Nintendo ROB-MOD

built by David Mitchell

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Target Environment Locomotion Method
Indoors N/A
Sensors / Input Devices Actuators / Output Devices
photo detector dc motors
Control Method Power Source
Tethered Battery
CPU Type Operating System
Programming Lanuage Weight
Pascal N/A
Time to build Cost to build
URL for more information
The R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) was an add on for the first Nintendo Entertainment System, I saw it in a 2nd hand shop window and I thought I could do something with it, as luck would have it - it was easy to work with. The ROB has no interface cables but it originally must have taken commands by some sort of flashing of the sceen code - as the 'head' of the robot has a small PCB with a photo detector and some sort of demodulator. When first powered up it returned all axes (up/down, rotation, and gripper - which looks like arms) to hard stops and continued to drive the motors a little longer - which is not a problem as all motors have slipping clutches. Then positioned the arm in a home position. Thats all it did. I tried flashing LEDs to get some response but to no avail, so it was opened. Inside the base of the ROB is a small PCB, there are three H-drivers (IR2C25 by sharp) and a small 16 DIP microcontroller that is marked 'Nintendo'. Well out with the microcontroller and in with some ribbon cable connected to the XT (PC5 by Commodore), sounds simple - well there was quite a bit of probing and fiddling but in the end it was easy to interface to - each IR2C25 has two digital inputs for direction, there are two micro switches that sense 'indents' in the rotation and up/down and I removed the 'head' board and wired the LED on the top of the head to an output line. Now time to code, the only two tricks were to run the motors a little bit longer after the microswitch detected an indent - otherwise there would be a different position depending on which way you were moving. And to run the gripper (arms) motor for the amount of time it took to close the gripper with no object - as there is no sensing, it relies on the slipping clutch for grip. The robots lack of axes limited it usefulness, but still you could make it move foam blocks from one side of the robot to the other and stack them same order. The program was written in Pascal. And Rob runs off 6V supplied by 4 x AA batteries.

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