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$5 Line Follower Fun

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  • And it's working!

    One transistor was installed backwards. While the bot looks like everything is mirror-imaged (the LEDs are), both transistors face the same way.
    San Mateo, CA
  • Perfect! Glad to hear that. Another satisfied customer. :)
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • It's the first time I've assembled a kit with no instructions. Technically, there were instructions, but a blurry photocopy in Chinese doesn't work for me.
    San Mateo, CA
  • It's amazing that these kits have been around for a long time, yet Ebay sellers and Banggood just say "no English instructions". If you surf around, you can find plenty of photos of the finished item. IMO the only tricky part is mounting the phototransistors and illuminating LEDs, since they are just hanging down and need to be almost scraping on the ground. Maintaining alignment is very important for calibration, but these are easily bent (and/or pads broken off) in a collision when they go off course. I think the kit should include a simple front bumper to hang off the front skid bolt.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Erco - No need to cut the trace when you've got an extra socket laying around.
    San Mateo, CA
  • Another way to skin that cat! Did you get it working? Simple circuit mod but the pot adjustment is trickier than stock.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • I didn't need to adjust anything, it just ran better.
    San Mateo, CA
  • Thumbs-up-clipart-cliparts-for-you-3.jpg
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • I enjoyed watching these Russian kids building their line follower kits. They're getting the jump on American kids, who are all dancing!



    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    edited June 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just got my July SERVO print magazine, where I describe several non-programming robots including these $5 line followers in the Ask Mr. Roboto column:

    http://servo.texterity.com/servo/201707/?folio=8&pg=8#pg8

    The article looks good IMO, editor Robin does a great job on the layout and is super easy to work with. Once again, I encourage everyone here to submit an article for print publication. SERVO is a robot magazine, and the only game in town now that ROBOT magazine is gone. Hopefully it will survive and thrive for a while, but there are no guarantees. So right now. WRITE NOW!

    Several forumistas have written for SERVO: Carol Hazlett, Bill Henning, Geo Leeman, Chris Savage, to name a few. It's a nice way to "give back" and get paid to help fund your future projects. Just get in the habit of taking photos and documenting your projects along the way. So much easier than taking your bot apart afterwards to take internal detail photos and trying to remember the tricky parts.

    The editors are wide open to subject matter, most anything of general interest. Tech articles, tutorials, construction tips, combat weapons, product reviews, whatever. Check out the writer's guidelines at http://www.servomagazine.com/index.php/writers-guidelines and get crackin'! Tell 'em Mr. Roboto sent you.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    edited June 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Simple mods allow these $5 line followers to track towards light. Two different implementations shown.



    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    edited April 5 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I just had to be the first kid on the block to have this stealthy line follower jet, even though it costs $10. I'll really soup it up for max speed.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/202273586488

    s-l1600.jpg
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • GordonMcCombGordonMcComb Posts: 3,361
    edited April 5 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Looks like it uses those nice narrow tires. Wish they sold just those (and the gearbox motor). Everyone sells the weakling motors with the fat tires, and those robots have terrible steering problems. The narrow tires are better.
  • What, analog control, no MCU?
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    Where ya been. Heater? LM393. Analog. Old skul.
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Bah, kids and their new fangled op-amps.

  • Aren't the 'tires' just O-rings? There are cheap O-ring kits on Ebay and other places. Of course, that doesn't help with the gearbox and motor supply issue. :)
  • ceptimus wrote: »
    Aren't the 'tires' just O-rings?

    O-rings mounted on a wheel. The wheel has the proper molded double-D shaft hole, for specific use with the gearmotors. These wheels are not nearly as widely available as the wide-track tires normally sold with these motors.

  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    The LFR kits with gearmotor modules use foam tape for assembly. Simple and quick but it just falls off after a month or so, and the sticky mess is hard to clean up and repair. I'm not normally a fan of worm gears, but these alternative kits (same price, as low as $4) work great and will last much longer if properly assembled.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    Uh... strike that, reverse it.

    Free coasting (no binding) may be efficient, but it stops these $4 worm drive LFRs from following the line! Live & learn.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    Down to $3.44 now! How low can they go???!!! Time to build a swarm of line followers!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intelligent-Tracking-Smart-Car-Robot-Kits-with-TT-Motor-Wheel-Electronic/153026637942

    s-l1600.jpg
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    Mini treaded line followers, $5 for one, or $7.50 for two. https://www.ebay.com/itm/112845468455

    Act fast, ad says only 3 items and 3 hours left!

    s-l300.png
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,185
    edited June 10 Vote Up0Vote Down
    These li'l dudes arrived today and work great. They really hug the line and acquire it easily. I was about to make a video, but turns out there are plenty already. Comes with 4 watch batteries installed.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
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