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View Full Version : [Question(s)] Adding XBee Wi-Fi & webcam to existing ArbotiX Robocontroller robot



Stephen
12-03-2012, 02:52 PM
Hi all,

I'm looking to add a camera to my robot for live video streaming to my laptop. My current setup is as follows:

AX-12 servos and Bioloid brackets
ArbotiX Robocontroller
XBee x 2 (the 1mW modules from the Xbee Wireless Communication Starter Kit)

I'm looking to get an XBee Wi-Fi as a drop-in replacement for the original XBee on the ArbotiX board. I plan on adding a camera, possibly one of the LifeCam's in the TR store. I already have a couple of AX-12 servos plus brackets for a pan/tilt setup (and it looks like the LifeCam Cinema Webcam comes with a compatible mount).

So I have a couple of questions...

1) How would I connect the camera to the ArbotiX board for the wireless video stream? Or would this be self-explanatory if I purchase one of the LifeCam's from TR?

2) How would/should the camera be powered? I have a spare NiMh I could use, or get another battery if need be for this.

3) What am I missing here? Do I need anything else? Or would you recommend an alternative/better solution?

Let me know if you think this thread would be better suited elsewhere.

Cheers,
Stephen

DresnerRobotics
12-03-2012, 03:33 PM
1) How would I connect the camera to the ArbotiX board for the wireless video stream? Or would this be self-explanatory if I purchase one of the LifeCam's from TR?

You don't. Webcams are driver-based devices. The arbotix doesn't have A) a usb host or B) an OS that would support a driver for it or C) enough horsepower to even do video handling of any sort. The Xbee on the Arbotix is intended for wireless communication to a controller, PC, or other micro. It doesn't have the throughput for video.

Wrong tools for the job, wrong garage as well. Look into IP webcams, we even sell a very small one that people use for robots pretty frequently.



2) How would/should the camera be powered? I have a spare NiMh I could use, or get another battery if need be for this.
Anything that regulates 5v will power most IP cams. I believe our IP cam even ships with one that can be used.




3) What am I missing here? Do I need anything else? Or would you recommend an alternative/better solution?
Wifi IP cams. See 1.

Stephen
12-03-2012, 04:39 PM
Hmm yes, that all makes sense. The LifeCams would be for a desktop solution, like one of your desktop turret kits. I wasn't able to find a Wi-Fi IP cam in the TR shop. I found a link via Google to a discontinued telepresence camera kit (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/p/Telepresence-WiFi-Camera-kit.aspx). Do you have another Wi-Fi cam that I'm just not able to find?

Also I found an old post in which you talk about a Wifi IP Encoder board. Would something like that, to which I could attach any small camera, be another option? Or would that bare a larger footprint than an actual Wi-Fi IP cam? (Perhaps also an old solution that pre-dates Wi-Fi cams.)

Cheers,
Stephen

Stephen
12-03-2012, 05:50 PM
I'm not finding a Wi-Fi IP cam on TR at the moment. By all means let me know if there is one that I'm just not seeing in the shop. For now I'm finding answers over at the Mech Warfare forum, starting here (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?5409-New-to-Mech-Warfare-Start-reading-here-first.) with the question "What cameras are suggested for use? Should I use a Wifi IP camera?". Duh for me! :)

Thanks for the info Tyberius!

Cheers,
Stephen

DresnerRobotics
12-06-2012, 05:22 PM
Sorry, looks like we discontinued it (I'm out of the loop since I primarily do development and not so much store stuff anymore).

You should be able to find them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-DCS-930L-mydlink-Enabled-Wireless-N-Network/dp/B00452V66G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354836096&sr=8-1&keywords=DCS-930l

That's what I'm currently using in two of my mechs. It's a great camera that is very compact once stripped down.

Stephen
12-07-2012, 11:42 AM
Okay, cool. Thanks for the link!

I've noticed that people (around here at least) seem to be using either this D-Link camera (the DCS-930L) or a TRENDnet (e.g. TV-IP551W). Is anyone using either of these under Linux? How do they compare in terms of driver support? I'm not having much luck hunting around the web for this more specific information. How do they compare as wireless robot cams in a more general sense?

I'm going to get one or the other (and Amazon seems to have newer models of both now too), I just need to be more mindful in terms of Linux compatibility. I'll be stripping the cam down to its bare bones too after initial testing.

Edit 1: No major information just yet, but I'm getting the impression from across the web that a TRENDnet might be a better option for use/compatibility with Linux. Anyone else have any insight here?
There's also a post on these forums (I don't have the link handy) that detailed the hardware tear-down of a TRENDnet, the TV-IP110 I believe. Amazon has a newer version of this now which I might just go for (IP551).

Edit 2: I just read the reply from Gertlex! Thanks for this info!

Cheers,
Stephen

Gertlex
12-07-2012, 11:46 AM
They've both been used under Linux. Upgrayd's MechCam python script does this for both cameras. Basically, as I understand it, you computer grabs the image stream over wifi, so no drivers are necessary.

See Server/MWCam.py here: https://github.com/RyanLowerr/mwscore (I forget if you just run that script or what...)

Also you mention a different trendnet model. The specific ones everyone has been using is the IP110W, and the newer IP110WN. (I'm not sure if anyone has actually used the latter at Robogames, but I have both models...). Definitely get the D-Link camera, though, as it is much smaller.

Stephen
12-07-2012, 12:20 PM
They've both been used under Linux. Upgrayd's MechCam python script does this for both cameras. Basically, as I understand it, you computer grabs the image stream over wifi, so no drivers are necessary.
...

Definitely get the D-Link camera, though, as it is much smaller.

This is very helpful indeed.


That's what I'm currently using in two of my mechs. It's a great camera that is very compact once stripped down.

Two votes for the D-Link! Thanks Gertlex and Tyberius!

Cheers,
Stephen