to go with the Lynxmotion BB2 (Bot
Board 2) with an Atom Basic or
Pro module, and an SSC- 32 servo driver
board. Wise choices! These modules
run an embedded Basic, but this is not
your father’s Dartmouth from 1964!
Basic Micro makes three versions of
Basic that are of interest for us here.
Two are “built-in” to modules, and the
third is a stand-alone compiler with a
variety of PIC16 targets.
CAD drawing of chassis spacer.
CAD drawing of plate to hold PS2 RCVR.
54 SERVO 09.2009
CAD drawing of 6V battery clamp.
Instead of a BB2 and the Atom Basic module, one
could use almost any small microcomputer board with the
appropriate language. However, if you desire to keep the
costs to a minimum, then the builder can “get by” with as
little as the SSC- 32 servo board and an RS-232 connection
to a PC running the control code; more about that later.
The BB2 can also use the Atom Pro module with a
more powerful Renesas HD64F3694 processor chip.
This module is ideal for more complex programs running
on hexapods. I like the addition of the preprocessor
commands; it makes writing a single program to run
multiple variations (com vs. PS2) easy! The Pro also has
the option of running C programs. Something I intend to
Another type of serial servo controller (SSC) could be
substituted for the SSC- 32. Just beware that the command
sequences and possibly the baud rate would have to be
changed to accommodate different SSC board. Ultimately,
with only six servos to control, I suspect it’ll be possible for
the microcomputer to control the servos by itself! We’ll
leave that project for another time, though.
Actually, any small microcomputer board could be used
to command the SSC- 32 board, as long as the user has a
way (and the knowledge) to program it.
Strider can be made autonomous (which I won’t cover
here) or run with a joystick, either wired or remotely
controlled. You’ll probably want to get started with a
joystick. If you don’t mind trailing a small cable, either a
PS2 joystick or RS-232 can be used. With RS-232, you can
control the bot from your PC. For a few dollars more,
a BlueSmirf (Blue Tooth) module can be added to allow
wireless communication from a PC. Great for development!
Possibly the coolest way to control Strider is with a
wireless PS2 joystick and receiver. These are great for
demos for the kids; they already know how to run things
with a PS2 joystick! I gave a short “Bring your daughters
and sons to work” presentation on some of my robots
recently to two groups of eight to 12 year olds. It amazed
me how fast they were able to pick up the PS2 joystick and
run my hexapod!