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B9 Robot Construction

Installing the B9 Robot Neon and Audio

I installed the voice speaker today along with an 80 watt audio amplifier. I plan on using one of the stereo channels for the voice and the other for the mechanical sounds. I connected a portable CD player and popped in an audio CD I wrote with some assorted robot sayings. It was pretty neat hearing the robots voice coming out of my torso.


Started wiring up the neon and all the associated parts. I've put this off as long as I can. Being made of glass and fragile, I didn't want to break it by playing with it. I'm attaching the neon transformer and the music interface to the back side of the neon backplate. The neon is mounted to the front side. I want to keep the high voltage wires as short as possible.


I am wiring one of the switches on the programming unit panel (behind the front lower vents) to the neon transformer. It will allow me to switch between "Voice Activated" neon and "Always On" neon. The "Always On" mode is good for taking photographs as it is hard to time a picture to when the neon is lit. This was suggested by another B9 builder and seems like a good idea. Another of the switches in the programming unit will be the switch that turns on the torso rotations and bubble motor controller power.


Reminiscent of a scene from Lost in Space, I had my robot spread out on a table (pool table that is) while I wired up the neon. I didn't have the pleasure of either Jonathan Harris or Warren Oats to assist me though.


I'm not completely happy with the alignment of my neon. It is a two piece neon and the front piece sits a little low and creates a gap at the bend. Also, the top section seems to sit too far forward. I'll need to do some adjusting after its Halloween debut. For now it will have to do.


Building the B9 Robot Knees

These are my knees. They are made of wood with a routed edge. I purchased the plans for the lower section of the robot from Bermuda Triangle Engineering. I deviated from the plans and went with the "stepped" look, where the center rib is the widest and they step smaller as they go up/down. I believe this is the way the real robot was.


The plans say to coat them by hand with rubberized auto undercoating. I found it very difficult to spread the coating on the knees. Even after sanding I could not get a smooth surface. I decided to spray the coating directly on the knees and go with the slightly textured natural look. I really like how they turned out as they have more of a rubbery look and feel.


Here's the rubber undercoating I used for the knees. I got it at the auto parts store.


Here are the different parts of the hinge. The main part of the hinge is styrene plastic. The center is cut from a 1 inch PVC rod. The two washers are actually machine shims. In order to get a washer with such a large opening and thickness, I had to order machine "Arbor Shims" from McMaster-Carr.


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Building the B9 Robot Tread Section

My tread section is made of poplar plywood. I chose poplar over pine because it is a much harder wood and is less likely to warp. I purchased the plans for the Tread Section from Bermuda Triangle Engineering.


I plan on covering the surface of the wood with styrene plastic.


I cut out the soil sampler door opening and cut a 1/4 in. thick styrene plastic door. I drilled a hole in both sides of the door near the top. I inserted a 4d finishing nail into each hole. These will act as the hinge. I then cut off the heads of the nails.


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B9 Robot Internal Electronics - Part 1

I've had several requests to explain more about the internal electronics I've used inside my B9. I'll try to add additional information on this page. As I create each schematic, I'll add them here. I am drawing the schematics up "after-the-fact" as I was making this all up as I went along, and everything was hand drawn. There are several free schematic programs out there that you can use to create your schematics. One of them is called PCBWeb. It's a free CAD application for designing and manufacturing electronics hardware.


Here's the Infrared Interface Board schematic. I believe it's complete. This board takes the signal from the IR Remote Control (via the IR Repeater board) and decodes it into 14 different I/O lines. The file is in a PDF format. You have to click on image to see the whole schematic. More info on the entire Remote control system Interface is on my Remote Control page.


Here is the entire soil sampler circuit. It shows the up and down switches as well as the interface to the H-Bridge which controls the shaft extending motor. The file is in a PDF format. You have to click on image to see the whole schematic. If anyone is interested in the Basic Stamp code, I could share that as well


Oopic II Micro controller - The OOPic II is an Object Oriented Programmable Integrated Circuit. Created by Savage Innovations, this PIC microcontroller comes with an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software that supports programming in syntaxes based on the BASIC, Java and C programming languages. The Oopic II is a forerunner to the Arduino and one of the earlier entries in the affordable hobbyist micro-controller arena.


Basic Stamp Microcontroller - This is what I am using to control my soil sampler. It is programmable in the BASIC language and has 8 I/O ports. IT is quite capable of controlling a single process like my soil sampler. It has limited capabilities when it comes to PWM, but it manages to do the job.


Dual PWM Driver for OOPicâ„¢ by Magnevation - I use both sides of the dual motor controller in my B9. One side controls the torso rotation motor and the other controls the bubble lift motor.


This is the Infrared Interface chip I'm using. I purchased it from Reynolds Electronics. They have a great "Remote Control Store" with all kinds of IR interface components.

The chip gives me 14 separate remotely controllable addresses. I can use the remote control to turn on and off each one independently. I will have control over 14 different features on my robot. Already, I have 4 addresses taken up by the Chest Light controller and 1 used to active the Soil Sampler. Others will include the Torso movement routines and maybe the brain and radar movement.


Read more: B9 Robot Internal Electronics - Part 1

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