Stable, expansible platform


I have just started to think about building a robot for a fun project. I have bought a very cheap (£19) obstacle avoidance kit and whilst it is fun, it is very flimsy, won’t drive straight and not very stable. I am looking for advice on a platform that will perform well indoors and outdoors, it needs to be able to drive in a straight line! I am not really interested in Bluetooth or other remote control options but autonomous control. I was thinking of a rover type platform. I am undecided about a tracked or wheeled platform and would welcome advice on the pros and cons of each.

For electronics, I would prototype with an Arduino but probably end up burning the code to an ATMega chip on a project board. I will probably end up putting many sensors on it and obviously, I’ll be making Cylon eyes out of red LEDs.:grinning:

Some of the metal platforms I have seen seem very expensive, but I suppose you end up getting what you pay for.

Thanks in advance for your help/advice


Hi @tonyd!

It’s great to hear that you are starting your project :slight_smile: We are looking forward to see it in the Robots section!

Which exactly kit did you buy?

Maybe you can have a look at this one:

It’s not expensive. It’s Arduino based and it has line follower module!

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Hi thanks for the reply, this is the kit I bought

Car kit

The one you suggest looks like a step up, but doesn’t look too extensible. I was looking at the Lynxmotion platform, looks good quality, but pretty expensive. I’m still trying to decide about tracks or wheels, but if wheels would like independent suspension on each wheel. I’m not trying to build a Mars Rover, but want something I can build on.


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Hi there @tonyd

The suggestion of @igor_X seems like a great kit but I think what you are looking for is more like a chassis instead of the whole kit, something that you can customize and add as many sensors as you want/need. You can find some great option in the Wheeled & Tracked Robots section, some cool models are the following ones:

They seem very good for the price but there are many other models, some cheaper and some more expensive, but of course the more you pay the sturdier they are.

Also, I suggest you check out the How to Make a Robot tutorial series because there you will find some of the advantages and disadvantages of common robotic platforms (like tracked or wheeled) as well as some tips that might help you to the process of building your rover.

I hope that information can help you out and good luck with your project!
PS: You should definitely share your robot in the robots section, that way you would be compiting on the Robot of the Month Contest.


I like the look of this platform

I saw a video for the A4WD1 where the presenter said you have to be careful which sabertooth motor control you get as he got one that was targeted at RC users, not autonomous use. Do you know anything about that? There are 4 motors on the chassis, how does that work with the sabertooth? Are 2 motors slaved?


That’s a good platform @tonyd :slight_smile:

There is an option of that platform with Sabretooth installed and which is targeted for RC users:

I guess 2 motors (front) are connected to one channel and other 2 (back) to second channel. Something like this:

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Thanks @igor_X. That article was very useful. I think I know what I need now, just need to work out the power requirements to decide on the correct board


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hello tony! saw you just joined! RobotShop is a great place to buy and sell robots! good job, and have a nice day!:slightly_smiling_face:

@igor_X, @geraldinebc15

I think I am going to get the A4WD1 MTS tracker chassis with the sabertooth dual 12A 6-24v motor drive. Definitely more than I wanted to spend but from what I have read online , these are well made and reliable pieces of kit.

What am I building? A bit ambitious for a first real project , but I want to set up some zones in the garden and have the robot test the moisture level and log it.

A big idea for someone with little knowledge. What I have going for me is I have been a software developer for almost 40 years, so the coding side should not be a problem.

These projects often take me years. I’ve been building a model Zero fighter for 7 years so far and I’ve only done 1 wing and the engine! I hope to complete this inside 5 years :rofl:

Thanks for all of your help



Since you are a software developer for such a long period, it is a big advantage :smiley:

It is and ambitious project, but nowadays, a lot of equipment can be bought which is easily to install and run. Yes, it can cost some money, but you can see your project growing faster which is often a good motivation!

All the best, and hope to see your projects finished here soon!

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I think that is a great choice! You will definitely have lots of fun playing with that rover kit.

How are you planning to do the measurements? By attaching a moisture sensor to a linear actuator? It would be cool to see a robot doing that haha.

Anyways I think your project will turn out great and I hope to see it in the Robots section.

Good luck :grin:

@geraldinebc15, yes I have a moisture sensor. I have many grand plans. I will keep the forum posted!