Friday, April 26, 2013

Arduino Mega 2560 + Raspberry Pi experimental platform

First experiment with a mobile platform using the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino mega 2560.  The kit comes from and is a very basic starter kit with the mega 2560, motor driver board and the sensor shield as well as most of the car parts themselves. I purchased them from for about $80 each.  Not bad when the Mega alone sells for $60+ bucks.

  We purchased 2 of them so my son and I can build them together. They have been very educational, but even more aggravating. The paperwork has to be searched out on the internet, and has been written by running another language through some translation software. Needless to say, the documents in English do not say what is intended and is very hard to decipher. Same for the support site. The forums are updated, but it looks like the replies to customers are run through translation software. Plus user photos are missing from the forums.  The last avenue of support.... They say there is a support wiki, but when I try to log from multiple links, I get the dreaded 'forbidden access' error message.
  I am not alone here, everyone has problems with the wiring and getting help solving it... Almost nothing in Google searches as well. 4 paragraphs in the instructions does not help wire it... It really needs photos to show the connections the instructions can't express.
  The vehicle is pretty straight forward and can be done from the instructions. I have worked in hobby electronics and know that I will figure it out soon, mostly because I own test equipment and know what to look for.  But for the average person entering into Arduino and robots? I would really research this kit first and understand what needs to be plugged into where,  before purchasing it. Their instructions are on the web (check amazon's product description for the link.) be sure to read the 'coding' section, since that has the few paragraphs on the wiring.
  Overall, I am impressed with it and think it is well worth the money. Very configurable and can be expanded forever. If Sainsmart would develop their documents a little better, this could be the ideal entry level system at an incredible price! The way it is?.... I am going to learn more about computer hardware and electronics than I had planned too.
Stay tuned.... PI Hard!

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