Getting Started | Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Hardware

Building a CotsBot

This process should be pretty straightforward, and if you're building a lot of them, I would recommend an assembly-line type process. We've gotten it down such that it can take 10-15 minutes per robot (after putting together 80 of them though!).

Step 1: Assembling the pieces

You'll need a Mini-Z car (you don't need the shell), Mica(2) Mote, and Motorboard as shown below.

Step 2: Removing the Mini-Z board

You won't need the board already on the Mini-Z since you will be using the Mica Mote and Motorboard to control it. First, take the two front screws on the cover out and flip up the cover.

You'll have to unscrew the motor wires to remove them from the board and remove the cover. You can also unsolder the power wires and servo wires at this point. Pop the board off the pegs holding it down in back and flip it over.

After unsoldering the servo motor wires, the board should be free and you can either keep it or toss it. You won't need anything on it again for the CotsBots.

Step 3: Extending the wires

The next step will be to connect two of the power wires together that were originally connected through the Mini-Z board. These two wires are the white one on the outside of the power switch and the black wire connected to the batteries. To connect wires together, solder the ends and cover with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape.

Next, you'll want to extend the rest of the wires so that they'll reach your Motorboard when it's on top of a Mica Mote. We use approximately 3" cuts of wire and once again two wires are connected by soldering them together and adding heat shrink tubing or electrical tape. If using heat shrink tubing, be sure to remember to put the tubing on before soldering the wires together. You can also extend the motor wires if needed.

Step 4: Attaching the connector

For the next step, you will need some additional parts. The connector housing and crimps:
  • 1 8-pin 0.100" Center Crimp Terminal Housing from Molex -- Digikey Part # WM2006-ND -- Manufacturer Part # 22-02-3087
  • 8 Crimp Terminals for 0.100" Housings from Molex -- Digikey Part # WM2200-ND -- Manufacturer Part # 08-05-0114
  • crimping tool to crimp the terminals on the wires
Make sure to feed the wires (except for the motor wires) through the cover before inserting them in the housing as shown below. Check the Motorboard schematic if you're unsure why each wire is placed where it is on the connector.

Step 5: Putting together the pieces

Your CotsBot is now assembled. Simply attach the Motorboard to the connector on the modified Mini-Z and attach the Mica(2) Mote to this. We've used rubber bands and velcro to attach the mote to the Mini-Z in the past, but if you have more clever ideas, let us know.

Step 6: Powering Up

When running the CotsBots, keep in mind that you have two different power supplies (Mica mote and motors) and therefore two different power switches. The power switch for the motors is underneath the robot.

You should now have a functioning CotsBot!