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View Full Version : [Question(s)] VIA EPIA PX10000G Pico-ITX Mainboard



BMoscato
10-02-2008, 08:53 PM
Hey All,

I'm familiar with programming the Basic Stamp and have decided to purchased the Pico-ITX to get into PC based robotics after reading the articles in Servo magazine based on the Johnny 5 project. My question is what OS is suggested? XP? 2003 Server? Also, is there any other applications I should be considering?

I have a LynxMotion Rover and plan on trying to make it autonomous with the Pico board.

Bryan

lnxfergy
10-02-2008, 09:01 PM
The pico-ITX is a little light on processing power, so avoid high-needs OS's like Vista. Depending on what you want to do, you can pick from XP or some linux distro. If you have no linux background or are wanting to use roborealm you will probably be in XP territory. I believe that Tyberius and 4mem are both using Windows OS's (XP?).

Also, remember, that to talk with sensors like IR rangers and Sonars, or to even drive the motors, you will need some extra boards that will communicate with the PC via either USB or old-fashioned serial port. Something like the serializer only really works under windows, serial port devices like the SSC-32 will work with anything, and phidgets should work under any OS I believe.

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
10-02-2008, 09:11 PM
I just want to chime in (more later) and point out for accuracy that there is *nothing* making the Serializer a "windows device" in reality, only perception (libraries). The Serializer is just like the SSC-32 - it takes command strings over the serial ports and spits result strings back over the serial port. Mine's running on a Linux box right now, and a user here (wait and see if he chimes in first) built an entire college robotics program around the Serializer + Linux + a modified R/C car + PicoITX...

sthmck
10-02-2008, 09:15 PM
I just picked up a copy of Linux Robotics by D Jay Newman. I have skimmed over it and it seems to have a lot of good stuff in it, and I suggest that you get a copy. I can't really say which OS will work best for you, it really is a matter of personal preference. Like fergs says be a good idea to stay away from vista. What sensors are you planning on using on your robot?

DresnerRobotics
10-02-2008, 09:23 PM
Hey All,

I'm familiar with programming the Basic Stamp and have decided to purchased the Pico-ITX to get into PC based robotics after reading the articles in Servo magazine based on the Johnny 5 project. My question is what OS is suggested? XP? 2003 Server? Also, is there any other applications I should be considering?

I have a LynxMotion Rover and plan on trying to make it autonomous with the Pico board.

Bryan

Well first of all, a COMPLETE NEWB wrote that article, so you don't want to listen to a word he says. :D

Now that said- Article #3 in the Pico-ITX Johnny 5 series covers the software side of things, as well as trimming down XP a bit for robotics use. I believe that is going to be November's issue. #2 covers the installation of the pico and what supporting peripherals you need to get one installed on a robot.

I'd suggest Windows XP, it's flexible and fairly light. You should definitely check out Roborealm, it's an awesome piece of software that you can take full advantage of with an onboard pico-itx. I also highly recommend the Serializer platform, as it is pretty much a perfect fit for any PC based robot. Also check out the Range Wizard if you're planning on a distance sensor array for autonomy.

Let me know if you have any further questions regarding the Pico. Glad the article got you into the PC Based Robotics side of things ;)

4mem8
10-02-2008, 11:52 PM
Well for what it is worth Bmoscato Tyberius has helped me more than I could possibly ask for with my J5, sending parts to me for this project. So I will not be far away from Installing the O/S XP lite system, It will be running an SCC-32 pico ITX, 60w p/s and a 16Gig Hdd. plus roborealm and anything else I need to get it up and running. So fun times ahead. Having not built a PC based robot system before it should be fun, I hope.

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 07:34 AM
Thanks for the many replies and ideas!

Being a MS certified geek I'm going to stay within that realm and put XP on the box. I already installed 2003 Server on a 80GB drive but I'm waiting on a 32 and 64 GB SSD to be delivered. I guess I'm still a newb. What is the serializer you guys keep talking about? Is that just another name for the SSC32?

As for sensors I plan on using a Parallax Ping)), 4 Sharp GP2D12, a IR Proximity Detector Sensor and some kind of video camera for vision.

I think my first task is going to be trying to figure out how to connect the Pico to the Sabertooth 2X10 Motor Controller and then how to implement each sensor.

Thanks again for all the info.

Bryan

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 08:27 AM
By serializer do you mean the The Serializer WL Robot Controller that Robotics Connection sells?

lnxfergy
10-03-2008, 09:21 AM
Yep, that's the serializer.

-Fergs

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 09:34 AM
Thanks. :happy:

DresnerRobotics
10-03-2008, 10:17 AM
Few things: As far as hooking up an SSC-32/Sabretooth it's pretty straight forward. SSC-32 interfaces with your pico boards serial port, Sabretooth piggybacks into your SSC-32. You're still left with the solution of interfacing sensors though (much like I was with my J5 project).

Hence the Serializer. It acts as "Bridgeware" between your pico board and your sensors. Provides I/O ports with a .NET API library backing it up. You could plug your SSC-32/Sabretooth into it as well. The Serializer is primarily built around the .NET languages, so to use the documented library you'd have to be somewhat proficient in one of those. Could use VB.NET though since you're already familiar with Pbasic, wouldn't be a huge jump.

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 10:38 AM
OK, so I ordered the serializer. My next dumb question is do I need the SSC-32 to use the Sabertooth with my setup?

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 10:53 AM
Ordered the SSC. One can never have too many toys. lol...

DresnerRobotics
10-03-2008, 11:09 AM
The Serializer is capable of controlling the Sabertooth directly, but for $39.99 the SSC-32 is a must have for any roboticist in my opinion. And when you want to add an arm to that rover, you're covered ;)

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 11:14 AM
Understood and thanks for taking the time to explain my needs and options for my project.

Now please bare with me over the next few weeks as I may have an onslaught of questions that everyone here might find trivial. LOL...

Adrenalynn
10-03-2008, 11:20 AM
I again respectfully disagree, Tyberius, with the dotNet sentiment. There is _nothing_ preventing it from being used on a Vic_freakin_20 or an Apple ][ or a TI/99 or a Ramtek graphics terminal or a Newton - and especially nothing preventing it from being useful on any modern computer.

DresnerRobotics
10-03-2008, 12:06 PM
I wasn't trying to convey that it would only work with .NET, simply pointing out that since he is running a windows XP system(and not a Vic 20, Apple ][, or a IT/99, etc), the Serializer is an ideal choice due to the very nicely written .NET API library behind it ;)

Adrenalynn
10-03-2008, 12:26 PM
Sorry, I felt that this:

>>The Serializer is primarily built around the .NET languages, so to use the documented library you'd have to be somewhat proficient in one of those.

indicated that one would have to be proficient in the .NET platform, so if I wanted to use, say: GCC on Windows, or PHP or PERL on Windows, for example, I'd be hosed. The fact is that I haven't seen any programming language or hardware platform in twenty years that wouldn't work just fine with it (some hardware tweaking may be required for cell phones and PDAs since their serial ports aren't always exposed with easy to use connectors)

Actually, just to be cute, I think I'll get around one of these days soon to reading an IR sensor (since I can't find where I put my darned sonars) with a dos batch file under windows cmd... ;)

DresnerRobotics
10-03-2008, 12:44 PM
Well for a Windows system, using the software and libraries provided by Serializer, IT IS primarily built around .NET :p

It's marketed as a .NET development board and he is using windows, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel I'm suggesting he use what is already available and documented. Not everyone is a fan of changing their TV channel using a relaying network of satellites that feed off of a environmental sensor placed above a smoke signal.

Adrenalynn
10-03-2008, 12:51 PM
Ok - I'll let it go.

BMoscato
10-03-2008, 01:51 PM
You both had valuable information. Now hug and make up. lol...

4mem8
10-03-2008, 03:21 PM
Those two!!! Naw, I bet they pm each other though and make up, We will never know. Ha ha.

DresnerRobotics
10-03-2008, 03:33 PM
I tried to PM her, she said: "Sorry, I'm busy packing my guns and jumping on my private jet to Chicago"

4mem8
10-03-2008, 07:31 PM
Don't jest my friend, She will be on your back door before you know it.

Adrenalynn
10-04-2008, 12:15 AM
Why go to Chicago when it's so easy to enter coordinates into a Tomahawk?

4mem8
10-04-2008, 12:47 AM
Sneaky, Sneaky, Adrenalynn.

Adrenalynn
10-04-2008, 01:17 AM
Efficient more than sneaky...

BMoscato
10-04-2008, 04:44 PM
Hmm... Can anyone help me program a Tomahawk? LOL...

4mem8
10-04-2008, 05:27 PM
Adrenalynn can.