Deconstructing the Hexbot Spider – Step 1

By Agustin March 31, 2011

Today I popped open the Hexbug Spider to see what was inside. I was mainly interested in seeing how it is powered and have a closer look at the gears and motor inside. One of my first goals is to figure out how it is powered.

The first step is going to be to remove the robot’s “brain” – the small microprocessor that controls the motors. Currently, the motors are controlled via infrared, but as a first step in hijacking it, I want to set it up to get it’s commands from the Arduino board.

The spider is powered by three 1.5v, 250 mah LR44 batteries. It looks like they are in parallel, which (if my understanding is correct) should add up to 4.5v @ 250mah. I would very much like to get the thing running on something rechargeable, perhaps a small battery from one of those cheap rc helicopters. Hopefully I can learn a little about how much juice it can take without catching on fire! It would be great if I could increase power without destroying it. Either way – I am going to need a second robot!

Here is a little gallery of today’s “exploratory operation”.

The first step – Just open the battery hatch. This is the normal way that you change batteries:

The second thing I wanted to do was get a good look at whatever was under the hood, so I removed the three screws that hold on the battery compartment.

This revealed that the wires that supply power are soldered into the back of the battery compartment, so I will have to unearth my soldering gun to get that all the way off. I was still able to get a little further understanding, as by popping off the compartment, I was able to get a really good picture of the chip that controls the robot.
I think that if I can sort out what is goin on with that chip, I will be able to figure out what I am trying to replicate on the Arduino! At this point, I just put it all back together – I will try to interpret what is going on with the little circuit board before I do any more with the robot. I also wanted to get it back together to see what kind of load the robot is able to carry in it’s stock form.


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Jordan Walton says

Can you try to mod both the spider and scarab so that it can control itself?