Book ContentsBook Notes IC Tutorial

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The development of ELEC 201 also involved the compilation of an extensive set of class notes. The printed version was a book over 400 pages long. Our notes were derived in part from course notes developed by Fred Martin for a class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but a considerable amount of new material has been added, and every subject area has undergone major revision for use at Rice. The many people who contributed to the book are listed in the Acknowledgements.

Book Overview

The majority of the 1998 printed book is available here, largely in its original form. It should be considered a work in progress. In particular, web navigation within the book is, to put it kindly, inconvenient, primarily because some of the sections are quite long.

Copyright and Distribution

  • Acknowledgements The people who shaped the book and the course.
  • Hints from the Past Comments and recommendations from previous ELEC 201 students. Also includes some pointers on team organization and decision making.
  • Assembly Manual The Assembly Manual is still printed, and is included here as a pdf file. Information on wiring sensors, motors, and cables used for an ELEC 201 robot is included on this web page.
  • Basic MechanicsDescribes basic mechanics, friction, and the simple machines that comprise the building blocks of more complex machines, like robots.
  • Basic ElectronicsIntroduces the concepts of charge, current, voltage, and electronic components to the uninitiated.
  • HardwareDescribes the functionality and architecture of the ELEC 201 RoboBoard, assuming minimal prior background in electronics.
  • Motors A brief primer on the dc motors used in the course.
  • Batteries Discusses battery technology in general, the battey used in ELEC 201, and the battery charger operation.
  • LEGO Construction The secrets of using LEGO Technics building materials to construct robust machines, including gear trains.
  • Sensors Explains the principles of operation and applications of various robotics sensors in the ELEC 201 kit; specific wiring diagrams are in the Assembly Manual.
  • Interactive C A reference manual for the C language dialect that has been developed for the ELEC 201 course. Students new to programming or the C language will find the the new IC Tutorial worthwhile.
  • Control Investigates how to program a mobile robot to face up to the uncertainties and challenges of practical operation.
  • Assembly Language ProgrammingHow to program the Motorola 68HC11 microprocessor using assembly language; for enthusiasts only, not something ELEC 201 students need to know.
  • Circuit Board DataSchematics and printed circuit board layouts.
  • GlossaryA searchable list of definitions of electronic terminology found in the notes.
  • Additional Reading A short bibiliography to other sources of information.

Notes on the Book

The book is not a text for the course, but is a reference on many subjects applicable to the course. It also documents many aspects of the course and the hardware, and is meant to serve both robotic enthusiasts and teachers interested in robot design as an educational activity.

The book was last printed for the Fall 1998 course. For Fall 1999, the book was translated, automatically and largely verbatim, to html format. The structure and style of a book is rarely optimum for a web site, however. In the summer of 2000 we began the process of reformatting the ELEC 201 web site. Some of the information in the original book has been removed, updated, or moved to other locations on the site. Of particular note:

  • The instructions for assembling the circuit boards is still printed so that students can check off the steps as they proceed. To avoid confusion, the possibly incorrect assembly instructions have been removed from the online book, but are available as Postscript and pdf files.
  • We now use Windows NT machines with the software ICwin for Interactive C, and a customized version of WinEdt32 as a program editor. The student should refer to the Help pages of those programs for information.
  • The presentation of Interactive C in the book is still valid, but the student may find the new IC tutorial more helpful initially.
  • Material that changes yearly, such as dates, the game, registration details, etc., has been moved to the web pages under the tabs at the left. Some additional non-essential, dated information has been removed pending its revision.