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StuartL
08-19-2008, 09:37 AM
Jon Hylands has pointed me here. Myself and a friend (Matt) have got a Bioloid bus device for Playstation 2 wireless controllers. We've only prototyped so far but if there's enough interest we'll put it into production.

The bus device would 'plug' into an existing wireless transceiver module (the thing you plug into the Playstation), although it's unclear whether people would want to be able to solder on their own transceiver (much smaller, "permanent" connection) or have a plug-in connector (slightly more expensive, easy changeover of controllers).

Production costs are unclear, as Jon well knows doing small runs of PCBs (the PCBs themselves and then the assembly) is surprisingly expensive, but it's still easily workable for a robot that's already set you back $1000. We're expecting $30-100 per unit, depending on volume and whether people want the PS2 socket on the board.

Interface to the Bioloid software would be trivial, it behaves very similarly to the AX-S1, and Matt/I are planning to release our Bioloid C library very soon if there's likely to be takeup of the hardware.

If you're genuinely interested post here, giving me an idea of commitment level. I don't want to do a 100-unit production run and then end up with 99 units I can't sell :D

lamont
08-19-2008, 06:25 PM
Color me interested. I picked up a ps2 wireless controller a year ago but never wired it up for anything useful. But putting it on a bioloid bus would save me a lot of time. I'd buy one, although I'm hoping you get nearer $50 than $100

crabfu
08-20-2008, 12:01 AM
I'm interested also :)

-Crabfu

trey3670
08-20-2008, 12:34 AM
im in!:veryhappy:

4mem8
08-20-2008, 12:50 AM
Me to, As I plan to get a bioloid in the next few months.

LoDebar
08-20-2008, 11:40 PM
Not to rain on anyones parade, but from my experience, the wireless PS2 controllers out there are not worth the money you pay for them for reliable wireless robotic control.

Things always work great at home, but when you get to a tournament you want to know for a fact that you have a solid link between your robot and transmitter.

The off the shelf wireless PS2 controllers have a very short range because they are class III devices (top of the line ones are class II, which I question since the their power output doesn't match class II devices). And are easily corrupted by other 2.4GHz noise/signals.

When you go to SF to compete, think of all the dozens of other people transmitting at the same time. Then think of how many of them bought the same cheap PS2 wireless controller you have and are transmitting at the same time doing different things?

Now if all you are going to do is run this at home, then the PS2 wireless controllers may work just fine. Just don't turn on the microwave oven. I am wondering how many people know how well microwave ovens interfear with these devices.

Pete

ScuD
08-21-2008, 01:53 PM
If you get the chance to use one, take a spectrum analyser, set the center frequency to 1Ghz, bandwith to say 2Ghz, point the probe in the air and be amazed at the crazy amount of rf noise you'll find around you.

That being said, competitions are hard environments for any RF system, be it simple 2.4ghz transmitters, bluetooth, wifi, ...

The advantage with the higher end systems is of course it's background for reliability with all the fault-diminishing processes etc.

But you do raise a good point, LoDeBar, and it should duly be noted.

StuartL
08-22-2008, 01:29 AM
In our testing at home we're finding that the PS2 2.4GHz link is much more reliable than the Robotis Zigbee link. If you run both at the same time the PS2 is fine, the Bioloid Zigbee is useless.

While the subject of interference is a serious one and something we do need to worry about in the world of having to control your robot by SOME method, a wireless PS/2 controller which is commercially designed to work with other PS/2 controllers in the same room seems one of the better choices.

And if you're particularly bothered the board has been tested with wired controllers too.

So yes, if you're bothered about interference (and I suggest you should be) wireless 2.4Ghz should worry you a little. However there's no practical alternative. Infrared doesn't work (well) in bright flourescent lighting, wired control is impractical in a battle scenario and WLAN is also 2.4GHz.

One thing I will say... Don't rely on the Robotis Zigbee control. It's, er, shoddy at best. I think the chances of Robotis using their own Zigbee in their up-coming remote control are very high indeed. Although that's likely to be out before we complete our first production run, so it'll be worth testing before anyone commits to a purchase.

DresnerRobotics
08-22-2008, 07:48 AM
Seeing as though this will act like any bioloid bus device it certainly does set itself apart from the upcoming bioloid controller. Unfortunately that requires (from what I've seen) a direct connection to a CM-5 controller. The fact that this acts as a bus device means we can access it with pretty much any language, which is great.

Count me as interested, even if this was something that wouldn't work out for Mech Wars given the interference issue, its definitely something I would pick up for home use.

trey3670
08-28-2008, 10:39 PM
ya gotta remember there are a lot of us out here who wont ever be near that many bots and this kinda thing would be great!

BauerMECH
08-29-2008, 07:51 AM
In our testing at home we're finding that the PS2 2.4GHz link is much more reliable than the Robotis Zigbee link. If you run both at the same time the PS2 is fine, the Bioloid Zigbee is useless.

While the subject of interference is a serious one and something we do need to worry about in the world of having to control your robot by SOME method, a wireless PS/2 controller which is commercially designed to work with other PS/2 controllers in the same room seems one of the better choices.

And if you're particularly bothered the board has been tested with wired controllers too.

So yes, if you're bothered about interference (and I suggest you should be) wireless 2.4Ghz should worry you a little. However there's no practical alternative. Infrared doesn't work (well) in bright flourescent lighting, wired control is impractical in a battle scenario and WLAN is also 2.4GHz.

One thing I will say... Don't rely on the Robotis Zigbee control. It's, er, shoddy at best. I think the chances of Robotis using their own Zigbee in their up-coming remote control are very high indeed. Although that's likely to be out before we complete our first production run, so it'll be worth testing before anyone commits to a purchase.

I remember Robogames '07 where there were several using Zigbee who, when nearing the wrestling octagon, would experience communication drop-out. We who were using BlueSMiRF's had no problems. Not really sure what the case was but... something to consider for sure. However, the soccer bots all use ZigBee modules, and they didn't seem to ever have any trouble either... :confused: Strange.


I remember Robogames '07
I remember StuartL too ... I'm sure you are still having trouble getting that dentist's drill sqeeling sound from my HiTec servos out of your head. :veryhappy: ...are you going to come back for '09?

gdubb2
08-29-2008, 11:56 AM
Hey All...

In doing some range checks with the wireless PS2 lashup that I am using on Bheka, I Also tried to add in other signals that may degrade the signal. But I don't have a lot of stuff that operate on 2.4 ghz.

My controller is a $20.00 GameStop branded unit made by Mad Catz.

My home is an old house with plaster-lathe walls.

The robot was sitting on a desk between my desktop monitor, and my laptop which were both on. My wifes PC was also on in the same area.

I wandered around the house trying to put as many walls and distance between me and the robot. The longest range I tried was 45 ft. with 3 walls (1 with a metal fireplace ). In the kitchen with 2 walls separation, and about 20 ft.I turned the microwave on and put the gamepad as near as possible without actually being inside it. I did not go outside.

I was surprised, it worked perfectly in all cases. They only claim 30 ft. range, and I got much more.

Other factors that I still need to consider, are electrical noise generated by the guns that will be very close to the PS2 receiver, the camera transmission.

Good luck everyone
Gary

Adrenalynn
08-29-2008, 12:05 PM
ya gotta remember there are a lot of us out here who wont ever be near that many bots and this kinda thing would be great!

[points to the top of the page]

Mech Wars forum... ;) That's why people are discussing the applicability to Mech Wars rather than general applicability.

majortom1001
09-14-2008, 04:15 AM
Count me as interested, I've not decided on any control system yet.

StuartL
11-07-2008, 05:28 AM
As of last night our pre-production run of ten boards arrived and we hand assembled the first one. It's looking good, although it hasn't any software on it yet it's responding well to the programming inputs and our electrical testing.

We plan to have some demo boards for people to see at the UK Robotics convention in Birmingham on Saturday 29th November. Most people reading this are based in the US so can't make it but anyone who can is invited to come along and see them in action.

We WILL be running a beta programme for a very limited number of people, primarily people in the UK for obvious reasons.

Obscene
11-18-2008, 06:23 PM
I just got my Bioloid in recently, and I'm definitely interested. Count me in.

MSK Mech Commander
01-12-2009, 07:59 PM
Hey that's a great idea! Go for it! Once people catch wind of this in the market a lot more people will totally buy it!