Looking at basic complete robotics kits...

I am looking to purchase a basic kit that can be controlled via wireless with android app or with IR remote input, I am also very interested in the collision avoidance kits. I am new to arduino, but have an electronics and networking background. Electronics background old and unused for many years! I have zero experience with any of the Arduino boards, should I buy a kitbot and a different better cpu or do the generic boards work the same as real Arduino board? I have been reading about them quite a bit, but with so many opinions out there I could really use a push!

I have 2 daughters, 10 and 6 that are both interested in helping assemble and the oldest wants to learn to program... I am also interested in the Arduino for other uses.

My question is, which basic kit should I start with? I am looking at the following kits. The first one interests me quite a bit. I would like a kit that includes the processor board, sensors and some chassis. These are example kits I have found, but am not married to either one... Please feel free to make suggestions, please! I think that a tracked chassis would be the most fun.

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__37891__Arduino_4WD_Ultrasonic_Robot_Kit.html

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__37892__Arduino_2WD_Ultrasonic_Smart_Car_Kit.html

Thanks Matt

Hi Matt, those kits aren't bad looking. You basically get all the goodies you need to get off and running, in one package. Arduino is a good choice for beginner programming, but it's also good for somewhat more serious work too [ethernet, by way of example, with help from a wiznet shield].

I like the 4WD base you linked, but the wheels are a little close together, so the base may be a little tippy going over transitions, such as floor mouldings at doors, etc. There are bases with the wheels farther apart, although they all use "skid-steering", and the farther apart the wheels are, the more trouble they have turning on carpeted [high friction] surfaces.

The 2WD base is also nice, but it's uncertain what the back-end wheel is. If a caster, then I dislike those immensely.

There are a lot of similar bases coming out of china. One thing you have to be careful of, is most CN companies provide little tech info, and next to zero tech support. But the parts shown are also pretty common, and easy to find info for.

A bit more expensive here, http://dx.com/s/arduino+robot http://dx.com/s/wheeled+robots

I kind of like this one. Similar to yours, and has the sort of rear wheel you want, IMO. http://dx.com/p/090102-multi-function-ultrasonic-robot-car-kits-for-arduino-black-159887

This one has the caster that I don't like. http://dx.com/p/multi-function-line-tracking-robot-car-kits-for-arduino-156156

Also, something like this doesn't have enough ground clearance to even get from floor onto carpet, I think, http://dx.com/p/arduino-compatible-bluetooth-controlled-robot-car-kits-146418

More yet. The parts in the basic kits you linked are very common, so it's possible to buy them separately if you find a base you really like, http://www.mhobbies.com/arduino-compatible.html http://www.mhobbies.com/robot-kit/wheeled-robot-kits.html http://www.mhobbies.com/robot-kit/tracked-robots.html

Have fun.

What do you think of the tamiya twin motor track chassis? It looks like fun!

Tracked bases are really nice, since they'll go over almost anything, but they tend to run fairly slowly. Many wheeled bases get stuck easily on floor transitions, unless they have good motors and knobby tires.

I've used the Tamiya twin-motors and also the track system. The motor are ok, but tend to be slow and noisy. The track system I would "DEFINITELY" avoid. Marginal design, and the tracks come off the rollers too easily when making fast turns on carpet. Also, some of them only have a single motor - so won't turn at all, http://www.superdroidrobots.com/shop/item.aspx/tamiya-track-and-wheel-set/409/ http://www.superdroidrobots.com/shop/item.aspx/tamiya-tracked-vehicle-chassis-kit/484/

I also think the yellow/white motors shown with many of the wheeled robots are a better choice than the Tamiya motors. This actually looks like a pretty good 2WD base, with "good" rear-wheel, if you wanted to buy the rest of the components separately - but I think your original 2WD link may be the same. You could send an email to HobbyKing as ask. http://www.mhobbies.com/brand-new-programmable-robot-mobile-platform-2wd-robot-chassis-kit.html

I like the RP5 design but have not tried it myself. The track system looks much more robust than the Tamiya. I would definitely NOT buy the $199 kit, as you could buy the base and add the other stuff yourself for a lot cheaper. http://www.mhobbies.com/robot-kit/tracked-robots.html Nick Gammon has the Dagu Rover 5, and there was a long thread on it - in this forum section - a year or so ago. Both designs look like they hold the treads firmly. The speeds may be slow, but that's generally ok with robots, because sensor processing and decision-making is difficult with very high speed vehicles such as fast R/C cars.

I really appreciate your input! I really like the looks of the Dagu track chassis, but I wonder if that is to much for a first robot? My nano kit should be here within a week or so, ordered one from Sainsmart. I am very excited to get started learning hands on, tired of reading about the boards... I am 48 and I wish this stuff had been around when I was a kid! I got my first computer in about 1981, more power on the nano than it ever had!

Another project for me will be an 802.11 temperature/humidity logging probe for my safe. May get to that first, want a simple display that shows values at a button press then goes to sleep.

Matt

I don't think any of those bases are too much for a first robot. Programming, adding sensors, etc, is very similar for all of them. If you get a little more advanced base right from the start, then you can keep adding new stuff to it. You quickly tend to outgrow the smaller simpler bases.

You can also start with a basic UNO or Nano board, and learn the ropes, and later on swap it out for a more powerful board, and with more I/O pins, after you have a better idea of what you can do with them. A larger more powerful base will allow you to add additional sensors, bigger batteries, etc, and control them using the more powerful board. You won't be able to add onto the smaller less powerful bases as well. IOW, you have an automatic upward migration path.

That all being said, I don't have first-hand knowledge with the Dagu tracked base. As I recall, there were some issues with the tracks, and the mechanism that moves them in and out. Check this thread, I didn't pay too much attention, http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=82618.0