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View Full Version : Looking to start with an SSC-32 and...? Suggestions



spiffwilkie
08-26-2008, 10:40 PM
Hi, Im 28 from Memphis, TN. I am a student in CS...and have been for quite some time. I've been out of school for a few semesters due to physical issues but am looking at way to continue my learning until I return. I have been studying java and decided to find a fun project that will help me develop some new skill sets. Before considering doing anything robotic in nature I decided that I wanted to build one of those cheezy USB gun turrets that shoots little nerf missiles. Then I thought, "what if it had a built in camera??"...then, "what if it had a motion sensor??"
My ideas tended to get a bit more fantastical, but I digress...
Googling brought me to look at the phidgets line of products. They seem to be able to do pretty much anything I want to do at a basic level. At the moment , the thing holding me back is the price point. I need someone to convince me to buy some of that stuff or show me a cheaper alternative in the mean time. My main concern is that I get to use my java...and have fun.
Apart from a new interest in robotics, I dabble in FTA Satellite, saltwater and reef aquariums, and arcade restoration and repair.

That's about it for me.
Thanks

ooops
08-27-2008, 08:57 AM
spiffwilkie, Welcome!!! I am not sure of a cheaper alternative to the phidgets, but highly recomend jumping in head first.

sam
08-27-2008, 09:14 AM
Welcome to TRC!

You could always use a Chip like the Atmel 640 or Basic Stamp to create a 'connection' between your inputs outputs and the computer. You would need your computer to have a Serial port to control it. Then your could access it with the coding. I guess since your in CS you could manage this task. In the end it's going to be pretty much the same price thought, plus phigets is USB, wich is great.

Adrenalynn
08-27-2008, 10:58 AM
What phidgets parts are you looking at?

And, yes, welcome to the TRC!

4mem8
08-27-2008, 01:59 PM
Spiffwilkie: Welcome to TRC, Great place to be, I look forward to what you have to offer, or projects that you are working on.

spiffwilkie
08-27-2008, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the welcome. I'm looking forward to trying out some projects in the near future.

re: Adrenalynn

I was originally looking at the 4 motor servo kit. I really only need a couple of servos at the moment, but I like the fact that it comes with the 8 motor controller (although a 2 or 4 motor controller would probably suffice). I have a few projects in mind that I really would only need 2 servos and a controller for, but I'm also interested in RFID technology (I don't have anything specific in mind yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something). The USB support was also a plus when it comes to the phidgets. I could get by without it, but it would make things easier.

This originally started as a way to stretch out my java muscles...the robotics part is a bonus :)

Adrenalynn
08-27-2008, 06:19 PM
public class CommPortOpen ( ;)

I'm afraid I'm not so much in agreement with Sam here.

No microcontroller is required to communicate from serial to USB, be it TTL or 10v.

USB automatically ~ doubles the price of everything. It's the price of USB - which is really kinda interesting to me since the components aren't that big a part of the BOM.

I run the SSC-32 for servos, but you're writing all your own control there, no fancy libraries.

I have three tutorials coming up in the next couple days related to RFID. The first will be constructing a dual voltage bread-board compatible power supply, the second will be turning the Parallax/Grand Ideas RFID reader into a wireless RFID reader, and the third will be turning either that RFID reader or my wireless version into USB with < $12 in parts. Coincidentally, one could also turn any of the serial servo controllers into USB for < $12 too... Of course, if you don't want to build hardware and you don't mind not having it in an integrated solution, you can just toss a USB -> Serial prebuilt adapter on there too for $15-20...

The upshot is whether you feel the need for a prepackaged java library or are ok with writing your own - that's what the real value-add is.

sam
08-27-2008, 07:34 PM
public class CommPortOpen ( ;)

I'm afraid I'm not so much in agreement with Sam here.

No microcontroller is required to communicate from serial to USB, be it TTL or 10v.

USB automatically ~ doubles the price of everything. It's the price of USB - which is really kinda interesting to me since the components aren't that big a part of the BOM.

I run the SSC-32 for servos, but you're writing all your own control there, no fancy libraries.

I have three tutorials coming up in the next couple days related to RFID. The first will be constructing a dual voltage bread-board compatible power supply, the second will be turning the Parallax/Grand Ideas RFID reader into a wireless RFID reader, and the third will be turning either that RFID reader or my wireless version into USB with < $12 in parts. Coincidentally, one could also turn any of the serial servo controllers into USB for < $12 too... Of course, if you don't want to build hardware and you don't mind not having it in an integrated solution, you can just toss a USB -> Serial prebuilt adapter on there too for $15-20...

The upshot is whether you feel the need for a prepackaged java library or are ok with writing your own - that's what the real value-add is.

Well, for sure you don't need a microcontroller to... Woah, didn't get what you said. You don't need a micro to to communicate from serial to USB? I think I was talking about just using the micro to control the inputs/outputs using just one serial port. But I don't think you need one (not sure at all here). But you could control more things with only one micro than having to connect things directly?

USB does add a lot to the price tag. Kind of moring. But now that my USB to serial works, it's awesome! :veryhappy:

Can't wait to see the tutorials! :happy:

spiffwilkie
08-27-2008, 08:06 PM
public class CommPortOpen ( ;)

I'm afraid I'm not so much in agreement with Sam here.

No microcontroller is required to communicate from serial to USB, be it TTL or 10v.

USB automatically ~ doubles the price of everything. It's the price of USB - which is really kinda interesting to me since the components aren't that big a part of the BOM.

I run the SSC-32 for servos, but you're writing all your own control there, no fancy libraries.

I have three tutorials coming up in the next couple days related to RFID. The first will be constructing a dual voltage bread-board compatible power supply, the second will be turning the Parallax/Grand Ideas RFID reader into a wireless RFID reader, and the third will be turning either that RFID reader or my wireless version into USB with < $12 in parts. Coincidentally, one could also turn any of the serial servo controllers into USB for < $12 too... Of course, if you don't want to build hardware and you don't mind not having it in an integrated solution, you can just toss a USB -> Serial prebuilt adapter on there too for $15-20...

The upshot is whether you feel the need for a prepackaged java library or are ok with writing your own - that's what the real value-add is.


O.k. I talked myself into getting an SSC-32 while I was out mowing the lawn tonight (I do my best thinking while mowing and showering, but that's another story for another time). What else do I need on my shopping list to get this going? So far my list includes an SSC-32 and two HS-322HD servos.

Thanks,
Steve

Adrenalynn
08-27-2008, 08:18 PM
If you're going with an HS-322, it'd better be a VERY light-weight device.

So let's see here... Do you have a usb to serial adapter, or willing to build one?

Actually, you don't need too much more. A camera maybe? Do you want to do motion tracking without a camera (hence ultrasound or IR and something to read them with)... Did you look at the Serializer? It's java-ready, controls a few servos, and can read sensors out the wazoo (as well as run over serial, USB, bluetooth, zigbee, ...) It's more expensive by a long shot but gives you more growing room in the sensor department.

If you're going to use a camera, you should take a look at the free software package roborealm.com You can talk to it from java over TCP sockets, and it knows how to do the RightThing with your SSC-32... It's really spiffy, autonomous tracking made trivially easy. :)

spiffwilkie
08-27-2008, 08:27 PM
If you're going with an HS-322, it'd better be a VERY light-weight device.

So let's see here... Do you have a usb to serial adapter, or willing to build one?

Actually, you don't need too much more. A camera maybe? Do you want to do motion tracking without a camera (hence ultrasound or IR and something to read them with)... Did you look at the Serializer? It's java-ready, controls a few servos, and can read sensors out the wazoo (as well as run over serial, USB, bluetooth, zigbee, ...) It's more expensive by a long shot but gives you more growing room in the sensor department.

If you're going to use a camera, you should take a look at the free software package roborealm.com You can talk to it from java over TCP sockets, and it knows how to do the RightThing with your SSC-32... It's really spiffy, autonomous tracking made trivially easy. :)

Hmm...really lightweight? Maybe I'll rethink that. I'll have to look at the specs again (I'm sort of blindly wandering into this). Any suggestions on other servos? As far as cameras go, are usb webcams usable? I have a few (relatively) high quality ones gathering dust. I guess I can google most of this. I'm just trying to strike a cost/quality balance with all this.

Adrenalynn
08-27-2008, 08:38 PM
Would you consider starting a new thread and I'll move this over and we can chase it from there? At 29 pages already, probably should lighten its load. ;)

Dinner time, back in a few!

spiffwilkie
08-27-2008, 08:56 PM
I'm continuing my line of questioning from over here in the introduction thread. (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1394&page=29) I'm just starting out and was going to purchase an SSC-32 at the suggestion of a couple of people. I also want to get a couple of servos and was initially thinking of getting some HS-322's but that's up in the air now. Does anyone have some suggestions on some good servos to get? This is a budget purchase and I'm not looking to break the bank (yet). (Below is the last post I made in that thread).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrenalynn http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/ambience/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?p=19217#post19217)
If you're going with an HS-322, it'd better be a VERY light-weight device.

So let's see here... Do you have a usb to serial adapter, or willing to build one?

Actually, you don't need too much more. A camera maybe? Do you want to do motion tracking without a camera (hence ultrasound or IR and something to read them with)... Did you look at the Serializer? It's java-ready, controls a few servos, and can read sensors out the wazoo (as well as run over serial, USB, bluetooth, zigbee, ...) It's more expensive by a long shot but gives you more growing room in the sensor department.

If you're going to use a camera, you should take a look at the free software package roborealm.com You can talk to it from java over TCP sockets, and it knows how to do the RightThing with your SSC-32... It's really spiffy, autonomous tracking made trivially easy. :)

Hmm...really lightweight? Maybe I'll rethink that. I'll have to look at the specs again (I'm sort of blindly wandering into this). Any suggestions on other servos? As far as cameras go, are usb webcams usable? I have a few (relatively) high quality ones gathering dust. I guess I can google most of this. I'm just trying to strike a cost/quality balance with all this.


Would you consider starting a new thread and I'll move this over and we can chase it from there? At 29 pages already, probably should lighten its load. ;)

Dinner time, back in a few!

Sorry, I was getting carried away.
I started one here. (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?p=19221#post19221)

Adrenalynn
08-28-2008, 12:15 AM
First - no need to apologize! Threads go all over here, that's what happens when creative people get excited! In no way do any of us want to squelch that.

As far as servo choice - how much weight to you want to fling around, how large is your base, and how much is it hanging over that?

You kinda have to top-down some of this stuff before you can build it bottom-up...

Yup! Webcams are definitely usable. Tyberius here has two [super cheap] webcams on his J5 running with Roborealm.

spiffwilkie
08-28-2008, 07:22 AM
First - no need to apologize! Threads go all over here, that's what happens when creative people get excited! In no way do any of us want to squelch that.

As far as servo choice - how much weight to you want to fling around, how large is your base, and how much is it hanging over that?

You kinda have to top-down some of this stuff before you can build it bottom-up...

Yup! Webcams are definitely usable. Tyberius here has two [super cheap] webcams on his J5 running with Roborealm.

I'm not 100% sure on the weight just yet (I haven't acquired all my parts or decided for sure what I'm going to do). At the moment, my plans are to have the servos move a small board; each one on a different axis. I'm guessing the weight would be under a pound.
If nothing else, I'll just find small, simple projects (hardware-wise) to work on until I get the coding down. I don't want to plan on having too much functionality if I can't write the programs.
I'm afraid of getting in too far over my head at the start and then giving up out of frustration. Once I get a few "Hello World" style robotic projects down I can sink a little more money into the hobby and upgrade.

spiffwilkie
08-28-2008, 05:02 PM
Well, I ordered the board and a couple of HS-475's. Unfortunately the SSC-32 is on backorder at the moment. ...sigh...

sam
08-28-2008, 07:04 PM
Under a pound

Well, that's is really vague. :wink: But I understand. I think for the moment the servos you bought will be fine.

I think you will like the board.

Wise decision as far as the waiting befor plunging part of your reply. That's what I did and it took nearly 6 years before actualy being able to take advantage of the robot that I bought (way to advanced for me at the time).

spiffwilkie
09-08-2008, 11:24 PM
Under a pound

Well, that's is really vague. :wink: But I understand. I think for the moment the servos you bought will be fine.

I think you will like the board.

Wise decision as far as the waiting befor plunging part of your reply. That's what I did and it took nearly 6 years before actualy being able to take advantage of the robot that I bought (way to advanced for me at the time).

*Siggghhh* and I'm still waiting for the board to get back into stock. Last week I was told it would be three days. This week, I haven't heard back yet (Of course, I only asked this morning).

Anytime is swell with me.

Alex
09-09-2008, 08:31 AM
Unfortunately the SSC-32 is on backorder at the moment. ...sigh..

spiffwilkie, first of all, welcome to the TRC!

We actually do have the SSC-32's back in stock, but just not punched in the system yet. The person in charge of restocking has been off for the past week but is returning tomorrow. If you email me with your name, addy & order number, I'll make sure to get the SSC-32 out to you today:)

spiffwilkie
09-09-2008, 04:23 PM
spiffwilkie, first of all, welcome to the TRC!

We actually do have the SSC-32's back in stock, but just not punched in the system yet. The person in charge of restocking has been off for the past week but is returning tomorrow. If you email me with your name, addy & order number, I'll make sure to get the SSC-32 out to you today:)

It's all good. I haven't had time to mess with anything in the last week anyhow. My wife is probably glad I don't have the stuff yet. I also just got my shipping notice in the email so I should be cursing at my stuff by this weekend.

Thanks!

Alex
09-10-2008, 10:16 AM
I also just got my shipping notice in the email so I should be cursing at my stuff by this weekend.

What fun is robotics if you can't curse it, lol:D

spiffwilkie
09-11-2008, 05:18 PM
O.k. Stuff is here. Now I can't find my cable to hook it up to the p.c. I know I have one around here somewhere...I found everything from a C64 tape drive to an eprom programmer but no serial cable. I really need to dejunk. Of course, as soon as I throw something out, I need it again (which I why I'll never get rid of the tape drive :veryhappy: )

Adrenalynn
09-11-2008, 06:01 PM
I have several. :) [Of all the above... ;)]

spiffwilkie
09-11-2008, 08:25 PM
Alright. Everything is working great. Now to make a robot to take over the world!

Adrenalynn
09-11-2008, 10:58 PM
Woot!

Keep us posted re: that world-takin'-over-stuff!

sam
09-13-2008, 03:26 PM
Cool!

Congratulation! I plan on taking over the world too you know. :tongue:

Keep us updated!

spiffwilkie
09-13-2008, 11:16 PM
Baby steps. Patience all. It's all about baby steps :)
Actually my original idea is going well, but I came into a wealth of etch a sketches (well, maybe 2 of them). Today I rigged up the servos to the etch a sketch but I'm a little limited due to the servo range of motion. I'll keep the computerized etch a sketch on the back burner while I work on my other project (yet to be named) and get the proper equipment to properly sketch and etch.

Adrenalynn
09-13-2008, 11:31 PM
Sounds like it's time to mod those servos for 360deg rotation. :)

I considered taking over the world, then realized I didn't want it...