Vintage Parallax Robot Restoration

Got a neat little Parallax robot from a friend of a friend who passed away. Gonna revitalize it with my Beaglebone Green & SLAM Navigation

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Upgrading and restoring a vintage Parallax two wheeled robot. Metal fame with continuous servos and a BASIC Stamp. To be upgraded with a Beaglebone Green, 3D printed mounting plates for electronics, and a Maxbotix Ultrasonic sensor mounted on front with a servo for mapping.
Found out the robot kit is still being made by Parallax

Revamping an old Parallax Boe-Bot

This project is basically the refurbishing and revamping of an old Parallax Boe-Bot robot kit. This kit and robot are still made by Parallax, it comes with a basic stamp board, metal chassis, wheels, continuous servos, and some components. I recieved mine intact but with some weird circuit on the breadboard that didn't appear to work anymore with the code on the stamp. Sine the stamp is old and before my time I shelved it as a piece of history and decided a beaglebone would be much better. My plan is to get the robot running off a Beaglebone mounted with a custom 3D printed mount, that holds the beaglebone and a breadboard. I plan to drive the continuous servos with a TeensyLC or Arduino Pro Micro (AVR GPIO = good for servos) connected to the Beaglebone green via USB hub, also on the USB hub will be an edimax wifi dongle for teleoperation mode.

In addition to the hardware upgrade this robot will be receiving a software upgrade with a simultaneous localization and mapping program for some impressive navigational abilities!

Parallax SLAM Bot Specs

- Beaglebone Green (WiFi, Camera, Master control program)

- TeensyLC/Arduino ProMicro (servo driver)

- Parallax Boe-Bot aluminum chassis

- x2 continuous servos w/ wheels for drive

- x3 Microservos for moving sensors and cameras.

Part Studio 1 - BeagleMount.stl

Updated Beaglebone and BReadboard mount for Parallax bot. Makes the beaglebone mount holes deeper for the screw length, adds wiring holes and raises the breadboard and beaglebone up 2mm to allow for wiring clearance.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 2.62 MB - 10/24/2016 at 20:25


  • Beaglebone mount progress

    AVR10/30/2016 at 00:46 0 comments

    So, in the first project log I talked about the mounting plate I made for the beaglebone and the breadboard. I printed the first design and I was unsatisfied with how the breadboard fit, also the screw holes for the beaglebone were not deep enough. I keep tweaking and printing new iterations of the design, until I got it to where I like it, I'm probably going to tweak it a bit more so its perfect but for now I got it pretty good.

    Here are the iterations:

    Iteration 1

    Iteration 1 test:

    Iteration 2, in this version I introduced wiring holes, made the screw holes for mounting the beaglebone deeper, and tweaked the breadboard mount to accept more types of half size breaboards :

    iteration 2 test fit, the screw holes for the beaglebone while deeper were too hard to thread all the way down to clamp the Beaglebone in place, I attempted another print with tweaks to the screw hole size but it still was too hard to thread them all the way down. I didn't want to make the holes for the screws too much bigger because I want the screws to sort of thread into the plastic and tap the plastic as they thread.

    Iteration 3 brought the final improvements I required to be satisfied with the design of the mount. With interation 3 I raised the height of the beaglebone and the Breadboard so there would be more clearance underneath the beaglebone to run some more wires. also the heights were adjusted so the breadboard is the same level as the beaglebone pin headers. Also in this version I came up with a solution to the screw threading issue, I made some spacer/washer parts that go on the M3X10mm screws I have to short their effective threaded length.

    Iteration 3:

    Close up of the screw spacers/washers installed:

    Finished mount.

    That's all for now, stay tuned as the project progresses further!

  • Getting Started: Electronics Mounting

    AVR10/24/2016 at 03:35 0 comments

    So tonight I decided to start cracking at this robot project. So what I did was make a custom bracket for mounting the Beaglebone Green, and a breadboard to the robot. Its a simple part that is fully 3D printable. I designed in it OnShape and the STL file will be in the files section of the project page. This part can be used for just holding a Beaglebone and a breadboard in place too so I made a project page jsut for it also: . Anyways this is only the start theres more to come for software electronics and of course more 3d printed addons!

View all 2 project logs

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polyhistor10 wrote 10/26/2016 at 23:34 point


May I suggest you also take a look at the Parallax Propeller 1 and 2 (upcoming) controllers. I have a similar platform with a Propeller 1, and it can do all you are looking for.

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR wrote 10/27/2016 at 00:26 point

I'll check them out, but all I'm using a microcontroller for is driving servos in this project. The main control software is going to be a program running on the beaglebone and its going to be mostly mapping software, I want to implement SLAM around the A* algorithm.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Clara Hobbs wrote 10/27/2016 at 19:05 point

If you *really* want to get into the Beaglebone, you could try using the PRUs to control the servos instead of a separate microcontroller.

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR wrote 10/28/2016 at 02:48 point

actually Clayton I've been thinking of doing it that way since this morning, since the Beaglebone Green has the I2C and UART Ports on the front I was thinking why not get a I2C PWM breakout for servos and drive it with the PRU over I2C, eliminates the need for a USB hub to run the Teensy+WiFi dongle.

  Are you sure? yes | no

BeagleBoard Foundation wrote 10/26/2016 at 18:05 point

Great idea!

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR wrote 10/26/2016 at 23:12 point

indeed, want to get back to my roots in robotics engineering and get more familiar with the Beaglebone platform, moreso than just using it to run standard linux software.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Clara Hobbs wrote 10/24/2016 at 19:08 point

Ah, the Boe-Bot!  First thing I ever wrote code for as a wee child.  Mine's currently set up with the normal BASIC Stamp 2, but with lots of extra hardware for controlling it with DTMF tones on 2 meters and sending back ATV video from a camera on the front.  Pretty cool idea, mounting a BeagleBone on it in place of the original board.  I'll definitely be following this one!

  Are you sure? yes | no

AVR wrote 10/24/2016 at 20:34 point

thanks for stopping by! Yeah this thing came with a basic stamp board on it too, I removed it and stashed it safe away as its a part of maker history in my opinion. For this project I'm aiming for full SLAM navigation, should be fun since I implemented a similar project in college. Getting back to my robotics roots. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

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