Along with everyone else that cares about science, human progress, and things that are just plain cool, we have been awestruck and inspired by the
incredible success of the Curiosity Rover and the entire Mars
Space Laboratory mission thus far. We are so excited, in
fact, that we determined a Curiosity-inspired project had to
be the topic of our next column. Therefore, we thought this
would be the perfect time to revisit the Lunar Rover 3-in-1
kit from Minds-i. We previously worked with the Lunar
Rover from Minds-i in the May 2011 and June 2011 issues.
The larger scale and better off-road capabilities of the Lunar
Rover compared to our other kits draws a nice parallel to
the larger sturdier nature of Curiosity compared to its
predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. However, our Rover
A TWO-CHANNEL RECEIVER WAS NOT GOING
TO MAKE THE CUT.
68 SERVO 11.2012
was just that — a great driving base capable of handling
even the most unforgiving terrain, but it lacked any
additional mechanisms. While it would still be about 350
million miles away from Curiosity in sophistication, we
determined that an arm mechanism would make a nice
addition to the Lunar Rover.
We’re always glad for an opportunity to revisit kits, and
this was the perfect opportunity to see if the Lunar Rover
from Minds-i could effectively support an additional
mechanism. Our Minds-i kit is the 4 x 4 Robot 3-in-1 kit — it
has everything you need to make a four-wheel drive base,
but for all intents and purposes it is basically a starter kit.
Minds-i offers an impressive array of additional kits and
sensors like the Arduino autonomous upgrade module,
receiver kits, and extra structural parts. The Arduino module
includes an Arduino microcontroller and a host of sensors
including ultrasonic and infrared. Minds-i also offers a new
transmitter set that includes a six-channel receiver and
The base kit that we received has only a two-channel
radio and receiver. This was fine for the base kit, which
used one channel for controlling the steering servo and the
other for controlling the drive motor. That left no channel
for an additional mechanism, though. While we appreciated
that the Minds-i folks provided another receiver and radio
for order on their website, we elected to employ one of our
old Futaba radios that we used with our combat robots.