Local Time: Thursday, 18-Jul-2024 17:48:08 CDT

Heathkit Hero Robots

Hero Jr.

Hero 1

Hero 2000

Other Robots




Robot Collection

I've always been interested in robotics. I can remember getting the old heathkit catalogs in high school and wanting a Hero robot. During my college years, I was fortunate in that Northwest MS Community College had a good electronics program with telephony and robotic options. It was a two year program, and probably the most fun classes I have ever taken. We would spend about half the day studying electonics, and the rest of the day in the lab applying what we learned. We started with basic AC / DC, then digital, microprocessors, then robotics. Don Meridith was teaching the classes, and I'm pretty sure he still teaches up there. When studying power supplies, he had some old components that he gave each of us to build our own bench power supply. We drew the schematics, and built a bench power supply that we could use for whatever we wanted.

In some of the classes, he would replace chips in the microprocessor trainer with bad chips and make us figure out what was wrong. This was a great way to learn how to repair microprocessor based equipment.

In the robotics class, he had a few Hero-1 robots that we learned to repair and program to do simple tasks. A few years ago I started acquiring Hero robots from ebay and other sources. I've now got a pretty nice robot collection including a bunch of Hero 1's, a few Hero 2000's, 2 Hero Jr's, a TOPO, and 2 RB5X's (one with the arm). I have a few Omnibot's and Omnibot 2000's, but I never really considered them real robots, but technicly they qualify. They just seem more like toys though.

I'll try to get pictures of my collection posted here to share with the world, and hopefully some of the other robotic information I've run across. One magazine I subscribe to, Circuit Cellar still features articles on modifications to the origional Hero robots. Last month's issue even had one. (April 05)

Robotics lead me down the path to CNC, and I ended up getting a CNC milling machine off ebay. I used it to build parts for a CNC router table that can cut / carve sheets of wood up to 5' x 10'. I've also worked on getting an old robotic arm to work using the free Linux CNC controller software EMC and replacing the logic boards for the arm with Parallel Port Motion Controller boards by Jon Elson of Pico Systems.. I pretty much had it working until I drop a screwdriver and shorted out my servo amps. This wasn't a high priority thing, so I haven't gotten back to it. I figure I'll end up using teh PPMC with my Bridgeport Knee Mill when / if the bridgeport controller quits.

Other robotic type projects I've worked on included an embedded controller to download skeet games onto, that connected to a relay box to launch skeet targets, for NSCA 5-stand. This box is called The "Dealer".