Automating Robot Arm

I'm looking for some help please.

I'm automating an OWI Robot arm kit.

Digital Feedback:

I plan on drilling a hole in a gear in each gearbox for each motor, placing an optical sensor in the housing to provide a pulse with every rotation of that gear, then will use this to count pulses and I think program using this.

I also have an on/off controller I built that I want to feedback to my controller when a certain temperature is reached using a wait function to initiate a loop after wards. It has a low voltage control signal which is either on or off.


The robot arm has 5 small motors for which I will need feedback and to drive accurately enough to repeat a process using loop functions.

I want to have the option of having a running light, an emergency stop button, and perhaps an additional optical sensor for use in part of the process I program.

I was looking into motor control boards... I'm not sure if I need to buy a motor control board and some kind of microcontroller in addition.

I want to be able to program entirely from USB as I have no serial port. Which parts do I need to order from Arduino?

Thank you so much.

I'm sorry that I can't help you, but I sure look forward to seeing the endresult of your project :D. I'm into automation too and I am considering buying this robot after the line follower project for school. Just too bad that it doesn't use servo's or stepper motors...

There are two versions of OWI Robotic Arms. The old one has dark tinted clear plastic parts. The new one has black and yellow plastic parts. I don't think that they can be automated because they are "toys". They have clutches to protect the motors and even if you use optical sensors for feedback, the motors may continue to run after the joints hit the limits.