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I am trying to build an autonomous multi coloured lines following robot.

The parts I have bought so far include:

  1. Arduino Uno 3.
  2. 3 Colour Sensors (taos tcs 230).
  3. L293DNE motor driver.
  4. Robot chassis including 2 dc motors, 2 wheels and 1 caster wheel.

I am trying to figure on how to connect all these components together (for example: arduino to the colour sensor, l293d to motor). How do I connect it in order for the motor to rotate in both directions? Do I need to solder anything?

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Some of the arduino connections require no soldering. The black strips with holes in them -- the headers -- allow you to connect and disconnect a wire without soldering it. You may also find it useful to use a breadboard, which is a large grid of similar solderless connections.

However, whether you'll need to solder things together depends more on the needs of your projects than the components themselves. Although solderless versions of many connectors exist (crimp, punch-down, etc), you probably won't be able to do anything interesting in robotics without being at least somewhat familiar with soldering.

In terms of how to connect those specific components, you'll need to consult the data sheets. The easiest way to draw a component (i.e. what appears on the datasheet) is not the easiest way to manufacture a component (i.e. how things are laid out on the circuit board), so the datasheet is your guide to converting your schematic on paper to a set of solid electrical connections.

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You need to have a way of connecting things mechanically (e.g. screws) and electronically (e.g. wires). Depending on the connectors that you have, yes you may need to solder something.

If you want to build a robot like that, you would need to have a basic understanding of electronics. Then you need to take the datasheet of your components, look at their electrical characteristics and make sure the circuit you make meets their needs (by carefully adding resistors, capacitors and inductors). An example from the driver you have picked:

enter image description here

If you are lucky, the datasheet may have a "typical usage" you could gain insight from. Example from your driver:

enter image description here

There is also connection to the microcontroller, which again means you should take the datasheet of the micro, look at what pins are available for what, and then decide which of your component pins should connect to which of the micro's pins. For example, you may need an interrupt from a certain component and therefore you should make sure to connect it to a pin that can generate an interrupt.

You should also pay attention not to break the micro. For example, you shouldn't try to power a motor directly by a pin of the micro because usually the current that the micro can give out at its pins is not enough to drive a motor (and you'd risk burning the micro). You have done well by buying the motor drivers.

Finally, you need to program the micro, which depending on the microcontroller may be widely different. Arduino has tried to make the coding as simple as possible, so if you don't try to do smart things and stick with the basics, its libraries should be fine.

Tip for things to go smoothly: read the datasheets carefully.

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