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Triode Car: Line Follower

A small project for anyone interested in robotics.

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Triode Car is a line-following robot that can help starters learn the fundamentals of engineering.
The goal is to build the car from scratch then perfect it as much as possible through programming. There are three key points to present throughout this series.

Firstly, distinguishing electrical components with the help of schematics.

Secondly, installing the components onto the PCB through soldering.

Lastly, controlling the Triode Car with the use of the BBC Micro: bit.

Before We Begin...

Here's a quick word regarding why I've decided to tackle this project, and how anyone, especially inexperienced people like me, could do it:

As technology progresses, the world is constantly undergoing drastic change, and the learning curve of the engineering field gets steeper every day.  Therefore, we designed a series of courses for starters to have a better understanding of the field of robotics, electronics, and electrical engineering. This project provides insight for those who desire to learn the basic concept of automation. 

An incentive for learning.

If you are someone who is interested in or just started programming and have no idea how to advance your skills further, consider following along as we will most certainly face the same problems as you do!

  • Know Your Part(s)!

    Joey Shyu03/29/2021 at 06:19 0 comments

    This is the first part of assembling the Triode Car.  

    We will be introducing the parts used on the Triode Car and how to install them onto the circuit board with the help of schematics.

    (Photo of the schematics)

    The first thing I recommend doing is to solder on the edge connector, this is one of the big components of the pack, and there wouldn't be enough space to fix or adjust if there are other components in the way.

    (Photo of installed edge connector)

    Resistors are known for their current-limiting capabilities. There are a few types of resistors used on the Triode Car, namely the fixed resistor, potentiometer, and photoresistor.

    Fixed resistors are the most common component on any electrical circuit.  Due to the electrical current limits that components can withstand are different, we usually see a ton of these on most circuit boards.   The color bands indicate the resistance of the resistor.  Generally, the most outward color band is the first band. With a quick google image search "5 band resistor color codes", we can now identify the resistor values. The first 3 bands indicate the base value, and the fourth band is the multiplier.  

    (Photo of a fixed resistor)

    The potentiometer is a type of variable resistor, its value of electrical resistance can be adjusted to perform different behaviors.  For example, some fans use potentiometers to control fan speed.  Lamps oftentimes use potentiometers to adjust brightness.  Every car assembled won't be exactly the same, it often requires a bit of tuning. The potentiometer will help us adjust the precision of the line tracking feature.

    (Photo of the potentiometer)

    The photoresistor is also a type of variable resistor. However, the electrical resistance is determined by the brightness of the environment.  The brighter it is, the lower the resistance.  Conversely, the dimmer the environment, the higher the resistance.  These will be the main sensors that we will be using to enable the line tracking capabilities of the Triode Car.

    (Photo of the photoresistor)

    After installing these parts onto the board,  we have completed the hardest part of the assembly.  I've recorded the entire process on YouTube.  Next update we will be wrapping this up by installing the remaining components and get it ready for testing.  Stay tuned for more!

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