arduino, and program some basic electronic circuits.

Buying stuff online is good for getting started. Most local places have big markups, so you'll be spending a lot extra. When you order 1 or two parts, it may be more beneficial to get stuff from local places so you don't need to pay for shipping (and don't need to wait for it to arrive), but when you do a big first order it's good to get it online. Most places have a "free shipping" limit, where if you spend more then X amount of dollars you get free shipping.

I got started from the mechanical side of robotics. I was big into metalshop in highschool, then started learning some basic electronics. After highschool I continued learning electronics, and started getting into Arduinos. Then I did the Mechatronics and Robotics course in post secondary, and that taught me everything I'd started learning by myself, but way more indepth. Exploring everything is a great way to learn, the best way is to pick a project and work towards that. Then you have a tangible goal for your learning outcome, rather then just making stand alone circuits or programs.

No, we can't blame you. I think C is the best language to start with. Arduino uses a modified version of C, with extra functions to make it a bit more user friendly. C is a good middle level language, so that you have a large amount of control, but is still user friendly. Once you know C, it easily expands into C++ and C sharp, and then you can continue into higher level languages like Java or Python, or drop to lower level languages like assembly if you like the embedded systems aspect of robotics.

As for your PS question, the Panel mount, single turn speaks more about the physical characteristics of the potentiometer. As long as you have the same power rating and ohm rating, it will act the same in programming.

Good luck on your robotics adventure!


New ( offline )
Posts: 2
Posted: 2015-08-13 16:52 
 Post subject: Re: Hello
Ok well I just ordered a whole bunch of parts and components from Amazon and RobotShop. Spent about $260 total but I was expecting a bit of an investment since I am starting from NOTHING. I don't even have any pliers, wire cutters, or a multimeter and I did order lots of parts that should keep me supplied for a good while.

I've decided to start with the robotics/Electronics parts as I am also going to college over full time (23 units for the next 2 semesters) but I know I will have free time on which to spend with my robotics projects and I want to start as soon as possible.

Going off of the information you guys provided and I will be reading both the Robot Builders Bonanza and Make: Electronics at about the same pace. I think that they go well together and while I am learning the basics of robotics through RBB I will be able to get a more indepth understanding of the electronics side through Make and its experiments.

I guess Amazon and RobotShop have everything I need for my robotics experiments. I miss the days where I could walk into a store and find this stuff as that seems to be half the fun but in this day and age everything electronic and I can deal with that.

Well after I finish up with these two books I will post back here and find out what I should do next (if I haven't decided already).

One thing that has been on my mind since the beginning: When I think of robotics I think of those movies where kids at a young age are messing around with little robotic toys. The camera focuses on the kid in his/her bedroom playing with some components while the ground is littered with little robots put together scampering about and I guess this brings me to the question: Is it ever too late to get into something like this? All the literature and movies I see indirectly point to the fact that robotics is something your supposed to be fascinated with and hooked on since a young age in order to be good with it. Regardless I am going to try, and I am going to make it, this doesn't change anything. It's just an interesting stereotype that I noticed.


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Admin ( offline )
Posts: 6939
Posted: 2015-08-14 08:50 
 Post subject: Re: Hello
Quote:
Is it ever too late to get into something like this?

Yes, after age three if you have not built your first life-sized sentient killer robot, you likely never will.

Honestly no, unless you're in a field like professional sports, it's never too late to learn something new, even to the point where you become an expert and excel far beyond others who started it far earlier than you did.

_________________
Coleman Benson

RobotShop inc.
Putting Robotics at your service!™
www.robotshop.com

Lynxmotion
Imagine it. Build it. Control it.™
http://www.Lynxmotion.com


 

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