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Thread: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

  1. #1
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    Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for recommendations on a reasonably priced interface that can handle talking to the servo controls on the Sabertooth 10/RC. One caviat that might help make the decision - I want to use it paired-up with Roborealm. In fact - that's probably its sole purpose in this world [for me].

    I'd like it to be inexpensive, but I'm not really all that terribly concerned about it - I'd rather have the "right product" - so I'll entertain suggestions from either direction.

    TIA!

    - A

  2. #2

    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    I'm looking for recommendations on a reasonably priced interface that can handle talking to the servo controls on the Sabertooth 10/RC. One caviat that might help make the decision - I want to use it paired-up with Roborealm. In fact - that's probably its sole purpose in this world [for me].
    Are you planning to control any standard servos also? Standard PWM from any microocontroller (servo, pulsout, etc commands dependent on your micro), or PWM from a controller such as the Lynxmotion SSC-32 would work fine. I have a Sabertooth 2x5 (not R/C version) connected to an SSC-32 and it works wonderfully. I didn't have to change my software much from using continuous rotation servos to using motors. RoboRealm already supports the SSC-32 directly.

    8-Dale
    I can handle complexity. It's the simple things that confound me.
    Do everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY, moderation..
    Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.. -- Stephen Falken

  3. #3
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    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Quote Originally Posted by robotguy View Post
    Are you planning to control any standard servos also? Standard PWM from any microocontroller (servo, pulsout, etc commands dependent on your micro), or PWM from a controller such as the Lynxmotion SSC-32 would work fine. I have a Sabertooth 2x5 (not R/C version) connected to an SSC-32 and it works wonderfully. I didn't have to change my software much from using continuous rotation servos to using motors. RoboRealm already supports the SSC-32 directly.

    8-Dale
    I agree, I use a SSC-32 for roborealm also and it works great. And the the sabertooth works great with SSC-32.

  4. #4
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    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Thanks, guys!

    I have an SSC32 coming for the CrustCrawler SG5. I'm going to turn it into an SG6, but I'll still have a lot of channels left over. I should be able to "split off" two channels from it to control the motor drive correct? How would that work-out though if I were using RIOS to interface to the arm? It would bind-up the serial port and I'd be done for. I already plan to scrap RIOS once I finish my arm control software, but I wonder if I should get a second SSC32?

  5. #5
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    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    RobotGuy,

    >> I didn't have to change my software much from using continuous rotation servos to using motors.

    Can you give me more of a definition of "much", per-chance?

  6. #6

    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    I have an SSC32 coming for the CrustCrawler SG5. I'm going to turn it into an SG6, but I'll still have a lot of channels left over. I should be able to "split off" two channels from it to control the motor drive correct?
    Yes, you can use any two channels of the SSC-32 to control a Sabertooth motor controller. You just have to configure the Sabertooth to accept R/C style PWM signals. Then you can control the motors just like they were servos. It works great!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    How would that work-out though if I were using RIOS to interface to the arm? It would bind-up the serial port and I'd be done for. I already plan to scrap RIOS once I finish my arm control software, but I wonder if I should get a second SSC32?
    RIOS controls servos, so it should be able to control the Sabertooth also if it is connected to the SSC-32. I've never done this, but it seems like it should work. I've never used RIOS though, so am not familiar with it.

    8-Dale
    I can handle complexity. It's the simple things that confound me.
    Do everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY, moderation..
    Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.. -- Stephen Falken

  7. #7

    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    Can you give me more of a definition of "much", per-chance?
    Yes, of course. I had to recalibrate the software for the motor controllers, just like I would have to do if I were changing to different servos. You have to find the "center" values for the motor controller so the motors stop when they are supposed to. The motors should stop when you send a "P 1500" command. You also have to take into consideration the speed of the motors.

    8-Dale
    I can handle complexity. It's the simple things that confound me.
    Do everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY, moderation..
    Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.. -- Stephen Falken

  8. #8
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    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Thanks!

    So to clarify in my mind (I need to read the online manual again) - I can set two channels on the SSC32 to PWM, and leave 30 channels alone?

    Actually, thinking about it, I suppose it makes sense that RIOS *could* control it. All I'm really doing with an RC transmitter is pretending like I'm rotating a servo +/- 60 or so degrees, right?

    That said, the goal would be to have RoboRealm controlling the drive system, and something else controlling the arm. So that would really need two boards, I think, since the SSC32 has a single serial port and the arm control software would bind that port.

    Or am I still missing the point? Without it hear hooked to a computer, I feel at a definite disadvantage.

  9. #9

    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    Thanks!

    So to clarify in my mind (I need to read the online manual again) - I can set two channels on the SSC32 to PWM, and leave 30 channels alone?
    You set the Sabertooth motor controller to accept PWM signals. There is a dip switch setting for that. The SSC-32 always sends out PWM - that's all it can do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    Actually, thinking about it, I suppose it makes sense that RIOS *could* control it. All I'm really doing with an RC transmitter is pretending like I'm rotating a servo +/- 60 or so degrees, right?
    Yes, the Sabertooth controller would just look like two more servos. You would have speed control of the motors instead of +/- 90 degree travel for regular servos. You control the Sabertooth the same way you control two continuous rotation servos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrenalynn View Post
    That said, the goal would be to have RoboRealm controlling the drive system, and something else controlling the arm. So that would really need two boards, I think, since the SSC32 has a single serial port and the arm control software would bind that port.
    This is not going to be possible using two different programs using a single serial port. You would be better off controlling the Sabertooth direct from your microcontroller in this case, since it can also accept serial commands when configured properly. RIOS is really not setup to do this kind of control - it's designed just to control arms. Otherwise you need two servo controllers, if you want RoboRealm to control the Sabertooth and motors.

    8-Dale
    I can handle complexity. It's the simple things that confound me.
    Do everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY, moderation..
    Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.. -- Stephen Falken

  10. #10
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    Re: Computer interface to Sabertooth 10/RC

    Actually - the Sabertooth RC doesn't have that dipswitch. No really. I just double-checked.

    I suspect because it's the R/C and doesn't have serial control, it's always PWM. It does have a few more RC-focused features...

    >> You control the Sabertooth the same way you control two continuous rotation servos.

    I think this is where I'm still confused, and I think this might be an R/C vs non-R/C thing? The stick travel on an RC transmitter is limited. The Sabertooth R/C knows how to do the "right thing", computing the travel range on start-up. Its only inputs are three pin "servo-like" inputs, and it hooks directly to the R/C receiver, just like a servo. The Sabertooth R/C behaves just like a 60-90deg pair of servos would.

    >> This is not going to be possible using two different programs using a single serial port.

    That's my thinking too. The serial port is already bound to one physical device.

    >> RIOS is really not setup to do this kind of control - it's designed just to control arms.

    RIOS is really only a prototyping solution for me. Just gets the control system tested quickly.

    >> You would be better off controlling the Sabertooth direct from your microcontroller in this case

    At some point, you start having nightmares. This thing is already shaping up to have:

    Two motor controllers
    An Arm/Gripper
    A "claw" and vertical lifter
    A pico-ITX
    A micro-controller
    Now another micro-controller
    At least 32 channels of servo control
    Stereo vision
    At least 8 channels of bit-bashing serial in the 75Mhz ground/telemetry band
    ...

    At some point you have to start worrying that you're going to wake up one morning with a gripper around your throat, the dog held aloft by his tail in the claw, and an angry robot demanding the car keys, ya know?

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