When [Scott Baker] found a Heathkit Hero Junior on eBay, he grabbed it. He had one as a kid, but it was long sold. The robot arrived with no electronics, so the first order of business is to give it some new modern brains including an ATMega328 and a Raspberry Pi. You can see the start of the project in the video below.
So far, you can see a nice teardown of the chassis and what’s left of the little robot’s drive system. This wasn’t the big Hero-1 that you probably remember, but it was still a pretty solid platform, especially for the time it was on the market.
[Scott] took over the project from the eBay seller. The original plan included some 3D printed parts to mount a web camera and some other sensors. If you’ve ever wanted to see someone characterize an unfamiliar stepper motor, this is your chance.
We don’t know what happened to the original electronics, but we do know that the original Hero Jr. had a 6808 CPU with a whopping 2 K of RAM and 32 K of ROM. You could upgrade to 24 K of RAM. The original also had an SC-01 speech synthesizer, along with sensors for light and sound. There was also a sonar sensor and two 6 V rechargeable batteries. For the advanced user, you could connect a serial port and use the BASIC cartridge.
By the end of the video, [Scott] could drive the thing around using a joystick. We are sure there’s more to come. Meanwhile, if you want to see the different models Heathkit made over eight years, check out the Old Robots Site. According to them, Heath sold 4,000 of these little monsters along with some 17,000 of the bigger siblings.
We’ve seen Hero upgrades before, of course. Heathkit is back, sort of, although we don’t think we’ll see the likes of the Hero family of robots again anytime soon.
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