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is to follow the line made with black tape over the white background or vise verse. The LFR perhaps is one of the most popular robot build by the roboticists. What makes this LFR is so popular, I think because of its simplicity and yet it could be used as the teaching tools of how we could implement the industrial standard control system such as the PID (Proportional Integral Deferential) control system on this robot. Another factor probably is the increase of the LFR annual tournament conducted in many countries.
The basic principal of the line follower robot actually almost the same as the light follower robot, but instead of tracking the light the LFR sensor is used to track the line, therefore by differentiating the line color and it’s surrounding (black over white or vise verse) any light sensitive sensor could be used to navigate the mobile robot to follow this track.
Base on the above fact, I designed the simplest possible electronics circuit that use the navigation principal shown above to track the black tape line.
The 2N3904 NPN Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT) is designed to operate as the current gainer amplifier; this means we operate the 2N3904 transistor in its linear region. The advantages of using the transistor in its linear region is; the transistor collector current passed through the DC motor will varying according to the base current which controlled by the LDR (Light Dependent Transistor) and 10 K trimmer potentiometer (trimpot). Therefore the current through the DC motor will vary according to the light intensity received by the LDR. Using this simple principal we could easily used this circuit to track the black tape by locating the LDR and the white LED in such a way that the LDR will receive less light from the white LED when the LDR position right on top of the black tape and this will make the DC motor to turn slowly (less collector current). When the LDR position outside the black tape (on the top of the white background) the LDR will receive more light from the white LED; this will make the motor to turn faster (more collector current).
so the Line Follower Robot could keep follow the black track line. photo transistor). .g. The key of successfully building this circuit is heavily depend on the geared DC motor we choosed. The lower RPM is required here because the LDR has a slow response comparing to other light sensitive component (e. You have to choose the geared DC motors which rated 5 volt that have low power consumption (small current) as the 2N3094 transistor only allowed max 100 mA current on its collector (you could replace it with 2N2222A transistor.The trimpot is use to adjust the DC motor speed. max 800mA) and try to use a low RPM (rotation per minute) geared DC motor (remember must be the geared DC motor). You could always experiment with your own geared DC motor speed on different track’s route by adjusting the 10 K Ohm trimport. while the 1N4148 diode is use to protect the transistor again the EMF (Electromotive Force) generated by the DC motor inductor when its switch off.
You could read more information about building the PWM based Line Follower Robot on “The LM324 Quad Op-Amp Line Follower Robot with Pulse Width Modulation” project on this blog This line follower robot use what is called the “differential drive” steering method. now its time to build the robot chassis. by changing the transistor collector current).e. As you know how this two transistors line follower robot circuit works. Therefore by arching to the left and to the right or go straight the robot could easily follow the black line track. This mean by slowing the rotation speed of the left DC motor will make the robot to arc to the left and slowing the rotation speed of the right DC motor will make the robot to arc to the right. but for the geared DC motor used in this Line Follower Robot project we simply take advantage of the transistor in its linear region to change its speed (i.One of disadvantage using the transistor on its linear region to control the DC motor’s speed is the power dissipation (power loss as heat) on the transistor especially if we use large power DC motor. The LFR Chassis Construction The LFR construction in this tutorial is very simple as I just use a 1 mm cardboard for the main body construction and use caster (the third wheel) made from bead and paperclip as shown on my previous posted blog Building BRAM your first Autonomous Mobile Robot using Microchip PIC Microcontroller. which use two independent motor mounted in fixed positions on the left and right side of robot’s chassis. . If both motor rotate at the same speed than the robot will simply go straight as shown on this following picture. the common and efficient method to control the motor’s speed is to use the PWM (pulse width modulation) which make the transistor on and off rapidly.
. these following pictures show how to assembly all these parts together.By using this easy to handle construction material hoping you could easily build this Line Follower Robot.
The electronics component is soldered on the 18 x 38 mm prototype PCB and I just use the duct tape to hold the LDR and LED together as shown on the above circuit.I use double tape to hold the 3 x AA (4. .5 volt) battery holder and the micro geared DC motor (now you understand how important this double tape to the robot’s builder). the DC motor also is reinforced with the plastic cable’s ties. To make it more interesting I put one three colors auto flashing LED for the indicator.
Two 10 K Ohm Trimmer Potentiometer 12. Two 1N4148 Diodes 13. Two micro geared DC motor rated 5 volt. double tape.25 watt resistor 8.25 watt (optional) 11. . unloaded current: < 50mA 6. Thick paper (1 mm). 18 x 38 mm prototype PCB 7. 9. One paper clip and bead for the caster (the third wheel) 3. One 3 x AA Battery holder and 3 x AA (1. Two 3mm white LED 10. duct tape. Two LDR (about 2 ~ 5K Ohm in the bright light and 100K Ohm in the dark). plastic cable’s ties 2. Two 220 Ohm 0.5 Volt Alkaline) Battery 5. One auto flashing RGB LED with one 220 ohm resistor 0. unloaded RPM < 50.Bellow is the complete list of material and electronics component used to build this line follower robot: 1. Adequate Bolts and Nuts 4. Two 2N3904 or 2N2222A Transistors.
. although it’s possible to use just a discrete electronics components but its required more complex circuit which than the microcontroller based solution become more simple and cheap to be used.Now it’s time to show the capabilities of this simple and easy to build line follower robot. The Final Thought As you’ve seen from the demo video above this two transistors Line Follower Robot sometimes out perform many of the microcontroller based line follower robot designed and for sure using more complex circuit (e. On my second part of the line follower robot (LFR). For higher speed line follower robot with more complex track.g. which eventually do the same job as demonstrated by this simple two transistors based line follower robot. we need to use the microcontroller. we will build the microcontroller’s based LFR which using more advance sensors to track the line compared to this one. the 8-bits microcontroller and the motor controller) and not to mention the microcontroller’s programming.
Integrate and Differential) which take advantage of the programmable feature of microcontroller to calculate the PID equation to successfully navigate the black track line on a white background surface. Designing a non microcontroller based LFR is quite challenging tasks as we need to limit the electronic components numbers so the LFR will not too complicated to be built by most average robotics beginners or electronic hobbyists. The Line Follower Robot This Line Follower Robot basically use a Cadmium Sulphide (CdS) photocell sensor or known as Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) and the high intensity blue Light Emitting Diode (LED) to illuminate the area under the photocell sensor to sense the black track line and the DC motor speed control technique to navigate the black line track as shown on this following picture: . On this tutorial we are going to build yet another LFR using just the standard analog components easily found on the market but use the same speed control method technique found in many good microcontroller based Line Follower Robot design. the LFR actually could be implemented in many ways start from a simple two transistors to a sophisticated PID (Proportional. On this tutorial you will also learn many useful information of how to use the operational amplifier. but at the same time we need to have a good speed control mechanism in order for the LFR to navigate the black track line successfully.Designing a simple and yet functional Line Follower Robot (LFR) is always a fascinating and challenging subject to be learned. The microcontroller based design LFR in the other hand is a popular choice because it reduces a number of electronic components significantly while still providing a flexible programmable control to the LFR. As the result we could get a good precision analog line follower robot that comparable to the microcontroller based Line Follower Robot design.
For example if the proportion of pulse ON time is 50% to the total pulse period than we say that the PWM duty cycle is .The easy method to navigate the black track line is to turn ON and OFF the left or the right DC motor according to the sensor reading (black turn OFF and white turn ON). The common technique to control the motor speed efficiently is to use a pulse signal known as the pulse width modulation or PWM for short. but using this method will make the LFR to move in zigzag way. PWM basically is an ON and OFF pulse signal with a constant period or frequency. By proportionally control both left and right DC motor speed according to the light intensity level received by the photocell sensor (reflected back by the black track line) we could make the LFR easily navigate this track. The proportion of pulse ON time to the pulse period is called a “duty cycle” and it expressed in percentage.
Two Light Dependent Resistor (dark above 100KOhm and below 5KOhm on bright light intensity) 4. The brighter light intensity level received by sensor (sensor is on the white surface) will result in higher PWM duty cycle percentage and the darker light intensity level (sensor is on the black line) received by photocell sensor will result in lower PWM duty cycle percentage. Capacitors: 47uF/16v (1) and 0. and 100K (1) 2. Therefore to make the LFR smoothly navigate the black track line. Diodes: 1N4148 (2) 6. 1K (2).50%. Nuts. CD/DVD ROM (2) 14. Plastic Beads and Paper Clip for the castor (the third wheel) 15. this mean we could vary the DC motor speed just by changing the PWM duty cycle. Trimpots: 100K (2) 3. the lower percentage produces less power than the higher percentage. 3xAA Battery holder 13. 47K (2). High Intensity 3 mm blue Light Emitting Diode (2) 7. Bolt. By converting each of the photocell sensor light intensity level reading to the corresponding voltage level we could achieve this objective by using what is known as the Voltage Control Pulse Width Modulation principal. Prototype Board: 52 x 38 mm for main board and 50 x 15 mm for sensors 12. Therefore by changing the PWM duty cycles we could change the average voltage across the DC motor terminals. Now let list down the necessary electronic and other supported components to build this awesome LFR: 1. 15K (1). On this tutorial we will learn of how to build this LFR with Voltage Control PWM using the same working principal found in many today’s modern microcontroller but using just the analog electronic components. Optional 5 mm auto flash RGB LED with 330 Ohm resistor for the power indicator 8. we have to adjust the PWM duty cycle according to the photocell sensor reading. Actually generating the PWM signal is easier with microcontroller instead of discrete components because all you have to do is to program the microcontroller PWM peripheral to do the task. 33K (1). DC Motor: Solarbotics GM2 Geared DC motor with Wheel (2) 11. Double Tape and Standard Electrical Tape for the black line The complete Line Follower Robot electronics schematic is shown on this following picture: . IC: National Semiconductor LM324 Quad Operational Amplifier (1) 10. The PWM duty cycle percentage is corresponding to the average power produced by the pulse signal. Resistors: 220 (2). Transistors: BC639 (2) 9.1uF (5) 5.
. Next by continuously comparing this ramp voltage according to the voltage level produced by the photocell sensor using the comparator circuit we could produced the exact voltage control PWM as shown on this following picture. The voltage control PWM could be generated by first using the triangle signal generator which provide the basic PWM pulse frequency and the necessary ramp voltage (rise and down) to produce the PWM signal. The dual in line LM324 packages contains four identical op-amps and is specially designed to operate as an analog device.The Voltage Control PWM The main brain of this Line Follower Robot is lay behind the LM324 quad operational amplifier from National Semiconductor.
You could read more about how the comparator works on Working with the Comparator Circuit in this blog. and if we set the threshold point voltage lower. then the ON period will be shorten. If we set the threshold point voltage higher.When the triangle rise ramp signal reaches the voltage threshold point it will turn ON the comparator because the comparator non inverting input (V+) voltage is greater than the comparator inverting input (V-) voltage and when the down ramp signal reaches the voltage threshold point it will turn OFF the comparator because now the comparator inverting input (V-) voltage is greater than the comparator non inverting input (V+) voltage. The ramp signal is provided by the two op-amps (U1A and U1B) that generate the triangle wave signal while the comparator for producing the PWM to each DC motor is provided by the other two op-amps (U1C and U1D) that receipt its input from the voltage divider circuit (VR and LDR) which provide the voltage threshold point and together with the triangle wave to produce the required PWM pulse . then the ON period will be longer. Therefore by varying the threshold point voltage we could also vary the ON and OFF period of the comparator which is the exact behavior that we are looking for to produce the required PWM signal to drive the Line Follower Robot geared DC motor.
e. 100) then the PWM peripheral will turn on to the output port and when it reach the maximum value (i.g. You could read . 255) it will turn off to the output port. 100). when the digital counter counting up and reach the threshold point (i.e. Microcontroller uses the digital comparator to compare these two digital values.The PWM principal explained above is also used in many today’s modern microcontrollers PWM peripheral. The ramp signal is replaced by the digital counter (TIMER peripheral) that will count up from 0 to 255 and start from 0 again. while the threshold point voltage is provided by threshold point register that hold the digital value (e. but instead of processing the analog signal it process the digital signal. Therefore by changing the threshold point register value we could change the PWM duty cycle output.
The following picture is the Line Follower Robot circuit prototype on a breadboard complete with sensor (LED and LDR pairs) and the GM2 geared DC motor from Solarbotics. In order to make it easy to understand I redraw the electronic schematic circuit separately as shown on this following picture: . the prototype circuit enables us to fine tune the electronics design and give us the picture (signal wave) of how the circuit really works.more about microcontroller based PWM on H-Bridge Microchip PIC Microcontroller PWM Motor Controller andIntroduction to AVR Microcontroller Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) articles on this blog. When designing the electronic circuit is a good habit to prototype it first. The Triangle Wave Generator Circuit Now as you understand the principal of how the Line Follower Circuit works than let’s take a look at the triangle wave generator circuit.
Vcc = 4.8 Vout-u1b <= 0. when the U1B output voltage reach the threshold voltage below Vref than it will turn the U1A output to LOW (0).6 Volt Therefore the U1B output will ramp down to about 0.4 Vcc Now putting all the resistors value then we will get this following result: (47 (.5 Volt Vth >= Vref.6 volt than the U1A output will turn OFF. the C2 capacitor will start to charge through the R5 resistor. therefore the U1B output will start to ramp down. Vref = 0. The U1A non inverting input (V+) get the positive feedback from R3 and R4. .Vout-u1b) / (R4 + R3)) + Vout-u1b >= 0. This bottom threshold voltage could be calculated as follow: Vth = (R4 (Vout-u1a – Vout-u1b) / (R4 + R3)) + Vou-u1b.4 Vcc (R4 (Vcc – Vout-u1b) / (R4 + R3)) + Vout-u1b <= 0.6 volt to 2. The integrator uses the R5 and C2 to produce the necessary triangle linear ramp (up and down) on its output.Vout-u1b)/ 147) + Vout-u1b >= 0.4 Vcc 1. Vout-u1a = 0. this is due to the electronic components tolerance value (resistors and capacitors).5 Volt Vth <= Vref.4 Vcc .6 Volt Therefore the triangle voltage will ramp up from 0. The frequency of the triangle wave could be calculated as follow: Frequency = (1 / (4 x R5 x C2)) x (R3/R4) Hertz Now putting all the resistors and capacitor value then we will get this following result: Frequency = (1 / (4 x 15.61 Hz As you might guess the actual frequency measured on this Line Follower Robot prototype circuit above is about 292 Hz.To generate the triangle wave we need to use the Schmitt Trigger circuit (also called a comparator with hysteresis) that act as ON and OFF switch to the Integrator circuit input. When the power up we assume the U1A output is HIGH (Vcc).3 Vout-u1b + Vout-u1b >= 1.4 Vcc (R4 (.8 Vout-u1b >= 2.0000001)) x (100. This upper threshold voltage could be calculated as follow: Vth = (R4 (Vout-u1a – Vout-u1b) / (R4 + R3)) + Vou-u1b.6 volt then ramp down to 0. Because the R5 and C2 is connected to the U1B inverting input (V-). Vcc = 4.4 Vcc Now putting all the resistors value then we will get this following result: (47 (Vcc – Vout-u1b)/ 147) + Vout-u1b <= 0.3 Vout-u1b + Vout-u1b <= 1.0. Next the C2 capacitor will discharge through R5 and the UA1B output will start to ramp up and it start to increase the voltage across the R4 (Vth – threshold voltage) until the Vth voltage above the Vref voltage then the U1A output will turn to HIGH and the whole cycle will repeat again.000 x 0.000) = 354. Vref = 0. Vout-u1a = Vcc.4 – 0.6 volt repeatedly.000/47.
The 100K trimpot and LDR basically is the voltage divider circuit when the LDR detect the black track line it will receive less light intensity (LDR resistance increase) and the voltage (V-) will increase. As the robot move on the black track line the LDR will continuously capture the reflected light and convert this light intensity into the corresponding voltage and feeding it to the inverting input (V-) of U1C (left sensor) and U1D (right sensor). this . The voltage divider R1 and R2 provide the voltage reference (DC bias voltage) to both U1A and U1B op-amps. The Sensor Circuit As mention above this Line Follower Robot take advantage of the photo-resistor (CdS) known as Light Dependent Resistor (LDR). therefore less light will reflect to the LDR surface. The LDR will decreases its resistance in the presence of light and increase its resistance in the dark. The region under the LDR is illuminate with a high intensity blue LED. the white surface will reflect most of the light to the LDR surface while the black track line will absorb most of the light.Therefore if you want to have the exact frequency you could put a 100K trimport in series with R5 resistors.
When the LDR on the white surface it will receive maximum light intensity (LDR resistance decrease) and the voltage (V-) will decrease.input source to make the Line Follower Robot detect the white line on the black surface instead of normal black line on the white surface. The 0. The Line Follower Robot Construction The Line Follower Robot construction could be constructed freely but the easiest one is to use the discarded CD/DVD ROM as shown on this following pictures: . this will increase the PWM duty cycle output and as the result the geared DC motor will turn fast. The transistor is operated as a switch which turns ON and OFF the geared DC motor according to the PWM pulse current it received from the comparator.1uF capacitor across the geared DC motor’s terminal is used to reduce noise generated by the DC motor.will decrease the PWM duty cycle output and as the result the geared DC motor will turn slowly or stop. By using two DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw) switches you could achieve this behavior as shown on this following picture: The geared DC motor driver uses the BC639 transistor and the base terminal is connected to the comparator output through the 1K resistor. You could simply exchange the comparator V+ and V. For more information about using transistor as switch you could read Using Transistor as Switch article on this blog.
3xAA battery holder. The sensor sensitivities and the Line . main board and sensor board using the double tape.I glue the two CDROM together in order to make more room and attached the two DC motors.
After putting all the parts together now is time to watch how this nice Line Follower Robot in action: The Final Thought As you’ve seen from the demo video above this Line Follower Robot design is capable to handle and smoothly navigate a quite complex black track line. Building the Line Follower Robot (LFR) is one of my favorite projects as I enjoy designing and making this kind of robot. building. and playing with this analog Line Follower Robot. This prove that a good analog Line Follower Robot design sometimes could outperform many microcontrollers based Line Follower Robot. watching. .Follower Robot speed could be controlled by adjusting the 100K trimport. it also gives much joy and fun to my kids as well. I hope this project will give you as much joy as I did.