Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Howto: Controlling Solenoids, Pumps and More From Your Arduino

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Recently, we added Solenoids and Water Pumps to our catalog. These devices are extremely useful so they have a huge variety of project applications.

One question that comes up a lot is, ‘How do I control these devices with my Arduino?” Well in this quick video tutorial, we’ll show you how to use a basic relay to easily control your pump, solenoid or motor! Once you’ve got the basics of controlling these devices down, you can move on to making bigger, better and cooler projects!

Download the sample code and diagram here

Dynamixel Controllers Overview

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Andrew discusses the different options available for controlling Dynamixel servos. Sexily.

Here is where to find the Dynamixel Controllers.

And here is where to find the Dynamixel Servos.

That concludes this blog post. Cake will be served in the lunch room now.

Analog to PWM with Arduino

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Another introductory video tutorial.

Andrew demonstrates using an arduino to convert analog input into a PWM output.

Which Dynamixels to use? An overview on size and strength.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Apologies for the empty post Friday.  I pulled it down. Or tried to anyway. Apparently posting a blog is more permanent than building pyramids. Video format converting sucks. It sucks worse than the worst sucky thing you can think of. Now that the audio isn’t 15 minutes off by the end of the video here you go :)


It is late Friday night so I don’t have anything really funny to intro this video with. I can’t be funny all the time for you people anyway. I’m not some kind of dancing clown. I have feelings too. So I’m just going to give it to you straight and you are just going to have to cope. Maybe I’ll come back and post after a few drinks. On second thought, that would be bad. I’ll be hiding my keyboard and mouse in the freezer now to avoid any mishaps. Someone text me in the morning where they are because I’m sure I’ll forget.

A New Informative Video! Yay. Andrew goes over the full line of Robotis Bioloid and Dynamixel servos. This video should help people understand the general strength and speed of each model to help make design decisions.

Products Shown in this video:
Full line of Bioloid and Dynamixel Servos
Robotis Humanoid Robots

Switches! We got all kinds of switches here!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

This is an introductory video of sorts. We are just going over some of the many different types of switch options that are out there. If you are a beginner new to Arduino projects or even if you are old school, you may find some new info in here about ways to detect wild animals, urban predators, office thieves, stalking lovers, escaping robots, stray zombies, skitters, elves, gremlins, or any thing else that may be roaming around the house.

Here are some great places to find unique switches for hobby projects:

Products shown in this video:

Seeeduino V2.2 (Atmega 168P)
Electronic Brick Shield V4
Harness for Arduino or Seeeduino Mega kit

Further Information on basic Arduino Programming:

Robot servos, how do they work?!?!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

We thought it might be helpful for some of those new to robotics to learn about the difference between old school hobby servos and the newer robot servos. So Andrew breaks it down for everyone in this aptly titled video “Differences Between Robot Servos & Old School Hobby Servos”.

Enjoy :)

Solid Bioloid Walking Gait Tutorial

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Our friend RobertLam18 put together a very straight forward explanation of how he develops custom walking gaits on his modified Bioloid Premium Kit. I had the pleasure of meeting him in South Korea earlier this year for the Korean Robot Games Festival and his tricked out Bioloid was certainly impressive! The same basic principles here apply to most humanoid configurations and it’s nice to see a step by step process put together and the results it produces. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in developing your own walking gaits!

Inverse Kinematics for Dummies!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

And… we’re back from our vacations during the holidays and hope that all of you had a great 2009!

Inverse Kinematics can be a scary thing to the robot hobby novice. There is a lot of trig involved, and if you’ve learned anything from reading this blog you’ll know that being Norwegian apparently makes it a lot easier to grasp.

Mike Ferguson of Vanadium Labs has just released NUKE (Nearly Universal Kinematics Engine) in Beta form, which is a comprehensive and easy to use IK system built around the arbotiX Robocontroller. To make things even easier, he’s created a step by step tutorial on how to implement NUKE on your arbotiX based robot.

The Nearly Universal Kinematics Engine (NUKE) is finally out in a first beta. NUKE is a PyPose tool that allows users to setup an IK/Gait engine for their ArbotiX-powered bot, regardless of the size, servo orientation, etc (as long as it fits within an available template). Right now our templates only support 3DOF Lizard-legged 4 and 6 leg robots, however 3DOF Mammal-style leg support isn’t far off, and low DOF Biped support is in the works. This is the same system that powered Issy, Roz, and Jeff to take the top 3 spots at CNRG’s Walker Challenge. It takes about 20-30 minutes to setup your bot once you get the hang of what’s going on. The output is fairly straight forward to expand/alter. It’s mostly been running on Quads, I’ve yet to fully test it on Hexapods (first person to post a video of NUKE powering a hexapod gets a cookie at Robogames..)

NUKE is written in Python, and it exports a C/C++ Arduino project that runs on the ArbotiX. NUKE can be downloaded from our Google code site: Documentation is also on that site. We also have a google group for support (it’s very new, hence the low traffic) .

Tutorial Contest Winners Announced!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
In March we announced that our contest would go in a different direction this time and with even bigger prizes:
This round is going to be a Tutorial Contest , and is quite a bit different from our previous contests. Think of it as an ‘Instructables meets How Stuff Works’ style contest: We want you to submit entries in the form of a detailed step by step ‘How-To’ or Informative Tutorials.
We had a good amount of solid entries in our first Tutorial Contest so picking our winners was a not an easy ordeal. Our entries covered many different topics, from electrical and soldering basics to more advanced robotics navigation tutorials. We highly suggest that you take a look at our Tutorials Section, there is a lot to be learned and if you have knowledge to share we highly encourage it.
Without further ado, here are our winners!

3rd Place goes to Jes1510!

Jes1510 submitted some ‘back to the basics’ tutorials which were well documented, easy to read through, and really helpful for the beginning robot hobbyist! He’ll be walking away with an Ollo Bug Kit!

2nd Place goes to Pi Robot!

Pi Robot amazed us with two extremely detailed, professional tutorials that cover some very advanced robotics applications by breaking it down into more digestible bite sized pieces. Both are excellent pieces of literature, definitely worth a read through! Pi Robot will be walking away with a Bioloid Beginner Kit for his contributions!

1st Place goes to lnxfergy!

lnxfergy was determined to win 1st prize! He submitted awesome tutorial after awesome tutorial covering some pretty major aspects of robotics. All of these tutorials are very helpful for beginners and even more advanced builders can take something from them. From practical navigation systems to controlling AX-12 servos, lnxfergy demonstrated an amazing grasp of current hobby robotics technology, and was kind enough to share that knowledge with us. For his massive effort, he will be awarded with a Bioloid Comprehensive Kit!
We want to thank everyone involved with our first Tutorial Contest! Determining the winners was not easy, as there were many great tutorials to browse through. Again, we highly recommend you check out our Tutorials section, as there is a lot to be learned! Stay tuned for an announcement on our next round of contests!

Want to win a Bioloid? Announcing the TRC Tutorial Contest!

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Time flies! It’s that time again to officially announce the next round of the Trossen Robotics Community (TRC) Contest. We had quite a bit of success with our previous Project Contests and a lot of very cool entries, however we are going to mix things up this time.
This round is going to be a Tutorial Contest , and is quite a bit different from our previous contests. Think of it as an ‘Instructables meets How Stuff Works’ style contest: We want you to submit entries in the form of a detailed step by step ‘How-To’ or Informative Tutorials.
We’re going to be asking a lot more of our participants this round, so we have raised the stakes and are giving away our biggest prizes yet! Without further ado here are the prizes being offered for this round!
1st place


Bioloid Comprehensive Kit:

2nd place

Bioloid Beginner Kit:

3rd place


Robotis Ollo Bug Kit

  • New Beginner Robotics Kit from Robotis!
  • Reconfigurable, modular design
  • Tons of parts to build with!
  • Instructions to build 4 different robots included
  • Remote controlled
  • Highly descriptive well documented instructions

You’re probably asking: “Well what’s the catch?” We won’t lie, we’re going to make you work for it and put your knowledge to the test!

Here are some examples of what types of tutorials we’re looking for:

  • What is a gyroscope/accelerometer/analog or digital signal?
  • How do servos/DC Motors/Batteries work? (explain inner workings, control, show example code, etc)
  • Choosing the right (Microcontroller/DC Motor/Sensor) for the job.
  • How to setup an Arduino/Xbee Communication/Basic Stamp. (basic projects with example code, videos, etc)
  • How to control a robot wirelessly. (many different methods of going about this, pick one and elaborate!)
  • Theory of Inverse Kinematics, Dead Reckoning, Spacial Mapping, etc.
We’re looking for well written, detailed entries that a beginner could read through and learn from. The emphasis on this is creating valuable tutorials and FAQs that the community as a whole can benefit from. Diagrams, pictures, source code, practical applications, text references and examples are welcomed and strongly encouraged. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, please cite any reference materials used. We are not looking for build articles during this round.
Entries will also be judged in a different manner than before: Contestants are encouraged to post as many tutorials as they like; in fact, the more tutorials submitted, the more points they receive towards their final score. Now that said, quality is greatly valued over quantity. One detailed, well written tutorial will hold more weight than five mediocre ones, but if you post numerous well written tutorials you’re going to be in very good shape.

Previous project submissions were based out of our Project Showcase forum, but this time all submissions must be entered into the Tutorial section.

Please visit our Project Contest Page to learn more about the contest, how to enter and for the official rules and guidelines. Somebody is going to be a proud new owner of a Bioloid Comprehensive Kit, Bioloid Beginner Kit, or Ollo Bug Kit, will it be you?