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Dementedwombat
01-11-2009, 07:58 PM
Hi everyone. I've been looking at this community for a while now and finally decided to knuckle up and join. I am a longtime techhead who is just getting into robotics. Competing in a Mech War looks like a good goal to aim for (no pun intended) as a future project, sort of a "trial by fire" kind of thing.

What I was thinking now is to get a Bioloid kit and start experimenting with some basic codeing to get myself familiar with how this whole robot thing works. I'm wondering if there is any advice especially important to someone who has a longterm goal of competing in this event. I don't have any delusions of getting enough programing knowledge to build a competative robot in three months, but there's always next year (and the year after that, repeat ad nauseam).

I appologise if this is miscategorized. Since my main ambition is to build a Mech Warrior I thought I should ask about it here.

ooops
01-11-2009, 08:14 PM
Welcome DW:)
As for your Mechwar goal ... any excuse to get a bot is a good one:)
The Bioloid is a great starter kit, as for adapting it to Mechwars ... others will have to participate in that conversation.

Adrenalynn
01-11-2009, 09:00 PM
Looks like as good a spot as any to me!

I think the Bioloid kit is a great place to start. Did you see the new open library/api for the CM5 that Andrew posted to the Trossen blog awhile back?

Dementedwombat
01-11-2009, 09:11 PM
Did you see the new open library/api for the CM5 that Andrew posted to the Trossen blog awhile back?

I didn't get a chance to see that (and probably wouldn't know what to do with it if I did). You got a link?

Adrenalynn
01-12-2009, 12:01 AM
Don't I always? :)

You can get to it here: http://blog.trossenrobotics.com/index.php a few articles back. Here's the pertinent stuff:

Custom C Library for Bioloid Released (http://blog.trossenrobotics.com/index.php/2008/12/19/custom-c-library-for-bioloid-released/)

December 19th, 2008 by Andrew
Matt and Stuart from the Robosavvy Forums have released a (http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3215)libavr/libbioloid C library for the CM5 controller (http://robosavvy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3215), allowing you to program your CM-5 Bioloid (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/bioloid-robot-system.aspx?a=blog) Controller directly in C. Itís a work in progress still, but itís always great to see grassroots projects like this come to life. Programming the CM-5 in C has been possible for some time, but it is somewhat of a convoluted process. The project creators are setting out to demystify the process as well as provide a working library of commands to make custom programming of the Bioloid that much easier. Great work guys! Canít wait to see this project continue to mature!
The Bioloid continues to be a favorite among roboticists and universities alike, with itís support community growing daily proving it to be an incredibly versatile research platform. Check out our Bioloid product page (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/bioloid-robot-system.aspx?a=blog) for more information!
http://www.trossenrobotics.com/images/productimages/bioloid/img_10.2.jpg (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/bioloid-comprehensive-robot-kit.aspx?a=blog)

DresnerRobotics
01-12-2009, 02:15 AM
Welcome!

The bioloid system is a great place to start! One of your biggest hurdles is going to be the software side of things, but the tools are there for you to get started. I would recommend picking up an arduino and starting the process of learning C, and going from there. Once you get a good understanding of C basics, you can move on to programming the bioloid system in C.

Add in a camera system and a few basic circuits to interface to the guns and you're good to go with whatever design you can come up with using the Bioloid system.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you like!

Dementedwombat
01-12-2009, 03:55 PM
I just got a spark of inspiration. I think I'll have a go at building one of these. The legs are completely unstable as it stands now (even I know that) but the general design should be preservable.

(Who says everything has to be from Mech Warrior?)

EDIT: I was looking through the Bioloid kits and I found a picture in the beginner kit that's almost identical in body shape to my dreadnought. see (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/images/productimages/bioloid/beginnerkit01.jpg)

I think I'll order a beginner kit and start messing around. I can order more servos and stuff as I get more familiar with the programming (although an Zigbee board might be a good thing to get right away, huh).

MSpurk
01-15-2009, 09:04 PM
I was totally thinking about Warhammer 40k dreadnaught's as well. Short stocky legs + big thick torsos = beautiful Mechwars design.

-Matt-

Dementedwombat
01-15-2009, 09:25 PM
Well, the time has finally come for me to buy the equipment. I've already decided on the beginner Bioloid kit (I'm just getting used to the system right now, not trying to do anything fancy) and I think a Zigbee board would be a good thing to buy right now.

Is there a better transmitter to use than the stock Bioloid one (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/bioloid-zigbee-wireless-module-set.aspx)? I'm leaning towards it right now so that I don't have to do any fancy programing to get it working. Once I get some more experience I'll probably end up overhauling the whole system anyway but for now I'll take the path of least resistance.

DresnerRobotics
01-15-2009, 09:59 PM
To get any real control (aiming) out of it you're going to have to get fancy with coding anyway. By default you can only use it to emulate another CM-5 and send basic commands (move forward, turn left, execute Y motion, etc)

Dementedwombat
01-15-2009, 10:11 PM
I was expecting something like that. But for now I was just going to get familiar with how the Bioloid system works. Right now I'll be happy just to get the little bugger waddling around on my desk. Once I understand that I can start modifying it for Mech Warfare.


To get any real control (aiming) out of it you're going to have to get fancy with coding anyway. By default you can only use it to emulate another CM-5 and send basic commands (move forward, turn left, execute Y motion, etc)

Ironman
01-22-2009, 01:22 PM
... I'm on the wall.

Should I join in the competition?

or should I do another project...

hmmmmm

either way i've got a limited amount of money, about 1.5k

this be enough to build me a competition worthy robot.

not to mention i've got to make sure i have enough time for this thing...

DresnerRobotics
01-22-2009, 01:29 PM
1.5k is enough to comfortably build a biped equipped for it, a quad would be even cheaper.

Question really is how good you are with code, and how much time you have. You can still make it for this years competition if you start now and hustle, but even if not there's always next year.


... I'm on the wall.

Should I join in the competition?

or should I do another project...

hmmmmm

either way i've got a limited amount of money, about 1.5k

this be enough to build me a competition worthy robot.

not to mention i've got to make sure i have enough time for this thing...

Ironman
01-22-2009, 01:37 PM
i could devote maybe 5 to 10 hrs a week during the next couple weeks, in about a month i could pick it up to for sure 10 hrs a week.

then spring break so there's like a week of non stop work.

I'm alright with C.

still a few operators escape me.

for example what does -> do in C?

lnxfergy
01-22-2009, 06:17 PM
for example what does -> do in C?

ptr->x is equal to (*ptr).x

Which in english means, dereference the pointer, then get the thingy (child? I guess thats too O.O. for C) of the item pointed to by ptr.

-Fergs

Ironman
01-22-2009, 09:24 PM
hmmm that would be handy.

Dementedwombat
01-24-2009, 09:33 AM
It came yesterday. I'm now the proud owner of a Bioloid beginner kit and two Zigbee boards. I chewed my way through the users manual pretty quickly. I'm surprised how much simpler this is than the Robonova I bought a couple years ago. I'll probably be quite happy fiddling with my new purchace for a while. That said, I definitely need more servos.

P.S. The list of warnings in the instruction manual is good to read if you want a laugh. Apparently you must use the kit for 6 months before using it to create your own robots. I guess I can't start on my mech untill July ;).

Adrenalynn
01-24-2009, 11:32 AM
If you don't follow instructions, it'll explode - and you'll void the warranty! [snicker]

sam
01-24-2009, 07:00 PM
void the warranty! [snicker]

Seems to happen often :tongue:

Adrenalynn
01-24-2009, 07:39 PM
It's what I do. :)

Usually it's just a dremel and a hot air rework gun. Today, it was a plasma cutter and a die grinder. Sometimes ya need to pull out the BigGirlTools. :)

Dementedwombat
01-26-2009, 10:23 PM
I got bad news. I was working in Robot Terminal and disabled the torque on a servo to rotate it by hand. I only found out after I moved it that I didn't actually disable the torque. The computer now thinks the servo is working fine but it doesn't move. I've had the kit less than a week and already broke one servo (25% of my entire stock :)).

If I want to get into this hobby for real I'll have to buy spare parts of everything.

I decided to use this as a learning opportunity. I am now very familiar with the inner workings of an AX-12+ servo.

DresnerRobotics
01-26-2009, 10:33 PM
Did you physically break it? Simply re-enabling torque does nothing?

Go pick up Dynacommander (http://www.forestmoon.com/Software/DynaCommander/) and put your CM-5 in manage mode, should be able to diagnose it and check all the register settings. You can set everything to factory default and see if it works then.

Dementedwombat
01-26-2009, 10:49 PM
I dumped the servo immediately after I gave it a "go" command. The "moving" parameter was set to 1 but the servo wasn't moving. That combined with the fact that it produces a nasty clicking sound when I rotate it manually (with torque disengaged this time) lead me to believe that I have officially broken my first servo. It's strange because the gears all looked alright when I opened it up.