Best Robot<-- here

This is a beetlebot. It is purely electro-mechanical with no  electronics or programming to make it operate. It scoots along very nicely and gets itself away from obstacles with verve and elan (kidding).

This is my wife’s robot. She calls her Ruby Foos in honor of the wonderful restaurant we visited in Montreal (?) 35 years ago.

The latest and clearest build directions are on this You Tube: The Beetle Robot version 2 by Jerome Demers. I downloaded several high resolution photos from his website so I would be sure to get the wiring done correctly.

He designed a very nice shell. I used a 4 inch plastic bottle cap which I pained and then glued a wood block to the center underside. I glued two small neodymium magnets to the block so it snaps on the metal strip holding the motors.

This robot is somewhat more complex to build than it first appears and one has to solder, but if one can work from high resolution photos there should not be a problem. Good luck and enjoy if you build it.


Robotics, part 2

This is my remote controlled robot based on the same motor system as the Arduino robot, but controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero. The bot is run from a computer keyboard to which the Zero is connected by wifi. On my iMAC I use Microsoft Remote Desktop (free) and on the Zero I use xrdp (also free on Linux) to command and control the bot. This bot and its command and control system are marvelous.

I wanted to learn my way around  Linux and Raspberry Pi is an excellent tool to do this. Then I wanted to learn some Python. I have spent about 9 months learning and building little projects. Then the idea of robots just appeared in the  night-time mist…

It is built on a Tamiya chassis and uses a Tamiya gearbox, so she is known around here as Tami

Complete and total instructions are on You Tube by sentdex: Raspberry Pi with Python for Robotics 1 up to video 11. He went on to make it autonomous, but I did not want that. His website includes a valuable narrative for each video and he develops the code on the left side of each page: Python Programming Tutorials>Robotics> the hyperlink in the second paragraph about his now featured robot. For some reason he chose to bury the information on the robot I built, but it is all there.

I enjoyed making this bot. It is neat that “it actually works!”

If I wanted a remote control car or tank to play with, especially if one has children waiting, I would buy a complete RC vehicle and have fun.

P.S.: That black cylinder in the first picture is the power supply for the Zero. It is a cellphone charger and power supply (5 VDC, 1 Amp) by ANKER that I liked so much I bought another. It was $13.00 on Amazon U.S.



Final form




>>>Just for fun (aren’t they all?)<<<


  1. Report to Ft. Sam Houston, TX (near San Antonio), or else.
  2.  You’re in the army now. It is hot.
  3.  Get in line for a quick, short haircut. Now you are presentable.
  4. Buy uniforms at the uniform shop just outside the gate. Rank goes on the right.
  5. Don’t irritate the natives.
  6. Learn to march. Still hot.
  7. Take a ride in a medevac helicopter and an ambulance truck and visit an aid station setup.
  8. Go to the shooting range. The bullet comes out the end with the hole. Don’t shoot anybody.
  9. Immunizations every Friday x4; sick over the weekend.
  10. Night time compass course in the Hill Country. Neato! Watch out for rattlers! BTW, you have been shot. Come on and get in the truck.
  11. Graduate, photo, go on leave, get orders.
  12. Yay, TEXAS!!

<My orders said Vietnam Transient Detatchment, APO San Francisco. I thought my duty station would be in SF maybe doing physicals, etc. When we discovered I would be crossing the international date line my poor mother went batsh*t. I regarded it as an adventure for my time, plus I was not a line officer.

Hobby robotics, part one.

UPDATE: I changed to a 2S li-po battery and the robot runs faster and runs well on carper too.

Some years ago I became interested in the Arduino microcontroller and more recently the Raspberry Pi computer. Initially I wanted to do some physical computing projects (programming devices to sense and to run physical devices). I made LED’s flash, stepper motors and servos rotate, built  a permanent wireless weather station and an infrared burglar alarm and then decided robots were the next thing to do.

It takes some time and effort for a beginner to become familiar enough with Arduino and run the IDE (integrated development environment), but the IDE provides many examples and the internet is full of Arduino programs. –I never wrote any original programs, but did minor modifications to some I found on line–.

The IDE has, now and again, trouble finding the software ports on my iMAC. <I solved this and will sent anyone who NEEDS it the information.>

The whole Arduino “thing” is open source, btw. One can purchase microcontroller copies at pretty low prices that usually work well. <Beware of microcontrollers that require a unique set of drivers.>

My first robot was a complete kit from His site provides detailed instructions and the code to copy/paste into the Arduino IDE. One can alter the code to influence speed and ping range.

This robot is autonomous and obstacle avoiding. It runs on a hard surface anywhere it wants and uses a ping sensor (sonar) on the front to detect obstacles and stop and turn to avoid them. It can get out of some pretty tight situations. I used a different battery pack and placed it in the center of the robot to improve wheel traction.  IMG_2832

IMG_2835From right to left:the ping sensor on a servo (rotates 180 degrees), H bridge motor controllers, battery pack, and Funduino, an Arduino clone.


This is an arduino freestanding range finder using the ultrasound sensor. It is quite accurate. Instructions and code are on the internet in many sites. Try Adafruit or Yourduino, if interested, to make this project

References: You Tube: Paul McWhorter, best; et. al., LEARN;, Wiki;

books by Simon Monk

Wireless weather station on Instructables by Debash Dutta.


What is going on here? The battery pack supplies ~9 VDC to the Funduino, which then powers the H bridge, servo, and Ping sensor. In usual operation the Funduino software tells the H bridge to run the  robot forward (one motor clockwise; the other counter clockwise), the H bridge delivers a reduced voltage to the motors which are each 3.3VDC, I think. The Ping scans on the servo and sends a signal to the Funduino if an obstacle is encountered. Depending whether the obstacle is in front, left, or right in relation to the Ping, the Funduino will signal the H Bridge to change whichever motor direction is required and then return to normal forward motion. “Smarter than your average bear.”