(Do It Yourself) The Starting Line : Making a Differential Drive

In the first issue of the new session, we dedicate a special section to all the new entrants into the robotics bandwagon as we race into what will be another glorious year of robotic achievement. The starting point is fairly basic : Build a manual robot which moves forward, backward, left and right according to your instruction. So, here’s what you need:

Chassis : To use your base to make bots for manual robotics events later use 4 Wheels, 4 DC Motors, Wooden Base. If you just want a bot that can move around on plain ground, the quickest option is to break open two toy cars and use the motors along with the wheels attached)

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Power Supply : Your motors need a 12 V DC supply to run. If you are into soldering circuits yourself, you might want to make your own rectifier circuit (think back to your XIIth standard Physics textbook-Bridge Rectifier). Add an IC 7812 across the rectified output to get a stable 12 V input into your motors. Or else, just get an adaptor which gives a 12V DC output or a set of batteries.

Heres how to make a rectifier on a Breadboard:

Control Box : This puts you in complete control of the bot. You need two switches for two motors. Now you could choose to use two three-way switches with forward, backward and stop conditions for each motor or 2 two-way switches in combination with push button switches that control the On-Off condition.

Usually, for an autonomous robot, the front wheels are replaced by a castor wheel while the two back wheels are connected to motors.

Now that you know all the steps, follow the schematic for guidance and build yourself your first robot!