App Notes - Bonus Projects and Extra Goodies

Robot Builder's Bonanza and Arduino Robot Bonanza

These are free app notes (app stands for application) on all things robotics. Note: Some of the app notes refer to chapters and content in the books Robot Builder's Bonanza and Arduino Robot Bonanza, available in print or eBook form from Amazon and others.


  • More Experiments with Servo Objects - Learn more about how to use the Servo object to control radio control servo motors, including, using the attach and detach methods, and controlling servos using microsecond accuracy.
  • The Chip Only Arduino - Ideas on using the Atmel ATmega IC to make a "chip only" Arduino (an Arduino using only the microcontroller IC, without the full development board).
  • Operating Two Servos with the Arduino - All about running two servos at a time using the Arduino. It's easy when using the standard Servo library. Includes a discussion of operating the servos from their own power supply.


  • Battery Size Comparison - Comparison chart of the different sizes and typical weights of standard (and some not-so-standard) batteries.
  • Comparing Pack Voltages of Batteries - Handy comparison chart of pack voltages of batteries, 1.2, 1.5, and 2 volts-per-cell. Chart lists packs with 2 to 12 battery cells.
  • Best Battery Wiring Practices - Tips and tricks for good wiring when working with batteries. Short and sweet.
  • Battery Care - Common-sense guidelines for keeping your batteries in top shape.
  • Battery Pack Bridging Voltages - How to bridge a cell pocket in a battery holder to create "in-between" pack voltages (example: 4.5 volts when using a 4-cell battery holder and 1.5 volts-per-cell batteries).

Bonus Projects

  • Build a Double-Decker RoverBot - Full constructions plans for building a two-deck roverbot, powered by twin R/C servo motors.
  • The Clapper Gripper - How to build a simple "clapper-style" robotic gripper using a solenoid for actuation.
  • Construct a Wormgear Gripper - Construction details for building a two-finger gripper, using a novel wormgear mechanism. The wormgear is constructed using plastic or metal gears and an ordinary machine screw.
  • Flexible Finger Grippers - Basic design concept for building multi-joint gingers using flexible linkages.
  • Build a 12-Servo Hexapod - Full construction plans on building the Hex12Bot, a 12-server walking hexapod robot. The plans use the XY joints described in Chapter 27 of RBB4.



Power Train

  • Robot Speed Calculator - Handy JavaScript-based robot speed calculator. Enter the speed of the motor in RPM, and the diameter of the wheel. The calculator determines the linear travel speed, in inches per second, of your robot.
  • Using Flexible Power Trains Instead of Gears - Review of using flexible power train components (belts, pulleys, chains, and sprockets) instead of gears to transform motion from one place to another.


Robot Construction


  • Touch Sensitivity with Laser Fiber 'Whiskers' - How to construct a set of super-sensitive "soft contact" whiskers using a pen laser and inexpensive optical fibers.
  • Using Passive Infrared Detection - How to detect humans, animals, and moving objects using passive infrared (PIR) sensors. Includes details on using ready-made PIR sensors, plus hacking an outdoor security light. Includes sample Arduino code.
  • Build a Piezo Disc Touch Bar - Full construction details on making a semi-compliant touch bumper using ordinary piezo discs and an length of round aluminum rod. Included sample Arduino code.
  • Using Lenses and Filters with Light-Sensitive Sensors - All about using lenses and filters to improve the performance of light-sensitive sensors, such as photoresistors and phototransistors.
  • A Trio of Robotic Navigational Sensors - Introduction to three handy navigational sensors for robots: global positioning satellite (GPS), radio frequency identification (RFID), and inertial navigation with gyroscopes.