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building simple ground robot, robots

Building a simple ground robot part 1

As part of a course I’m doing. and to help with my robot-boats project, I’m building a simple ground robot! You can follow progress and see build instructions in this series of blog posts.

1. Testing the microcontroller

The microcontroller for the robot is the MSP430G2 LaunchPad
We use a piece of software called Energia to code for the microcontroller: the code is then uploaded and run by the microcontroller. To start, I sent code which tells the microcontroller to flash an LED – which you can see in the video:

Using Energi to send code instructing the MSP430G2 LaunchPad to flash an LED from Neil K. Sheridan on Vimeo.

2. Building a voltage regulator on the robot’s breadboard

Since the robot will use a 9V battery as its ‘heart’ and the microcontroller requires an input of 3.3V, we need to use a voltage regulator to change 9V to 3,3V – otherwise the robot’s brain would explode!

Parts needed:

  • 10 μF electrolytic capacitors (X2)
  • LM1086 3.3V voltage regulator


To be quite honest I was a bit shocked the voltage regulator worked first time! But it did – as you can see from my multimeter reading from the output (which will go to the microcontroller).



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