Saturday, May 10, 2014


I am a developer with extensive C, Java, Objective-C and Perl experience.  I also have a background in Linux System Administration and System Security, you can see my profile on Linkedin.  Lately, I have been getting a little bored with my mobile development projects and wanted a new challenge so I decided to jump feet first in to building robots.  Keep in mind that I do have a basic electronic background but that last time I really used that knowledge was about twenty years ago so I have forgotten most of what I once knew but I figured that knowledge would come back pretty quickly.

I started reading the book BeagleBone Robotic Projects from Packt Publishing, bought a BeagleBone black with a number of the parts mentioned in the book and started trying to build a robot.  Two weeks and about $600 later, I realized that I had no clue on how to build a robot.  What made matters worse was I struggled to find resources online that helped a newbie like me.  Believe me when I say I was really getting frustrated, so I decided to step back a little bit and work on the basics.

I bought the book Getting started with the BeagleBone Black and started getting LEDs to light up, reading the state of buttons and potentiometers.  I also started to learn the basics of programming the BeagleBone Black with Python.  Now I felt that I was making progress and beginning to understand the basics of the BeagleBone Black’s architecture. 

Since I struggled to find the basic information I needed to start my robotic projects, I decided to start this blog to document what I am learning to hopefully help others from avoiding the same mistakes that I made.  At this time I am only three weeks into my projects so I have yet to build a robot but I wanted to stop and document what I have done so far.

To get started with the basic beginner projects you will need to purchase a BeagleBone Black with a number of accessories like LEDs, resistors, switches, jumper wires….  I would recommend that getting Make’s Getting started with the BeagleBone Blackkit with a decent breadboard.  I like breadboards with power rails along the side like this one.  All of the posts in this blog assume that you have these basic kits.  If you need any additional parts to complete a post it will be noted at the beginning of the post.  I would also recommend that you get a basic multimeter, they really help when troubleshooting projects.

I hope this blog can help the beginner get started and avoid the frustration that I went though.  As I learn more I will document what I have learned here and hopefully I will be able to write the posts in such a way that the beginner can complete the projects.

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