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BE M TA W AY R O AR 29 EL M N E 1 Co IS IN 9 AS py SIO G: 98 E 0.

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Skill Level

"

The BEAM MiniBall 1.0 Photovore

This BEAM spherical robot has the ability to seek out sources of light in its environment by using chaotic behavior, and it never gets stuck in corners! (Soldering skill required)

Ball-Shaped BEAM Robots? Absolutely! Explore their interesting behavior with this kit!
Produced by

Ltd.

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - P ARTS L IST


4 1 2 1 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 1
1

- 0.22F Monolithic Capacitors - 4700F 6.3V Electrolytic Capacitor - 0.33F 2.5 volt AL Series Gold Capacitors - 2.2k Resistor (Red / Red / Red) - 300 k Resistor (Orange / Black / Yellow) - 1381 Voltage Trigger - 2N3904 Transistor - 2N3906 Transistor - 1N914 Diode - 4536 Digital Timer Chip - 37x33mm Solarcell - 5 Pole DIP Switch - Hand-tuned Gearhead Motor - Lock-Collar - Lock-Collar Allen-Wrench - 0.9 long, 5/8 dia. Brass Tubing - 0.75 long, 9/32 dia. Brass Tubing - 2-56 Bolts & Lockwasher pairs - Nylon Clamp, 6-32 Bolt, Plastic Washer, and Locknut set - 4 Transparent Plastic Sphere - Suction Cups - Solarcell Wire Pair - Set of Instructions (duh!)
- Miniball 1.0 Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

We strongly suggest you inventory the parts in your kit to make sure you have all the parts listed. If anything is missing, contact Solarbotics Ltd. For replacement parts information. Disclaimer of Liability Solarbotics Ltd. Is not responsible for any special, incidental, or consequential damages resulting from any breach of warranty, or under any legal theory, including lost profits, downtime, good-will, damage to or replacement of equipment or property, and any costs or recovering of any material or goods associated with the assembly or use of this product. Solarbotics Ltd reserves the right to make substitutions and changes to this product without prior notice.

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - INTRODUCTION


BEAM Basics
If you are not familiar with BEAM technology, consider this paragraph your introduction! BEAM is a relatively new field of electronics where a bottom-up approach is used in a robots construction. This means using clever mechanical and electronic design to accomplish the task at hand, instead of relying on microprocessors and programs to accomplish the central task. Because BEAM is about using simple electronics, the cost and complexity of microprocessors and the like is greatly reduced. It is not difficult to construct various BEAM creatures out of techno-trash! Using solarcells in BEAM designs means that there are never batteries to replace, and although comparatively slower than battery designs, youll have a functioning robot as long as theres enough light to read by. The trick to using the low power generated by solarcells is accomplished by using a simple circuit called a Solarengine. The Solarengine stores power from the solarcell into a capacitor, and then dumps it in one great burst to the motor when told to. This allows devices to operate in much lower light levels than otherwise possible. With that all said, lets get onto the star of this show - the Miniball!

Introduction to the MiniBall

The BEAM MiniBall 1.0 started out as an idea by Richard Weait of Toronto, Canada as a way to build a selfcontained solar-powered device that could compete in both the Photovore and Solaroller competitions at the 1993 BEAM Robot Olympics. It did marginally well, placing in both events. Not bad for a device that was essentially a solarengine circuit mounted in a pet store-bought hamster ball. Since then, it has evolve mechanically and electronically into the kit you have before you now - a high-activity, robust BEAM robot. The MiniBalls entire purpose in life is to store up solar power into a capacitor, then periodically use this energy to rotate its inner workings forward so it can roll forward. Thats it. By design, it has no way to steer, or way to sense which direction has more light, but despite this, it is a phototropic, or light-seeking robot that can find its way to a source of light. After our original introduction to the MiniBall, we built a small flock (is that the right term? Flock of MiniBalls?) that we set loose in our Robot Jurassic Park. These small 10cm (2-1/2) spheres happily rolled around, ricocheting off each other and the other robots in the park, and simply never got stuck. Other traditional BEAM designs required the odd human intervention to get them unstuck from a BEAM pile-up, or from a dead-end corner they couldnt turn out of, but the MiniBalls never required outside help. Being spherical, they didnt have a top or bottom side. And as the sphere was sealed, they hadnt any parts to get caught on any obstacles. Their only major problem is that they have a difficult time getting out of a depression (no, not a Im feeling blue depression) in their environment. That is, if they were released into the wild, they would happily roll down into a gutter or drainage basin and never be able to climb out. But since most desktops and Robot Jurassic Parks (RJP) dont have a low spot, this is not a problem. And even if a super-deluxe RJP had a beach with water, the sealed MiniBall would happily plop into the lake and float away!

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - INTRODUCTION - CONTD


MiniBall Behavior
The original purpose of MiniBalls in our Robot Jurassic Park were to be BEAM Sheep - robots that were easily herded and moved by the other robots in the park. At the end of each week, we were finding that the majority of the MiniBalls had rolled into the brightest spot in the park. This by itself wasnt a big deal, but we were continually having to reshuffle the MiniBalls every Monday morning - a strange thing to have to do for a device that was supposed to be moving in random directions. After checking how level the park surface was, and removing the other creatures from the park, we allowed the MiniBalls full reign to do what they do for the next few weeks, without interference. What emerged from the experiment was that these devices had a general phototropic (lightseeking) ability. We say general because its not like they zoned in on the source of light and promptly marched over to it like the Photopopper 4.2 Photovore does. These BEAMbots took their time getting to the source of light. This phototropic behaviour is the result of two factors, the first being the chaotic behaviour of the MiniBall when it stops moving (swaying & spinning around), and secondly the built-in timer that tells it when to discharge its energy. Your MiniBall kit has an adjustable timer that can be set from 1 minute to several days between discharges, and the longer it stores energy (up to a point), the more distance it will cover when it decides to roll (well, duh, right?). When its facing into the light, it will gather more energy than when its looking away from the light (duh, part 2!). At the end of every travel burst, the MiniBall rocks and sways, and looks in a new direction, and the timer resets and starts counting down again.

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - C ONSTRUCTION


Lets get to work. Hopefully, you will have fun putting your MiniBall together, and more fun watching it roll over your workbench. Just watch out for the edge - we have a MiniBall named Humpty for good reason!
Step 1: Install the 4536 timer chip. Make sure that the little nick on the chip matches the picture on the PCB. Chips installed backwards dont seem to work very well...
2.2k

M MOTOR

DIODE

ABCD

Leave 0

Balance

300k

Trig 0-OFF 1-ON

D Bal

TRIG.

ABCD

Leave 0

5 resistors. Step 3: Install the one 2.2k5 resistor.


Step 2: Install the ten 300k

4536

300k 300k

3 2

Install the 2.2k resistor

Install 4536 Timer Chip

Install 10 300k resistors

M MOTOR

Step 4: Install the DIP switch as shown. Nothing surprising here!


DIODE

ABCD

Leave 0

Balance

300k

2.2k

Step 5: Install the four 0.22F capacitors. It doesnt matter which way they go in. Step 6: Install the diode (make sure the band on the diode matches where the band is on the PCB)

Trig 0-OFF 1-ON

D Bal

TRIG.

ABCD

Leave 0

4536

ABCD

Balance

Trig 0-OFF 1-ON

224

ABCD

224

224

4536

224

Install two 0.33F 2.5V Capacitors (note position of stripe)

1 2 3 4 5

6
224

Install diode

300k 300k

Install DIP Switch

Install 0.22F Caps

M MOTOR

DIODE

Step 7: Install the pair of 0.33F 2.5 volt capacitors. These are linked in series, so they turn into one big 0.165 farad 5 volt capacitor. We do this so that the 5 volt solarcell can be better utilized.
2.2k

Leave 0

300k

1 2 3 4 5

TRIG.

Bal

Leave 0

Step 8: Install the 4700F capacitor. This cap keeps power going to the timer when the two 0.33F caps are discharging and making the MiniBall go zooooom! It also acts as a ballast to help keep the MiniBall upright. Mount it so that it lays directly on top of the 4536 timer chip we installed earlier.

300k 300k

Gold Cap 2.5V 0.33F

Install 4700F Capacitor (note position of stripe)

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - C ONSTRUCTION (CONTINUED)


M MOTOR

DIODE

Step 9: Now install the 3906 transistor as shown. Do the same for the 3904 transistor and the 1381 trigger. Make sure the are oriented just as shown in the picture, otherwise they wont work.
2.2k

ABCD

Leave 0

Balance

300k

1 2

Gold Cap 2.5V 0.33F


Trig 0-OFF 1-ON

9a

3906 transistor 3904 transistor

3906

ABCD

Leave 0

224

4536 4536

9c

3904

Gold Cap 2.5V 0.33F

224

3 4 5
224
300k 300k Bal

TRIG.

9b

1381 trigger

Youve finished all you can on this side - now lets flip it over, and get the serious hardware installed!
+ GEARMOTOR Solar Cell MINIBALL 1.0
(C) Solarbotics Ltd 1998

1381

224

Step 10: Find the plastic clamp, the one large bolt and nut, and the smaller piece of brass tubing. Youll be able to identify it because it is the only piece that will slide inside of one of the other pieces. Place the clamp over the tube, and slip the bolt through, like in this picture. Then mount it in the clamp slot, with the clamp side up. Secure it with the nut on Arranging the Clamp Parts the underside with the washer, but not too tight - we will still have to align it with the motor.

10

Install clamp & tube assembly with bolt, washer, and lock nut.

View from FRONT

View from BACK (note washer)

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - C ONSTRUCTION (CONTINUED)


Step 11a: Locate the lock-collar and the brass tube with the cutout in one end. Well solder these together to make the driveshaft for your MiniBall. Step 11b: Place the lock-collar inside the end of tube with the cutout so the lock-screw isnt rubbing anything. Step 11c: Carefully solder the lock-collar in place. There is a lot of metal here, so give your soldering iron lots of time to heat up the parts beforee you try applying the solder. If your soldering iron cant put out enough heat, try spot-soldering the lock-colar to the tube in just one or two places. The picture shows what a high power soldering iron can do (make nice smooth fillets all the way around). Whatever you do DONT solder the little lock-screw to anything! Step11d: After your assembled driveshaft has cooled, slide it onto the gearmotor, and tighten the lock-screw down with the included allenwrench.

11a

Get the parts

11b

Align Lock-Collar

11d

Attach Driveshaft to Gearmotor

11c

Solder in Lock-Collar

+ GEARMOTOR Solar Cell -

MINIBALL 1.0
(C) Solarbotics Ltd 1998

Step 12: Next, the gearmotor! This is a hand-crafted and tuned piece of machinery - not to be abused (dont throw it at your cat)! Bolt it into place using the two small screws and lock washers. Dont ignore the lock washers, as theyll keep your gearmotor in place nice and snug over the many years your MiniBall will be running.

12

Install clamp & tube assembly

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - C ONSTRUCTION (CONTINUED)


Step 13: Next is the aligning the clamp. This is pretty straightforward just look down the tube in the clamp, and make sure the motor is in dead-centre. Start by pushing the clamp all the way down to the bottom of the slot, even over some of the solder connections if you have to. If it is aligned, tighten it down good, and If not, slide the clamp up until it is, then tighten the bolt.

13

Aligning the clamp tube.

Step 14: This is simple enough - soldering the motor to the PCB. Connect the red wire to the pad nearest the +, and the blue wire to the other one.

14

Attaching the motor wires

Step 15: Solder the red & black twisted wire to your solarcell and to the pads on the PCB marked SolarCell (duh). Red goes to positive (+), black goes to negative (). Once this connection is made, TEST it. Make sure it spins the motor once every minute (the default setting). If it does, glue the solarcell and wires to the face of the PCB, as close to the center as you can get. Otherwise, figure out why it doesnt work!

15

Attaching the solarcell to the PCB

The Brains and Brawn are finished! Now for the Body...
Step 16: Remove the plastics spheres from the wrapping, and clip off the hanging tabs. If you want to get real fancy, file off the remaining little overhang to make the ball really smooth.

16

Clip off the tabs

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - C ONSTRUCTION (CONTINUED)


Step 17: There are two ways of going about this step. The first is you can cut out the triangle, and find the center point of the hemisphere as shown, or you can simply place the hemisphere on the circle, and eyeball the center point from directly above. The first method is more accurate, but the second is quicker - up to you. The first method require you go back to the days of elementary school and do some cutting with safety scissors and taping paper together. Cut out the shape below, crease it at the lines and tape it together so it forms a little pyramid. Place the pyramid on the circle with the three lines (the Peace sign) so each of the points falls on a line, and place the half-ball on top, on the edge of the circle. Where the pyramid point touches the ball, thats the center point! Mark the point with a dot from a permanent-ink marker. Mark the center for each half-ball.

Center the pyramid on the lines, and put a half-ball on top to locate the center!

Cut this out, fold on the dotted lines, and tape together!

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - C ONSTRUCTION (CONTINUED)


Step 18: Take each of your suction cups, and stick it on the inside of each half-ball; right underneath where you put the marks.

18

Attaching the Suction Cups

Step 19: Take the remaining brass sleeve and push it onto one of the suction cup ends. If the fit isnt particularly snug, you may want to glue it to the suction cup.

19

Mounting the other Brass Tube

Step 20: Now the fun part - putting the whole thing together! Push the MiniBall PCB onto the other suction cup/half-ball by its brass tube. Slip the other half-ball onto the brass tube held by the clamp on the PCB. The two halves should meet and snap together! If they dont, check for misalignment where you stuck the suction cups to the ball-halves. Also make sure your solarcell isnt scraping the inside of the ball - this will leave scratches and quite possibly keep your MiniBall from operating. You may have to re-adjust where the solarcell is positioned. If you experience slippage where the driveshaft meets the suction cup, use glue to attach it firmly to the cup.

20b

Slide the Shaft onto the PCB Shaft

20a

Slide the Driveshaft onto the Suction Cup

M INIB ALL 1 .0 - O PERATING INSTRUCTIONS


There isnt much to set on your MiniBall - essentially just the time delay. The DIP switches you installed allow you to select how long you want it to wait before discharges - the table below shows you what the settings are for each time duration. (Just in case you need to know - 0 means off, 1 means on. We recommend you dont bother switching D to 1, as it will mean you will be waiting a minimum of 4.43 HOURS before discharges. Not exactly fun. But do experiment, as lower-light environments mean it will take longer for your MiniBall to charge up, so settings of 2 to 8 minutes may be necessary.

A B C D Minutes
0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1.04 2.08 4.16 8.31 16.63 33 67 133 266 532 1064 2128 4256 8513 17025 34050

0.02 0.03 0.07 0.14 0.28 0.55 1.11 2.22 4.43 8.87 17.73 35.47 70.94 141.88 283.75 567.50

Hours

Switch E controls if the 4.8volt limiter is put into effect. We recommend you do, as it will protect your capacitors from accidental overcharge. There is an additional benefit in that if your solarcell does charge they system up to 4.8 volts before the timer expires, it forces a trigger, and then resets the timer. This keeps your MiniBall from waiting too long when it is at a full charge. This means that in direct sunlight, your MiniBall will be GKEJA active!

R2 300k cc S1 C1 .22uF R1 300k C2 .22


+

Timing components selected to provide ~4.1 Hz. Vcc D1 1N914 Vcc + C5 4700uF

1 2 3 4 5

10 9 8 7 6 R7 R9 300k300k R6 R8 300k300k R3 R10 R11

9 10 11 12 6 7 14 3 15 1 2

A B C D

4536 U1

OUT1 OUT2 DOUT

4 5 13

0 0 0 - 1m2s 1 0 0 - 2m5s 0 1 0 - 4m10s 1 1 0 - 8m18s 0 0 1 - 16m38s 1 0 1 - 33m 0 1 1 - 67m 1 1 1 - 133m

SW DIP-5 SW5 - 1381 Disable

8BYP CLKINH OINH IN1 MONO S R

C7

.22

M1 MOTOR R4 2.2k PNP 3906 + C3 0.33F 2.5V + C4 0.33F 2.5V U2 1381 B Output Gnd C6 C .22

300k 300k 300k

A -

SolarCellVcc 3733 E

3904 NPN

R5 300k