Looking for the best board for a remote controller/networked controlled robot

Straight up, I'm new to Arduino boards, but I have programmed other devices before, just necessarily a full scaled robot. My objective is to create a robot that I can add sensors to make self aware, but as well I can control with a hand held RC device or develop an APP for my phone to use Bluetooth or even the wireless network. This is basically one giant experiment to learn how to use all these things and it won't be built all at once. I'm just looking to find the best microcontroller to get to start this. Best expand-ability is what I'm looking for.


I'd go with something '1284 based. Dual hardware UARTs to send/receive with RF device, or use SPI/I2C, 16K of memory, 4K eeprom, 32 total IO pins. DIP based so you can replace the processor when you accidentally smoke it. Need onboard USB? Or just for downloading sketches?
Maybe something that you can buy as a bare board so you can customine the IO connectors you use.

I have such boards, see my signature link. $4.50 for a board shipped to you, other parts ~$15, plus whatever you decide for USB; supports an on-board USB/Serial module, or you can use an FTDI Basic or FTDI Cable or CP2102 based module that are pretty inexpensive on e-bay right now.

I find this board very interesting:


have not used it myself, seems to have limited i/o, but a ton of connectivity options

My objective is to create a robot that I can add sensors to make self aware

Perhaps 'self aware' is not the term you meant to use. :slight_smile:

Haha, alright, self-aware probably wasn't the best. More like something that can wander around the house and do some simple things without running into the walls, perhaps scare the dog.

I was looking for something USB to plug into my computer for custom programs. Frankly, I have minimal experience with robots. Took an intro class on it last year and we used the Lego Mindstorms and programmed them in Java. Despite it being a toy, and fairly simplistic (though I was quite impressed with how much you can do with it), I want something along the lines of that, program in Java, C, whatever. These controllers look perfect, just need to find the one I like now.

I don't know exactly what you refer to when you say '1248 models, but looking around for myself, the mega 2560 looks pretty good, and the mega ADK especially caught my eye. Any insight on these two?

'2560 is overkill for you, and not repairable when damaged.
'1284 like this would be plenty

Add a MIKROE-483 USB/Serial adapter (mouser.com) if you want USB on board, vs plugging in an FTDI Basic or an FTDI Cable to program it.

Or get a regular Uno to start.


1 Vote for regular UNO, cheap to start with, easy to migrate to stand alone UNOs, most widely used, supported and understood Arduino for beginners.

I am building a very simple RC Robot (Robot ? robot shaped remote controlled toy if I am honest) using a standalone UNO and some of the code samples from my blog, have a look here for some examples to get you started -

Duane B


Thanks for the advice. I probably will end up going with the UNO. The cheaper factor speaks to me, haha! I'll also check out your blog for code examples, and I'll most likely end up posting what I come up with somewhere on here.

Thanks again!

If cost is a driver, then a Duemilanove can be had for less.
All the programming you will do is the same.


Would you suggest the Duemilanove over the UNO?

Also, I'm looking for some decent motors now, one of which I'm finding harder to find. Know where I can get a motor that rotates on a platform and will raise and lower an arm. Picture a crane. I'm thinking of designing a robot with four legs and moves like a spider... Should give me plenty of practice with motors. Sensors will be added next. I'm thinking of using a shield for the motors after some research.

Any advise?

Duemilanove will work just fine for that. I have 2, that's all I ever used to develop all kinds of stuff.
If you are in the very small minority that needs to re-program the USB/Serial adapter, and I don't see that being needed for what you are doing, then go with an Uno.

No, I shouldn't need to reprogram the usb. I plan on just using motors and some sensors, perhaps a speaker, a claw or something to grab things, a wireless controller of some sort, possibly an LCD display... just a bunch of stuff to play with and learn, freak out the family while I'm doing it.

Anyone know a decent place to find motors though?

How about a hint as to what size motors you're after?
That will drive the size of the motor controller too - from a simple H-bridge part like L293 or L298 to something higher powered that perhaps you talk to serially and it does all the control.

Sorry, didn't mean to leave you hanging. I want to build something like this:

Only four legs, possibly a little bigger to hold sensors, or a claw.
Goal is fast though, it be cool to see that thing sprint across the livingroom.
I want to put a couple distance sensors on it, and a mini camera.

I kind of want to put a claw or something that shoots little rockets, something to do with it besides just walk around.

In all, I want some motors that can move quick, but hold a little weight. Sorry, I don't really know specifics.

I havent built walkers before, so cant really comment on that- except that if you are new to arduino and want some fast results, I would start out with two continuous servos and build a differential drive - once you have that + sensors figured out, take the next step.

what I actually meant to say is, if you want camera input, it might make sense to get an ADK board. You can do video processing and wifi communication on the android device and then have the phone talk with your sensors etc. through the adk board.

you will not be able to implement any satisfactory video processing with an arduino.


Based on

The cheaper factor speaks to me

the two servos or an L293 twin motor might be the best approach.

I have just built a simple RC Toy/Robot from these chassis parts, a standalone Arduino and a L293



I am sure there are other chassis options, others might like to suggest for a budget Arduino bot.

I will put pics and code for mine up on my blog in a few days.

Duane B



Here is an overview of the RC Robot I mentioned, I will add more details and code tomorrow or over the weekend

Duane B


Walkers are fun, and I've built 3 or 4 so far. However, they're also a lot more
problem getting to work than wheeled robots. Quadrupeds are also more difficult
to get the gaits right than hexapods.

It might be easier to get into robotics initially with a wheeled bot, as there are
many issues that need addressing: mechanical, electrical, drive, sensors, controllers,
on and on. Then add on legs and gaits to the learning curve for a walker.

As a possibility for cheap and easy, you might build a wheeled bot that uses
continuous rotation servos, then you don't need an extra motor shield, most of
which co-opt "many" Arduino I/O lines [usually 6 lines minimum].

I have one wheeled bot with continuous rotation servos that I use mainly as a
development platform for my other robots. Testing sensors, developing control
routines, etc. Here is one company sells cheap platforms:


I kind of set my mind on a walker, and I may try following the instructions posted here:

I know it's going to be more difficult than using wheels, but so far every 'robot' I've had or used in the past, either programmable or pre-programmed, and I want to try something new. When I say the cheap factor speaks to me, it's not necessarily meaning that I'm on a real tight budget. I am a little worried about the motors they use:

Looks a little cheap, plus I want something that can move fast, and I don't think those have the power to move that quick.

T-Pro Mini Servo SG-90 9G Servo

Those are extremely weak servos for a walker, only 1/3 the torque of "standard"
servos. Your bot will have trouble walking and even lifting its batteries. Frame
weight and carrying batteries are the primary obstacles with designing walkers.


My feelings is, the legs on that bot are much too long for the weak-kneed servos
cited above. OTOH, you learn by doing :-).