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Build a micro:bit controlled Zumo buggy

The Zumo Chassis is a great starting point for buggy project. In this tutorial we will show you how it can be used in conjunction with our Motor Driver board for the BBC micro:bit and our Klaw kit to create this fun buggy with gripper action!

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Learn how to:

  • Attach the Klaw kit to the Zumo chassis.
  • Control the Zumo buggy with a microbit.

Level of difficulty:

  • Intermediate.

In order to make your microbit controlled Zumo buggy you will need:

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You will also need the following equipment:

Step by step guide to making a microbit controlled Zumo buggy

Step 1

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Start by soldering two lengths of connecting wire to each of the two motors. Ideally about 15cm or longer. They can be cut down in length later on if needed.

Step 2

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Build the Zumo chassis as per it’s build instructions but do not connect the top plate included in the kit. You should end up with a buggy that looks like this.
Next solder a length of connecting wire to the two battery terminals as shown at the bottom of the image.

Step 3

The next step is to mount the Klaw gripper to the Perspex top plate (Cutting file here). Start by building the Klaw gripper as per its build instructions but do not connect the servo using the long M2 bolts or servo horn screw.

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Next place the servo against the top plate as show above.

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Then place the built Klaw on to the servo output shaft as shown above and secure using the servo horn screw.

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Finally secure the Klaw to the plate using the 2 x 16mm M2 bolts. These bolt through the servo, then through the mounting plate and into the Klaw holding all the parts tightly together.

Step 4

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Now secure the M/F nylon spacers to the mounting plate (facing away from the servo) using four of the M3 counter sunk screws.

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Once complete the mounting plate should look like the picture above.

Step 5

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The top plate can now be secured to the Zumo chassis. Start by feeding the two wires on each of the motors through the slots in the top plate as shown above. This will allow the top plate to sit down firmly on top of the motors. It can be easier to do this without the tracks in place.

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Then remove the battery cover and screw the top plate to the Zumo chassis using the two short counter sunk screws.

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The last part of securing the top plate in place is to bolt the front of it to the chassis. This is done using the remaining two sets of M2 nuts and bolts.

Step 6

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The tracks can now be put back on the buggy and it should look as shown above.

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Feed the servo and motor wires between the M/F spacers and secure the motor driver board in place using the four nylon nuts.

Step 7

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Feed the two power wires under the motor driver board and connect them to the power terminal on the motor driver board. The back left battery terminal on the chassis is the positive output and the back right output is the negative terminal as shown by the red and black wires in the image above.

Step 8

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Now the two motors need wiring in place. The left motor should be wired to terminal P12 and P8, the right motor to terminals P16 and P0.

Step 9

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The servo now needs wiring to the motor driver board. To do this the connector needs cutting off.

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And the insulation needs removing from the ends as shown.

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The orange wire should be connected to terminal P1 on the motor driver board.

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Then the red wire should be connected to the Positive power terminal and the brown wire should be connected to the Negative power terminal as shown above. The wires have been fed under the PCB for neatness.

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Any excess cable can now be tidied away under the PCB.

Step 10

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With the BBC micro:bit inserted the buggy will look like this.

Testing

To allow you to test the buggy we have created two .hex files. One is for the BBC micro:bit that controls the buggy. The second files allows a another micro:bit to act as a wireless controller. The buggy is controlled by tilting this control microbit and the buttons on the microbit are used to control the Klaw gripper.
Try it out! Below are links to two .hex files.

Helpful hints

If the motors turn the wrong way check the way in which they are wired to the terminals. The code can be altered to match your setup as required.
Find more information on how the motor driver board works here.

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4 thoughts on “Build a micro:bit controlled Zumo buggy”

  • Frank July 4, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Can you make this a purchasable kit? I don't have a laser cutter but looks like it would be a step up from the micro move...

    Anyway great work!
    -f

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison July 5, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Hi Frank, thanks for your interest and comment. This is something we are looking at producing, watch this space.

      Reply
  • Tim March 24, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I really need this as a kit, or can you cut and sell the plate, i dont have a laser cutter?

    Reply
    • Mark Donnison March 26, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Tim, have you considered looking for a local Hackspace/Makerspace? They will often have a laser cutter or two and materials that you can purchase. If you take our DXF file along, they can show you how to use their machine to get the part cut out. We did look into selling the plate as part of a kit but once we priced it up we decided that the resulting kit would be too expensive, so we have no plans at this time to sell the top plate. Instead, we chose to give the DXF file away so that people could cut their own.

      Reply
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