BEAM Online - The Yahoo of BEAM!


BEAM FAQ

What is BEAM robotics?
Is there a BEAM robotics mailing list?
How do I get started in BEAM robotics?
Where do I go to learn about basic electronics?
Any good books?
Do I need to know how to solder?
Where can I find parts? Where can I get the 1381 voltage detector?
I can't find part xxxxxx that is mentioned in your circuits page. Where can I find it?
How do I make a Solaroller?
How do I make a Photovore?
How do I make a Walker?
How do I make a light seeking 'Head'?
I've looked everywhere but I can't find a geared motors for my walker, help!
What is a Bicore?
How do I make a walker using the Bicore?
Can I fit more than one Bicore on a 74xxx240?
I've built a Bicore and a H-bridge, How do I connect them together?
I've built a Bicore driven walker, now how do I put a sensor on it to make it reverse?
Is there a place where I can get PCB layouts for the Bicore, SE, H-bridge.....?
How do I Solarize the Bicore, I connected it to a 1381 SE but it didn't work. What's up?
Where can go to learn how to freeform circuits like the 1381 SE, Bicore and H-bridge?


What is BEAM robotics?
BEAM robotics is a type of robotics that in non-computerized. Unlike most computer based robots that are slow, costly and take years to build, BEAM robots are cheap, reliable and can be built in a matter of days. BEAM is the brainchild of Mark Tilden who is currently working as a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory. BEAM is an acronym for (B)iology (E)lectronics (A)esthetics and (M)echanics.



Is there a BEAM robotics mailing list?
Yes, It is a good place to ask questions and talk about different ideas. To subscribe send a message to: majordomo@sgiblab.sgi.com with: subscribe beam your-email-address-here in the body of your message. Example: To: majordomo@sgiblab.sgi.com subscribe beam someone@something.com --------------------- To unsubscribe send a message to: majordomo@sgiblab.sgi.com with: unsubscribe beam your-email-address-here in the body of your message. Example: To: majordomo@sgiblab.sgi.com unsubscribe beam someone@something.com



How do I get started in BEAM robotics? Under Construction
It's really easy just follow the steps below and in no time at all you'll be building all kinds of cool robots. Good Luck ;-) 1. Do you know how to solder? If yes skip to step 3 2. The first thing you will need to know it how to solder it's not really that hard. Look at "How to Solder" for a good tutorial. 3. Now that you know how to solder you can start getting into electronics. All you need to know right now is.... what each components looks like, their basic function and how to read a schematic. If you already know all this skip to step 5 4. In order to build your first BEAM robot you will need to know some basic electronics. The best book I have found can be purchased at Radio Shack and it's called "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims. There are also plenty of good web sites like "Learn Basic Electronics". 5. Check out the links page and look at a bunch of the other BEAM web sites to get some design ideas. 6. Read the rest of this FAQ. Although you might not fully understand some of the stuff now it will help you later on. 7. I would highly recommend you buy the Solar Speeder kit ($25) from Solarbotics if this is your first electronics project, but if you are familiar with electronics/soldering or don't have the cash you can start with a solaroller, then a couple photovores and when your feeling ready, a walker. 8. Your ready to start building. Look at my tutorial on how to build a solaroller. 9. After you've built a solaroller your ready to build a photovore. I would recommend you build a couple of these before you move onto a walker. 10. Now your ready for a walker. The walker in my tutorial will cost you about $20 - $30 but has some simple functions that are mostly found on more complex walkers such as the ability to back-up and turn.



Where do I go to learn about basic electronics? Any good books?
Basic Electronics is a great web site that has all the basics. To get started in BEAM you'll need to know a few basic things like.... what each component looks like, it's function, how to read a schematic and the basics of resister color codes. If your looking for a good book, Radio Shack sells a book called "Getting Started in Electronics" by Forrest M. Mims. It is by far the best basic electronics book I've seen.



Do I need to know how to solder?
Yes, soldering is one of the most valuable things you'll need to know. You can go to the "How to Solder" page to learn how to solder. It's one of those things that improves with experience.



Where can I find parts?
Ok, I'm going to give you a list of all the places where I get parts and what they have....

Electronic Components
Digi-Key - Huge supplier
Mouser - Another huge supplier
Jameco - Good prices on some things

Solar Cells
Solarbotics - Good supplier
Conrad Electronics - Good prices but only ships in Europe

Motors
Tower Hobbies - Servos Look at surplus sites - Sometimes you can find a good deal on geared motors

Surplus
Electronics Goldmine - Kits & more
All Electronics - Heat shrink and other good stuff
BG Micro - Sometimes has good motors

Robotics Parts
Solarbotics - BEAM robotics kits
Robot Store - Kits, books and lots of neat stuff
Jameco - Nice section dedicated to robotics



Where can I find the 1381 voltage detector?
I get this question asked all the time "I went to my local electronic store to try and find some parts but when i got there and asked the person behind the counter about the 1381 J Voltage detector he said that he had no idea what I was talking about do you have any idea where I could get one or any more info I could use to tell him and get one." Well this is just one of those components that's just not that common and chances are your going to need to order it from Solarbotics or DigiKey. If ordering it isn't a possibility then I would recommend using the FLED solar engine. FLED's (Flashing (or Blinking) LED's are much more common and your local electronics shop should have them.



I can't find part xxxxxx that is mentioned in your circuits page. Where can I find it?
Here is a list of a the parts listed on my circuits page with part number and where to buy it.....

Part
Part #
Place to buy
Solar cell Depending on size Solarbotics or Conrad Electronics
Motor Depending on type (see above) Solarbotics or Tower Hobbies
2.2K Resister 2.2KEBK-ND Digi Key
2N3904 Transistor 2N3904-ND Digi Key
2N3906 Transistor 2N3906-ND Digi Key
.33 F Capacitor P6961-ND Digi Key
3300uF Capacitor P5511-ND Digi Key
1381 J Voltage Detector MN1381-J-ND Digi Key
FLED 67-1496-ND Digi Key
1N4001 Diode 1N4001MSCT-ND Digi Key
2N7000 MOSFET 2N7000DICT-ND Digi Key
47K Resister 47KEBK-ND Digi Key
.47uF Capacitor P2057-ND Digi Key
100K Variable Resisiter 3296W-104-ND Digi Key
.22uF Bi-Polar Capacitor P4966-ND Digi Key
3M Resister 3MEBK-ND Digi Key
Photo Diode 160-1032-ND Digi Key
680K Resister 680KEBK-ND Digi Key
100K Resister 100KEBK-ND Digi Key
74HCT240 CD74HCT240E-ND Digi Key
74AC240 74AC240PC-ND Digi Key
1.6M Resister 1.6MEBK-ND Digi Key
30uF Capacitor P2052-ND Digi Key
LED (red) 67-1066-ND Digi Key
10K Resister 10KEBK-ND Digi Key
1000uF Capacitor P5509-ND Digi Key
100mA Wall transformer T206-ND Digi Key


How do I make a Solaroller? Under Construction
Coming soon!



How do I make a Photovore? Under Construction
Coming soon!



How do I make a Walker? Under Construction
Coming soon!



How do I make a light seeking 'Head'? Under Construction A robotic head is a bot that can either sit on a base or be mounted on another robot such as a walker and feed information about the environment to the legs. The base is connected to the shaft of the motor and the battery, light sensors and electronics are mounted on the motor. Most heads I've seen look at the brightest source of light. The circuit is just the basic Bicore but with two photodiodes connected across the resister like so.... Coming soon! Look at my tutorial on how to build a light seeking head for details.



I've looked everywhere but I can't find a geared motors for my walker, help! Let me tell you right off "good geared motors are VERY hard to find cheaply". Sometimes a good deal will pop up for a few days from one of the surplus companies such as BG Micro or MECI. The best easy to find alternative to geared motors are "hobby servos" which can be found at your local hobby shop or online at Tower Hobbies.com. They usually cost about $10.00 each and come in many shapes and sizes. In order to use a hobby servo in your walker you'll need to modify it, take a look at my tutorial on how to modify your servo so you can use it in your walker.



What is a Bicore? Under Construction
A Bicore is a two (Bi) Nv neuron oscillator.



How do I make a walker using the Bicore? Under Construction
see "How do I make a Walker"



Can I fit more than one Bicore on a 74xxx240? Yes, you can fit up to four Bicores on a single 74xxx240. If you do this you will need a motor driver such as the H-bridge if you are going to drive a motor off of one of these bicores. The advantage of this is if you need lots of different functions like in my "Stryder Jr." walker you'll want to make the circuit as small as possible. The schematic for this is.... (bottom of chip with pins facing up)





I've built a Bicore and a H-bridge, How do I connect them together? Under Construction
see "How do I make a walker?"


I've built a Bicore driven walker, now how do I put a sensor on it to make it reverse? Under Construction
see "How do I make a Walker"


Is there a place where I can get PCB layouts for the bicore, SE, H-bridge and Microcore?
I have all the layouts and they are available on request. (Please don't put these layouts on your web site or distribute them. Thanks)


How do I Solarize the Bicore, I connected it to an 1381 SE but it didn't work. What's up?
The 1381, FLED and some other SE's require a motor in order to work so in order to solarize the Bicore you'll need to use either the D1 SE (charges by day, runs at night.... Noctibot) or the PM1 SE (same as normal SE but will work with Bicore). Both of these circuits can be found on my circuits page.



Where I can go to learn how to freeform a Bicore, SE, H-bridge and Photopopper circuits?
They are easier to freeform than you might think. Just check out my tutorials on how to....

Freeform the Bicore
Freeform the 1381 Solar Engine
Freeform the Photo Popper
Freeform the H-bridge







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