View Full Version : [Project] Robot Controller

01-10-2011, 01:58 AM
I made a video instead describing the project.

YouTube - Transmitter Demo1

This is an ongoing project and will post updates.


01-11-2011, 06:23 AM

The project looks very interesting!
Do you find the gimbals reliable, how is the linearity? I saw that the centering values was a bit off. What if you used only 8 bit resolution?, not that the centering would be better though.

01-11-2011, 12:25 PM
Kåre I need to check the linearity but for the most part they seem good for what they are. They are a little off and I'm going to check a ps2 controller I have at home to see what values those gimbals give off.

Now that you mention the resolution I am going to go to 8bit. All the software I have now is based on the values off a 8 bit controller.

With the centering issue I might just offset by adding the difference in the software. I know the bare min and max values would be off but with any limits placed in the software this might not be an issue. Something I need to look into. I even though about picking up some rc gimbals like in your remote. How are those values?

01-15-2011, 12:10 AM
That looks really cool, but I am surprised you need four gimbals. It's hard to imagine how you are going to use four gimbals at the same time. And if it is not at the same time why not place two ergonomically and use buttons to mode switch what the sticks do? Like you would in a video game. Perhaps it is professional pride, but I think it is deceptively hard to make a better controller than a video game controller.

01-29-2011, 02:08 PM
George I want to be able to control any direction without spending the time of switching in that mode and then switching back out of that mode. One stick for each of the fore fingers and one for each of the thumbs. I agree the playstation controller works great but I maxed out on all possible combo's available. A few more are needed.

Kåre the Gimbals in a playstation controller have a tolerance of +/- 20% the ones I have are +/-10%.
I'm also just going to divide the value from the pots by 16.06 so the values coming from the gimbals will be in the range of 0-255 8bit end result.

01-29-2011, 02:22 PM
Nothing really interesting to post yet just that the Xbee's are working and communicating sending data from one to the other.

03-02-2011, 07:47 PM
As soon as you have this done, Parallax will be selling their wifi add-on and you'll have to start on that too! :) Great job!

07-23-2011, 08:44 PM
So here's an update.

I have it all working talking between the controller and a dummy robot setup using led's to show outputs.

I made a rough case for it yesterday. It currently has a total of 24 channels but an additional 8 are ready to be used as well. Which will be used as trigger feeds like a ps2 controller.

Vanmunch your right I finished up the xbee version and wifi is coming real soon. I have been waiting for the wifi board from parallax for awhile and it went into production yesterday. So I'm hoping a product release this week from them.
But I've been getting this ready for that.

Here are a few pics.

09-15-2011, 12:48 AM
So here's another update.

I'm finishing the circuit boards and will be ready to have them made in the next few days.
The case has a new look and feel to it. Currently made from some type of fiberglass I had at the shop. Really not sure what it is, its been sitting in the shop for the last 8+ yrs. So I chopped it.
Final design will be from carbon fiber.

I need to make a few changes to the current case. Design change, but kept rolling in the project.
The values in the pic are for 6 outputs that are 12bit hex format. A small test program I had running.

Around 32 channels might have a few more. Some needing to be added still.

10-17-2011, 04:55 AM
What are you using the controller for? Humanoid, arm?

10-18-2011, 11:53 PM
I want to control all of my bots with it.
I have a bunch of hex's, quad's, a biped, a rover, a ax-12/standard servo arm hybrid and a quad copter I'm working on. All Xbee controlled.

The transmitter will have a microsd card inside and the abailty to save different models like in the higher end hitec/futaba models.
I'd like to include a touch screen at some point in the future.
I even plan to be able to control more than one bot at the same time.

I'm finishing up on the software which I really think is a never ending process. I keep modifying and upgrading it.

I'll post an update as I have the final circuit boards being made and I should get them early next week. I also need to make the final case for it.

10-19-2011, 05:20 PM
Is weight at all a concern for you? Just wondering... I wouldn't want to find my puny arms whining at me in the middle of a competition (e.g. MW is 12 minutes currently, iirc).

10-19-2011, 07:37 PM
Its just a little bigger than a standard PS2 controller but thinner.
It weighs in at 360g/13ounces with batteries. A regular PS2 controller weighs about 160grams.
My Turnigy 3S 5000 20C Lipo battery weighs in at 408 grams.

Its like holding two PS2 controllers.

11-06-2011, 12:00 AM
Man that is a very cool controller! I wish I could build something like that. I was thinking when i start into robotics at the end of this year(after the holidays), a pc based controller would be cool to make. Have a color screen, a fit2pc or gumstix, running linux or xp. It would end up having a track ball with 3 buttons, detachable keyboard, probably arduino doing the buttons, gimbals, and transmitting(xbee).

The problem I have ambitious ideas, but no way to implement them.

I love seeing custom made controllers!

The pc will be used to edit what buttons will do, edit trim, and endpoints.

Can we see the guts of you controller?

11-07-2011, 01:17 AM
A PC controller is way overkill. The simpler the better.
All you really need is something that will use an xbee to transmit the data. I'm using a propeller(parallax.com) for my main processor and some a/d's. 6 of them.
I went with a propeller because I can constantly take data from the controls and then send them via the xbee with out using interrupts.

Here's a few pics of the guts of the unit below.

Before boards were made up(prototype) and after real boards were made up.

I'll have some more info in the next few days and I'll post more pics and some vids as well.

11-17-2011, 03:54 PM
Wow thats awesome man! Thanks for the pics. Ive got to get a arduino and start something!

12-12-2011, 12:50 AM
All finished up.

I added a few more pics and some with it all completed.

I'll have a movie up in a few days.

I just need to get it brushed and anodized.

12-20-2011, 06:38 AM
That looks really nice!

12-20-2011, 05:01 PM
Looking really good

01-17-2012, 09:55 PM
amazing controller, do you mind could u share a schematics and parts list or help on starting a similar controller i would love to control my bioloid with a more configurable controller.

02-23-2012, 08:15 PM
Final pic of the controller. Anodized black this is the final external mod of the project. Still debating on filling the push button rings with some type of epoxy/paint and deciding on a color.
Beside tweaking the boards and the endless options of programming I would call it almost complete for that reason.

I'll post some spec details by this weekend as I'm still testing all that info. And a few videos/threads with some robots being controlled by it.

I have tested all 32 channels running and it takes the xbee 42ms to send all the info from all the channels.