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Author Topic: Am I overpaying for this?  (Read 1024 times)
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Am I overpaying for this: [1] http://goo.gl/TXAMy

I'm buying the Arduino because I'm interested in robotics and other electronic things I have no experience in electronics and some newbie experience in Python but I'm a keen learner. So I do hope that this will help become more proficient in C, Electronics and robotics, I just don't want to be ripped of so is there a better alternative for robotics, like another micro controller or buying the things separately or another kit or getting a clone etc. I have a $67 budget.

1) I want to do robotics, what else should I get. 2) How do I check everything is working, it being from dx. 3) What should I do to prepare for the arduino.
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If you want to do mostly robotics and you have a $76 budget, I would recommend that you shop around on e-bay and buy JUST what you need. The kit you linked to is for general use and has a lot of stuff you may not want or need for robotics. Even if you did want all of it, you could probably do better buying individual items. Did you read the reviews? They are a little mixed, but generally good... but once again, theses are reviews for a generic kit and if your interests are more on the electronics side than the robotics, then it might be worth it.
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Left Coast, CA (USA)
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Well as the kit includes a Arduino Uno board worth $30, I would think all that other stuff is certainly worth the extra dollars. Arduino just announced that they will finally also be offering an 'official' arduino starter kit, so maybe you might want to check that out.

Lefty
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Check this on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Arduino-Uno-Starter---Solderless-Breadboard/dp/B0051QHPJM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349562934&sr=8-1&keywords=arduino+uno+kit

$36 and free shipping if you select the slow super saver shipping.

The Arduino Uno certainly has enough capabilities to do robotics.
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Lets see, the starter kit the OP mentions looks reasonable though it doesn't have robot parts (except for the generic motors), so you may need to get more specialized parts (or make them).  Note, it is an Arduino compatible, and not a true Arduino if that matters to you.

The Amazon kit has nothing in it except wires, basic arduino, and breadboard.  If you wanted to do anything except run the blink program, you will need more components.

IIRC, the official Arduino starter kit is over $100 US, and so it is presumably out of the budget range of the OP.  However, the official Arduino starter kit comes with instructions of how to do various projects with all of the parts in the box.  It looks like the kit mentioned by the OP is like the one I bought, and what you get is no directions, just a random bunch of parts in a plastic bag, and it is up to you to find the appropriate howto's (on this forum) and do them yourself.
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Just a decent robo-testing bed (frame-2 servos-2 wheels) costs around $20. A compatible arduino like Oseep Uno costs $24. Four alkaline AAA batteries: $8. Total: $52. You still having $15 for a couple of sensors, taxes and shipping costs. There you go!
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Overall, that kit isn't a bad deal for what you get, but it isn't really geared toward robotics - at least not in the sense of what robotics means to most people.

Here's the thing, though - if you get this kit (and please, get a cheapo multimeter, too, while you're at it!), plus an old edition of Grob's Basic Electronics, and a 99 cent notebook (or take notes with your computer) - and really apply yourself, you'll gain and master a large percentage of what you need to know to implement a real robot as your next project.

From what I can see, the kit comes with enough parts to teach you the basics of reading sensors (potentiometers, switches, joysticks, etc) and using their values as inputs to effect the output to a few basic devices (a stepper motor, a servo motor, a relay, LEDs, etc). Think about it: What is a robot, ultimately - in the most basic sense? It is a platform, which has a computer of some sort, taking input from sensors (switches, light and sound detectors, etc), and using that information to output and control other devices (typically motors, servos, or relays of some sort).

Isn't that everything in the kit? Yes, yes it is!

Now - is there cheaper ways of doing this same thing? Yes, but it won't be a kit like this - you would have to do a little legwork. Maybe check around ebay and find the parts, or go thru surplus outlets if you can (for instance, if you are in the USA, Electronic Goldmine's "Super Surprise Box" can yield an insane number of parts for only $8.00 - you never know what you'll get, but it will mostly be transistors, resistors, LEDs and switches - and you'll have to do an insane amount of sorting and datasheet lookups, but the ultimate result will be worth more than what you paid for it - usually).

In the end, the ideal way would be to work at learning how the parts all work, the math and understanding of current vs voltage and how they relate to one another (Ohm's Law), how to use a multimeter properly (so you can avoid burning out components and such), and how to assembled the basic systems needed by all robots - before assembling a complete robot. It will take longer, it may look more "boring" from a certain perspective, but ultimately you'll have a better understanding that can be applied to creating your first robot successfully.

...and for that robot, what should you use? Well - I've long been an advocate of old "broken" cheapo chinese R/C cars from thrift stores; you shouldn't pay more than $10.00 for one, and they can become great mobile platforms:

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,86883.0.html

Truth be told - learn to appreciate thrift and secondhand stores for what they offer in terms of devices which can become part of your electronics hobby; suddenly broken or otherwise "useless" items can become parts for your next robot (I personally like to salvage old Polaroid cameras for the ultrasonic sensors the Sun 660 and Spectra use - basically the same sensor as the SensComp 6500 series). Many building and construction toys (lego, knex, mecanno, erector, etc) make for great sources of robot parts, too.
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Thanks for all your replies. I may just look around on eBay. I live in the UK. I've been discouraged as I've heard DX is awful as products come damaged but then again, I have no experience in electronics and this kit could help me. This kit is the cheapest and best value kit I've seen in the market so far.
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