August 3rd, 2020 Comments Off on Ready…

It Boots!

I’m always a little scared of applying power to a device after working on it. After flipping the antique switch, I was greeted by the classic 80’s synthetic voice saying “Ready”. It was glorious.


Before powering up the Hero 1, I reviewed the wiring top to bottom. As this was a teaching robot, there were certainly some jenky wiring. Additionally, the fuse blocks were open blocks – seems a bit dangerous to me.

Let’s replace these

I replaced the wiring from the batteries into the power supply, upgrading the fuse block to an Automotive ATM inline fuse blocks.

Much better

Once booted, I was also able to drive it around! (I’ll get video later).


Now that I have the Hero 1 Robot driving and talking, it’s time to think about upgrades required to interface it with a modern CPU. (I did say I was going to ROS enable it right?)

USB on a 35 year old robot?

In order to have a modern CPU communicate with the robot, I need a modern serial interface. Turns out the Robot Workshop offers a USB Serial bridge for the Hero 1!

It requires a memory upgrade and a late version ROM, so I picked those up as well.

Memory Upgrade


The Panels of the Hero 1 suffer from the classic yellowing of old plastic. I’m going to see if Retr0bright will help (or hurt). What’s Retr0bright? It’s a chemical process that was developed (or was it discovered) by the console restoration community. If it works on consoles, it should work on robots… I’ll report back.

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