Building a cheepish Robot

Part of raising kids is to get them educated in things they don’t learn in school. One thing i want to teach is how all the tech around them is working and empower them to build their own.

For that i bought a reasonable cheap robot kit based on an Arduino from Amazon LSM2 Smart Robot Car Kit for around 65 Euros.

The assembled robot

It was clear that the kit won’t be one of the polished ones with kid-friendly instructions in a book. But i’m ok with that. So i have more room to explain stuff to my kids. But i didn’t expect how crude the instructions would be.

For start there only was a CD-R in there, not printed instructions what so ever. Ok i popped in the CD and only found a couple of folders and in one a couple of images that crudly explained how to assemble the basic hardware.

One of the instruction pages

But after an hour we got the Robot assembled and there where steps where the small fingers from my son really helped.

We used the simplest hardware setup to get the bot moving, which is the “IR Remote Experiment” where you only connect the IR sensor to the Arduino and upload the .ino file. And it worked out of the box! The motors are strong and it gained quite some speed and the wheels are big enough to get over bumps. Only the support wheel is a bit too stiff and might need a suspension mod to have it running over rough ground for longer times.

But wait! We then wanted to switch into autonomous mode and activate the ultrasonic sensors to get the bot self-driving and avoiding obstacles, but the cables that came with it where only male-female or male-male. We would have needed female-female once to get the sensor and the servo hooked up. And they wheren’t in the box. What a shame. So back to amazon to order some.

So the verdict: For that kind of money you get a decend amount of stuff, even when its not all you need. Even with its crude setup and instructions the examples work out of the box and also the code is not that bad, if you know your way around the Arduino ecosystem. So if you already have Arduino experience and what to tip your toe’s or the ones from your kids into robots it’s a good kit. (And maybe order a couple of cables along with it)