Tribot robotics platform

For a number of children born of geek parents, the WowWee Tribot is sure to make an appearance underneath a Christmas tree this year. By New Year’s, though, this toy will surely make its way to the back of a closet to sit unused until spring cleaning. It’s a shame to let such an interesting robotics platform go to waste, so [haltux] sent in a nice guide to unlocking the motor controller of this talking robot.

The ‘legs’ of the WowWee Tribot have three omnidirectional wheels mounted 120 degrees apart. We’ve seen this drive system before, so getting a pre-built platform out of the toy box is pretty interesting.

[haltux] found three H-bridges inside the Tribot and connected the direction and enable pins for each motor directly to an Arduino. The build was a success, and the new robot platform scurried along the floor. There are also rotary encoders on the Tribot, but these run at 12 Volts. [haltux] said he’ll cover these in a future post, and we’re waiting to see it.

Comments

  1. EmptyJay says:

    Awesome story. I bought one of these from woot a couple of years back just to have the wheels. It’s great to see I can use the existing electronics and motors of the robot.

  2. These things show up on Craigslist now and then for $15 to $20. I have three of them. ;-)

  3. You can drop the 12v encoder signals down to TTL levels with a resistor and an LED (used as a zener diode voltage regulator). Depending on LED color, you get different voltage out. Common red LEDs are fine for 3.3v or 5v TTL logic.

  4. Pilotgeek says:

    An appearance under a Christmas tree *this* year? You’re like 3 years late.

  5. Oops… sent that last “12v” comment to the wrong thread. ;-(

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