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solar bug robot

Solar Bug 1 Combo Tutorial

solar bug robot

Before you begin:
Please identify the parts needed for this tutorial.

Printable Version
Download PDF Version (1.89MB)
PCB Layout

Tools Needed:
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tweezers
  • Basic soldering skills
Parts Checklist:
  • (1) PCB Bug Board
  • (2) Namiki Motors (eccentrics removed)
  • (2) Fuse clips (motor mounts)
  • (1) Terminal Block
  • (1) Silicon Tubing (used for traction)
  • (1) Push pin support - "Front Wheel"
  • (2) Photodiodes
  • (2) 2.2K Resistors
  • (2) 0.22uF Capacitors
  • (2) 3906 Transistors
  • (2) 3904 Transistors
  • (2) 1381 Voltage Detectors
  • (1) 4700uF Capacitor
  • (1) 100K Potentiometer
  • (1) Sanyo Solar Cell
PCB Bug Board Namiki Motors Fuse Clips and Terminal Block Push Pin and Silicon Tubing Photodiodes 2.2K Resistors 22uF Capacitors 3906 Transistor 3904 Transistor 1381 Voltage Regulator 4700uF Capacitor 100K Potentiometer Sanyo Solar Cell


Step 1: Attach Fuse Clips and Terminal Block
Be sure to look through every picture before attempting the step. Viewing all the pictures before you start will help you to understand each stage. Every picture in this tutorial may be clicked upon to open a larger view.

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tape
This is a photograph of the bare Bug Board before we get started Start by heating a small amount of solder to the rectangular silver pads where the fuse clips will be mounted.  Let the tip of the soldering iron heat the pad before applying the solder. Solder the fuse clip, angled tab down to the retangular pad on the Bug Board. Solder the fuse clip, angled tab down to the retangular pad on the Bug Board. Place the green terminal block on the PCB.  The square holes of the block should be facing the R3 hole on the PCB Bug Board.  I find that using a small piece of tape helps secure the block while soldering. Solder the terminal block to the PCB Bug Board at the positions noted. Remove the tape used to secure the terminal block and proceed to the next step.


Step 2: Add 2.2K Resistors
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Bend the 2.2K resistor leads for both resistors as shown. Drop one of the 2.2K resistors into place on the PCB Bug Board, marked R2. Solder the 2.2K resistor to the PCB Bug Board as shown. Trim excess wire. Drop the remaining 2.2K resistors into place on the PCB Bug Board, marked R3. Solder the 2.2K resistor to the PCB Bug Board as shown. Trim excess wire. Anther view of the PCB Bug Board with both 2.2K resistors soldered into place.


Step 3: Connecting Transistors
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tape
Drop one of the 3904 Transistors into place on the PCB Bug Board, marked Q3.  Use a small piece of tape to secure the 3904 Transistor.  This will help when soldering the component into place. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the 3904 Transistor into place at the three holes indicated. Trim excess wire from the newly soldered 3904 Transistor. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such. Drop the other 3904 Transistors into place on the PCB Bug Board, marked Q4.  Use a small piece of tape to secure the 3904 Transistor.  This will help when soldering the component into place. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the 3904 Transistor into place at the three holes indicated. Trim excess wire from the newly soldered 3904 Transistor. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such. Gently press one of the 3906 Transistors into place on the PCB Bug Board marked Q1.  As you press the component into place, the wire leads will flare just enough to friction lock the part while soldering. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the 3906 Transistor into place at the three holes indicated. Trim excess wire from the newly soldered 3906 Transistor. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such. Gently press the remaining 3906 Transistors into place on the PCB Bug Board marked Q2.  As you press the component into place, the wire leads will flare just enough to friction lock the part while soldering. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the 3906 Transistor into place at the three holes indicated. Trim excess wire from the newly soldered 3906 Transistor. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such. Gently press one of the 1381 Voltage Detectors into place on the PCB Bug Board marked U2.  As you press the component into place, the wire leads will flare just enough to friction lock the part while soldering. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the 1381 Voltage Detector into place at the three holes indicated. Trim excess wire from the newly soldered 1381 Voltage Detector. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such. Gently press the other 1381 Voltage Detectors into place on the PCB Bug Board marked U1.  As you press the component into place, the wire leads will flare just enough to friction lock the part while soldering. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the 1381 Voltage Detector into place at the three holes indicated. Trim excess wire from the newly soldered 1381 Voltage Detector. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such.


Step 4: Add the 0.22uF Capacitors
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Push one of the 0.22uF Capacitors into place on the PCB Bug Board marked C2. Solder the connection as shown. Trim excess wire. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such. Push the remaining 0.22uF Capacitors into place on the PCB Bug Board marked C2. Solder the connection as shown. Trim excess wire. Flip the PCB Bug Board back over and your newly soldered component should appear as such.


Step 5: Add Photodiodes
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tape
Drop one of the Photodiodes into place on the PCB Bug Board marked D1.  The flattened edge of the Photodiode should be facing towards the center of the board.  Use a small piece of tape to secure the Photodiode approximately one fourth inch about the Bug Board.  This will help hold the Photodiode in place while soldering. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the Photodiode to the board as indicated. Trim excess wire. Remove the tape used to hold the Photodiode in place. Gently bend the Photodiode forward as shown in the picture. Drop the other Photodiode into place on the PCB Bug Board marked D2.  The flattened edge of this Photodiode should be facing towards the outside edge of the board.  Use a small piece of tape to secure the Photodiode approximately one fourth inch about the Bug Board.  This will help hold the Photodiode in place while soldering. Flip the PCB Bug Board over and solder the Photodiode to the board as indicated. Trim excess wire. Remove the tape used to hold the Photodiode in place. Gently bend the Photodiode forward as shown in the picture.


Step 6: Soldering the 100K Potiometer
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tape
Drop the 100K Potantiometer into place on the PCB Bug Board marked R1.  Use a small piece of tape to secure the 100K Potentiometer.  This will help while soldering this component into place. Solder the 100K Potentiometer to the PCB Bug Board at the three positions marked. Trim excess wire. Remove the tape used while soldering.


Step 7: Add the Motors
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tweezers
Another view of the previous step. Start by heating a small amount of solder to the small square pads directly adjacent to the fuse clips.  Let the tip of the soldering iron heat the pad before applying the solder. Gently slip the silicon tubing over the motor shafts.  Trim any excess tubing. Gently snap the first motor in place as shown. Carefully surface solder the negative (blue) wire of the motor to the (-) pad located at M1. Carefully surface solder the positive (red) wire of the motor to the (+) pad located at M1. Gently snap the second motor in place as shown. Carefully surface solder the negative (blue) wire of the motor to the (-) pad located at M2. Carefully surface solder the positive (red) wire of the motor to the (+) pad located at M2.


Step 8: Add the 4700uF Capacitor
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Bend the wires of the 4700uF Capacitor as shown and drop into place on the PCB Bug Board marked C1.  The 4700uF Capacitor does have polarity, and the negative terminal is labeled as such. Solder the 4700uF Capacitor to the PCB Bug Board at the two positions marked. Trim excess wire. Proceed to Stage 9.


Step 9: Add the Front Support
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Tape
Use a small piece of tape to secure the push pin support in place.  The head of the pin should stick up above the 100K Potentiometer roughly one fourth inch. Solder the push pin support to the PCB Bug Board as shown. Trim excess wire. Proceed to Stage 10.


Step 10: Add the Power System
Take your robot outside in full sunlight for best results. The robot may turn only to the left or only to the right. To fix this: use a small flat-head screw dirver to adjust the 100K potentiometer. If the robot heads towards the left, turn the "arrow" on the 100K potentiometer slightly (10 degrees at a time) to the right, and vise versa. Tune the potentiometer until the robot uses both motors to reach the brightest light source.

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Glass Sanyo Solar Cell Expose the adhesive foam on the back of the solar cell, and then bend the wires as shown. Press the PCB Bug Board on top of the solar cell.  The adhesive foam should stick the solar cell to the Bug Board easily. Plug the positive (red) wire of the solar cell into the terminal block as shown.  Then use a small screw driver to secure the locking mechanism of the terminal block. Plug the negative (black) wire of the solar cell into the terminal block as shown.  Then use a small screw driver to secure the locking mechanism of the terminal block. Flip the robot over and it is complete.  Tune the robot by adjusting the 100K Potentiometer until both motors fire so that the robot works its way towards the light.

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