TRIS10 ROBOTICSSensors, breakout boards and parts for robotics

The 10cm ConnectNXT cables - they're red!

When working with the NXT and EV3 platforms, one of our biggest annoyances was the long NXT/EV3 cables that got in the way. We found that 10cm and 15cm cables were the ideal lengths for most robots, so we made them. We now have packs of 5 and packs of 20 of each length available for sale.

Unlike some other cables available, these NXT/EV3 cables have proper insulation, and in keeping with the brand, they're even red! They also have the correct colour coding of each wire and high quality connectors, making them durable and easy to use.

We have just received a large shipment of Vishay TSOP31140s for our FindBalls, and we now have enough stock to make them available for sale. The TSOP31140s are the sensors used in our FindBall sensors to detect and lock on to the ball. They are 40kHz infrared receiver sensors that have a digital output and are ideal for detecting the RoboCup Junior soccer ball. The TSOP31140 is identical (in all ways) to the deprecated TSOP1140.

We are selling the TSOP31140s in two pack sizes: packs of 5 and packs of 50. We are pleased to say that our prices are up to 80% less than that of of other electronics stores and we look forward to seeing the custom soccer robots and other systems that utilise these sensors. For those looking for an easier to use system with onboard signal analysis, more…

Xander Soldaat, of Bot Bench (and RobotC driver) fame, has written an excellent article about the FindBall and EmitIR devices. The article also includes lots of photos of his teardown of the sensor, showing both the structure of the case and the electronics. Following his suggestion of changing the pin alignment, we have modified the case to make the pins an odd number of spaces apart, so the sensor is easier to center. All FindBalls now being sold have this case.

He's also written a RobotC driver for the FindBall for us, which makes interacting with the sensor really easy, and has included it in the RobotC third-party driver suite. The sample programs included in the driver suite show how to read all of the important registers. To read the best sensor and its strength using his driver, it's just more…

This is the second of four posts that will demonstrate using the FindBall NXT (or FindBall Open) with a LEGO® NXT, a LEGO® EV3, an NXT and RobotC, and an Arduino. This post covers how to use the FindBall with an Arduino, or similar microcontroller. A FindBall Open has an easily accessible header on it for connections, however to use a FindBall NXT, a ConnectNXT Breakout is required.

Wiring it up

Arduino and FindBall wired up for testing

Although the photo above shows a FindBall NXT, a FindBall Open can also be used just by using the header connections on the FindBall PCB. The connections have the same names.

FindBall Open / ConnectNXT Breakout Arduino
Vcc 5V
SDA SDA (normally A4)
SCL SCL (normally A5)

On recent Arduinos the internal pull-ups are fine, however on other microcontrollers, external 10k pull-up resistors should be used on the SDA and more…