It has been a while since I talked about the toys that made out days in the 90s and 2000s. Today, I had a nostalgic flashback of the Rumble Robots. Do you remember them?
If you were lucky to have been a teenager in the late 90s to early 2000s, you must have had the first-hand experience of playing or rather fighting with the Rumble. These remote-controlled robots would amuse the entire neighborhood kids for an entire weekend. And as if that was not enough, we could carry them to school and play with them during break time.
The Rumble Robots were very popular back then. We organized fight nights where all the kids in the bock would bring their Robots then we organize some sort of a contest where the last man would remain standing. It was fun back then, that we could stay overnight playing the game. The card game and the remote-controlled toy was a killer combination that would keep our adrenaline high all day and night long. It was a hotly contested match especially after swiping your card and you are forced into a trade because of the power differences of your robot. It was one of those games that you were still a winner even if you lose!
Rumble Robots was one of the most popular toys in the early 2000s. You could wage wars and keeps scores with your peers. It was a noisy affair with each side trying to cheer up their robots to win.
This Rumble Robot commercial will bring all the Nostalgia and sweet memories of the Rumble Robots.
The background history of the Rumble Robots.
The Rumble Robots were basically robots that could be controlled by a remote. The robots hit the market in the early 2000 and were very popular back then. The bots sold over two million units globally with the US and UK recording the highest sales volume. They were loved by kids and teenagers all over the world, with most of them reporting increased sales around holidays.
Unfortunately, the Rumble Robots had a short lifetime. They were discontinued in 2002 when the company behind it “Trendmasters” collapsed and filed for bankruptcy. Luckily, Cepia picked up after Trendmasters and crated robots called B2B Fighting Robots. The B2B Fighting Robots looked a lot like the original Rumble Robots with a few alterations.
Rumble Robots List
The Rumble Robots were designed in two teams; The Blue team and the Red team. Each had its own types of rumble robots.
- Bolt Man
- Pinbrawl (a.k.a King El Smasho)
- Knight Slammer
- Slammer Solder
- Lug Nut
- Eyezor (aka. King Slugnut)
The other common myth about the Rumble Robots was that the sunbeam batteries from dollar stores had the opposite effect to that of the Duracell. If the Sunbeam battery were placed on any robot, the robot would have a very high yelling voice. The background and battle sound effects would be very high. You would be fooled into thinking that it was real.
How the Rumble Robots Worked.
Rumble Robots were the most popular toys to hit the market in the early 2000s. There was no machinery involved in the design of the rumble robots. They had a combination of familiar technologies that were combined innovatively. The gaming element of these toys was what amazed me back then.
In this game, players would collect special cards to activate different fighting moves and increase the robots power level. The Rumble Robots were made of several components that made up how the Robot worked. The Robots were made up of modified versions of common electronic devices that we use on our day-to-day basis.
The toys were controlled by a remote that was designed in the shape of a gaming console control. The controls had a radio transmitter. When you move the controls, the transmitter sends radio signals at a certain frequency to a receiver located inside the toy. The signal included a unique set of electromagnetic pulses that represents a unique command that the robots would carry out.
The Rumble Robots used infrared light instead of radio waves. An infrared remote control is designed like a morse code lamp. It transmits the signal by flashing a small light-emitting diode (LED) in a unique pattern of long and short flashes. The infrared light emitted by the LED cannot be seen by naked eyes, but the light-sensitive robot panel had a sensor that could decode the light. The sensor will pick up the signal and decode the message into actions that the Robot would take.
This is a similar principle to that used by standard TV remote controls. Actually, some Rumble Robot remote controllers looked like a TV remote on the inside The plastic controller casing has:
- Three double A (AA) Batteries.
- An LED (Light-emitting Diode)
- Two distinctive circuit boards.
The circuit boards in a Rumble Robot controller has:
- A microchip is basically made of an IC (integrated circuit).
- Several transistors
- Many resistors
- A set of diodes, and
- Many buttons.
Generally, all the contact points are made up of an open section of the circuit between the battery and the IC (integrated circuit). Alternatively, the etched wires do not connect, so the electric current cannot flow to the microchip. Pressing the conductive plate down towards the wires will complete the circuit then the current will flow across the plates from one wire to the other and move on to the microchip.
The IC will sort out which buttons are pressed, generates an equivalent command signal, and passes it to onto a transistor. The transistor will amplify the signal and activate the infrared light. The controller will keep sending the signal as long as buttons are pressed.
When the signal reaches the robot's sensor, it is the equivalent of the message being received by the sensor. Once the Rumble Robot controller transmits the specific message via infrared. Each controller is made up of an A setting and a B setting. When you switch from one setting to the other, the microchip will change the flash pattern on the infrared signal.
The Robot has an A and B setting also. When you switch the robot from A to B, it will ignore the A-pattern signals but will register the B pattern signals. If you have two robots of the same model, you will have to set one on B and the other on A. Otherwise, one controller would activate both robots. Different models will use different patterns to make fighting easier.
The typical photocell consists of a light-sensitive semiconductor layer, sandwiched between two electrodes. The battery sends a constant electrical current across the two electrodes, whether the photocell is exposed to light or not. When you expose the photocell to the right kind of light, the boost in electrons amplifies the current flowing across the electrons. If the light flashes on and off, the current will increase and decrease in the same pattern. In this way, the photocell translates the light signal into an electrical signal Just like a solar cell.
The electrical signal will pass on to the robot’s central IC. Based on the digital pattern of the signal, the IC carries out certain actions, like moving forward, turning around, or throwing a punch. There are several components included in making this motion.
Just like the cars that are controlled by radio waves, the Rumble Robots is made up of four wheels that are powered by electric motors. The bots had two driving motors, that spin a series of gears to move the robot’s wheels. The motors are positioned at the bottom of the robot.
When the IC receives the intended signal, it sends the electric current to one or all the motors. Here each monitor will spin in two different directions. By reversing the current flowing to the motors, the IC can change the direction the robot takes. If they all receive a positive current, all the wheels will spin the same way moving the robot forward. Incase both wheels get negative current, the robot will move backward. But if one motor receives a positive current and the other receives a negative current, the wheels will spin in the opposite direction and the robot will turn. If the current on both motors is switched on, it will turn in the other direction.
Rumble robots have the 3rd motor in their head that is used to move the arms. Here, the motor will turn the central gear that will in turn move the racks. Here, the base of each gear has notches on both sides. In that it has two sections with teeth separated by two smooth sections the sections with teeth engage the teeth of the racks, which are attached to the robot’s arms. When the teeth are engaged the gear will slide the rack backward. But if the gear revolves around to the smooth section, it releases the rack. The rack is spring-loaded, so they punch forward on release.
This is the particular mechanism at work in "Lug Nut." Other Rumble Robots have different punching styles, with different gear arrangements, but the basic elements are fairly similar. The object of a Rumble Robot game is to get your robot to land effective blows against your opponent's robot. In the next section, we'll see how Rumble Robots register these hits.
How to Win Rumble Robot Fights
In a Rumble Robot match, the object is to score hits on the opposing bots. There are three ways to score hits:
- Hit the robot's terminate switch - Rumble Robots have a small bumper switch just behind the head. When the robot is pushed against the wall, or when another robot hits it from behind, the switch is pushed closed. This completes a circuit, which tells the integrated controller a hit has been scored.
- Tip the robot over - Each robot model has an internal gravity switch. The gravity switch has a pendulum element, which closes an electrical connection when you tilt the robot more than 60 degrees on its side. If one robot knocks another one over, the switch registers a hit.
- Drain the robot's power points with your laser - The laser is actually just a light-emitting diode, like the one in the controller. When you pull the fire trigger, the integrated circuit activates this light. Each robot also has a photocell on its base, which works the same way as the one on its head. This laser LED and photocell is calibrated to a different frequency than the controller transmitter and receiver, so the two systems don't interfere with one another. When the laser receiver picks up the infrared from another robot’s light beam, it tells the integrated circuit that the robot has been hit.
Do you have a recollection of these short-lived toys? What do you remember?