Lego Chassis – Stage One – Part Two

Continued work on the Lego chassis to house the motherboard:

Each side requires a different approach due to inconsistencies in the metal base plates shape and structure.

As well as the very much ‘mixed bag’ of Lego pieces we are working with…

I expect the build an access panel or door over these ports eventually…

This side could use some further strengthening from cross pieces…

The chassis is more or less sufficiently complete to move on to other things.

Next will be installing Puppy ‘Wary’ Linux and installing it on my old Dell laptop.

 

Lego Chassis – Stage One – Part One

Began to build a Lego chassis around the motherboard.

The metal base plate that the motherboard is mounted on provides additional strength to the chassis, but brings its own challenges to the build.

I worked to keep all the various ports and expansion slot panels open and accessible for now, to allow for connections.

This side was pretty straightforward…

But this end was particularly challenging…

The bottom has some cross beams for support, which will be expanded upon to incorporate the primary drive system.

Weirdly enough, I dreamed up an idea for a tri-wheeled system that I may try to assemble for this, if it doesn’t work out I may order some much larger single wheels. We will see…

Hardware Upgrades…

The replacement hardware came today.

Installed a new socket 370 / socket A CPU cooler:

Now the system can run without overheating and freezing / crashing after just a couple minutes.

Also maxed out the RAM to a whooping 256 MB of PC100 RAM:

This allows Puppy ‘Wary’ Linux to boot and run quite well.

Next will be to start building a Lego chassis to house / support this board and allow for easy prototyping of other components.

First New Project In A While…

So, I am finally starting on a new project after such a long time that I dont even remember.

This is going to be my first recent stab at a robot, other than in class with the kids, since my college senior year project. Similar to that, I plan to assemble the body out of Lego bricks but this time going for a bit more powerful computer as the brain then that time (it was a college project board with minimal CPU and RAM).

In this case it will be a Celeron 400Mhz based board I recovered from an old HP Pavilion 4535 mini-tower.

It currently only has the minimum of 64 MB RAM and the CPU fan is mostly dead (will replace it), but I plan to max out the RAM to a hilarious 256 MB RAM and see if it can boot/run from a large memory stick. I already tested booting from a Puppy Linux Live CD and it loads all the way up, though its super slow with so little RAM. I also want to get a DC-DC picoPSU ATX power supply to drive off of batteries, though that is still in the theoretical phase. Here it is rough setup on the work bench with its guts all over:

It has a wired network card and several open PCI slots, so I may be able to add a Wifi card for remote communications.

I dont think it is fast enough to run Mono or .Net Core, so I may actually have a reason to try out Python, Perl, or something else for its ‘mind’…

Updates to follow…