EDWARD EVERS | Robot Workshop | Big Trak

Big Trak

Introduction . The Plan . Status of the Project . What's Next


The Big Trak was introduced by Milton Bradley in 1979. It's a six-wheeled vehicle that you can program to perform a sequence of eight different functions: forward, reverse, left, right, repeat, fire, repeat, delay, and dump trailer.

The Plan

The purpose of this project is to replace the Big Trak ROM with an OOPic II, which makes the Big Trak PC programmable, and then to create an interface to a Palm Pilot PDA, which will make the Big Trak capable of doing fancier things autonomously.

Status of the Project

Six Big Traks in varying states of operation were used to refurbish one Big Trak so that it worked quite well. The working Big Trak has been modified in several ways.

A 28-pin socket was put into the mainboard after the ROM chip was desoldered. Then, to make the whole thing more modular so that everything doesn't have to be taken apart to get at stuff, the following was done:

The trailer connection still needs a quick disconnect. The motors already had a quick disconnect.

This project basically follows the Big-O-Trak project at www.RobotProjects.com to start with. This will get the OOPic 2 operational.

Starting with the OOPic 2 starter package from the Robot Store, an adapter board to interface the OOPic to the Big Trak ROM socket was built. The ribbon cable from the OOPic to the Big Trak is too long, but that should be easy to fix.

The adapter board was made using a Radio Shack etching kit. The kit was modified by using an aerator for an aquarium in order to [...]

It looked like there was a problem with the programming in the OOPic 2, but it turned out to be the keyboard. The keyboard sometimes doesn't make a very good connection, but padding the slot the keyboard plugs into pushes the contacts together.

There is still a battery contact problem.

What's Next

Of course, the remaining problems with the Big Trak itself (loose connections, etc.) need to be repaired.

The next phase -- using a Palm m505 Handheld as the programming interface -- has already been done using a different chassis, to produce the PalmTrak.

There is currently no timeline for completion of this project.

 EDWARD EVERS | Robot Workshop | Big Trak

Modified 2003-03-03
Copyright © 2003 Edward Evers