Basic question for choosing which Arduino I need

Thread Starter

NIMITZ69

Joined Feb 9, 2022
2
Hi all - just joined this forum as I’m getting ready to start working on the electro-mechanical aspects of a Full-size, operator-the-inside, motorized Dalek that I’ve been building for the last year. basic construction is 90% complete so its time to start thinking about all the E-M stuff I plan to put in him. I don’t really know anything about Arduinos except for some basics from YT videos and that it seems like the perfect solution for the ‘brain’ of my Dalek.

What I’m trying to understand first is which Arduino should I get? Uno or Mega. I know I could simply get the Mega & be done with it but if for what I want to do it would be overkill I’d like to stick with the Uno. So, I know what I need to do so hopefully if after listing all the functions someone out there can tell me which would be the better choice. Also i would like to understand ‘shields’. Is this something I will need to use as well? So here goes:

1. Rotate the fiberglass dome 360 deg in ether direction & start/stop at any position using servos & DC motor
2. Move the eyestalk up & down through approximately 150 degs of arc, being able to start/stop at any position again with a DC motor & servos
3. Open/close a mechanical iris (mechanical camera lens shutter) in different modes - blink, start, stop, open & close partially
4. Turn on/off LEDs lights in the eye, possibly with patterns as the eye will have 5 LEDs in it
5. Simulate the gun firing with sounds & light in different modes: sound only, sound + light, light only
6. Turn on/off an LED light strip & use different pre-programmed light patterns
7. Turn on/off one or two different pre-programmed “ everything goes all at once” mode … think the “Danger Will Robinson !!” Mode of the robot from Lost In Space … :)

i expect to use a combination of gears, springs, servos, DC stepper motors & LED lights as the components. i also plan to wire as many controls as possible to an airplane military style flight control stick which has a 4-position Cooley hat, trigger, momentary rocker switch & 3 different push buttons so I can operate everything one-handed.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,659
Welcome to AAC.

Whle I would be inclined to suggest Teensy boards rather than Arduino (they are 100% compatible) because of their particular peripheral hardware and the fact that they are used in a lot of applications like yours, I also want to give @djsfantasi a chance to respond.

He has done a lot of motion related projects and props, and I am certain he will have a lot of information. In the meantime, take a look at the Teensy site and the projects section, and the code they've got. It's very impressive.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
26,087
When getting your feet wet it doesn't matter which model to choose.
Get the Uno and just play with it for starters.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,323
Welcome to AAC.

Whle I would be inclined to suggest Teensy boards rather than Arduino (they are 100% compatible) because of their particular peripheral hardware and the fact that they are used in a lot of applications like yours, I also want to give @djsfantasi a chance to respond.

He has done a lot of motion related projects and props, and I am certain he will have a lot of information. In the meantime, take a look at the Teensy site and the projects section, and the code they've got. It's very impressive.
I trust Yaakov’s recommendations. I have yet to try the Teensy boards but have been very interested in them. I’ve used Arduino boards from the Nano to the Mega, so it’s easy for me to envision a solution using those boards. I’ve also used the ATTiny85 chips with the Sparkfun programmer. This doesn’t fit your requirements.

I count that you need 11 GPIO pins for all of your requirements (the last requirement can be satisfied by software alone). Given one constraint, that can be satisfied by a Nano or Uno. These two devices have 14 GPIO pins available. The one constraint is these devices must have sufficient memory to hold the sketch to drive all functions. Then you’d need a Mega. There are two main reasons to use a Mega. More than 14?and up to 50 GPIO pins required or a sketch that is too large for a Mega.

An open question is how you are going to script all of these movements. That may require a lot of memory.

I control 11 degrees of freedom, sound control with coordinated mouth movements, networking for collaboration of multiple animatronics and sensors to respond to the presence and location of an audience with a sketch that’s just too large for an Uni. I use a proprietary language, AnCode(tm), to script it’s movements. And as I said, it’s just to large for an Uno.

So, you could start with an Uno and move to a Mega if you run out of memory.
 
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Thread Starter

NIMITZ69

Joined Feb 9, 2022
2
Thx to everyone who has responded! I've never heard of the Teensy Boards so I'll go check them out - lots to still learn
 

John P

Joined Oct 14, 2008
1,974
It sounds like a major task to build a motorized vehicle which can carry a person, and control it well enough so it wouldn't look ridiculous. I have the impression that your experience level isn't all that high. A "combination of gears, springs, servos, DC stepper motors & LED lights" is fine to talk about, but setting them all up so they're capable of performing properly isn't totally trivial. It would be good to hear you say that there's a team of knowledgeable people eager to help on this project!
 

luvv

Joined May 26, 2011
191
Not Arduino but I been tinkering w/ a Pi Pico. It's a cheap yet sleek beast and at 4$ It's a Ferrrari for the price of a Honda. Has a lot of perks like micro python and 4 built in state machines.
 
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