This C language tutorial for the 8-core Propeller microcontroller and the ActivityBot Robot Kit is designed for independent learners age 14 and up, and is also suitable for a classroom robotics curriculum.


Meet the ActivityBot

This compact, zippy robot matches a multi-core Propeller microcontroller brain with great hardware:

  • Versatile Propeller Activity Board perched atop our classic, sturdy aluminum chassis
  • Custom-made High Speed servos
  • Optical encoders and wheels with secure O-ring tires ensure straight straightaways and consistent maneuvers
  • SD card for datalogging and file storage
  • Electronic components for building navigation systems using touch, visible light, infrared light, and ultrasonic sensors

What It's About

This tutorial will show you how to:

  • Assemble and wire up your robot
  • Set up the SimpleIDE programming software
  • Get special C libraries just for your ActivityBot
  • Write simple programs in C for the multi-core Propeller microcontroller
  • Program your ActivityBot to navigate with encoders
  • Build sensor-based navigation systems for your ActivityBot so it can navigate on its own

What's Included, What's Coming Soon
The ActivityBot menu at left is the Table of Contents for this tutorial.  Activities that use the SD card for datalogging will follow.  Expect new sections and projects that make use of optional accessories such as the speaker jack for playing WAV files, and the XBee module for RF communication.

ActivityBot Library Updates
We frequently add features and improvements to the ActivityBot library.  The latest release date and a link to the ActivityBot Library are in the Stay Current! block on the top right.

Before You Start

You can start right here.  All you need is your ActivityBot Robot Kit and five 1.5 V AA batteries.  In fact, you may have already built your robot following the Mechanical Assembly Guide that comes in the box.  If not, don't worry, assembly instructions are repeated in the links below.  During this tutorial you will also be directed to other Propeller C Tutorials to get software, try example programs, and build some circuits.

After You Finish

Once you've mastered the basics, you can mod your 'bot with your newfound skills.  The ActivityBot is ready for tinkering, with onboard circuitry to support these expansion kits:

  • Veho Speaker and mounting bracket - play WAV files from the SD card via the board's audio jack
  • XBee Wireless Pack - plug one RF module into the board's socket, and connect the other to your computer for wireless control
  • PING))) Mounting Bracket Kit to elevate and rotate the PING))) Ultrasonic Distance Sensor for scanning the terrain and locating objects

Ready to get started with your ActivityBot? Just follow the links below.