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Thread: Control Solutions

  1. #1
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    Control Solutions

    There are several people working on a Mech, so I was wondering what others were using for their MCU's, Processing, etc? I'm a Mechanical Engineer by education and a construction planner by work, so sparky boxes aren't my specialty.

    I was planning on using a Lynxmotion BotBoard 1 carrying an Basic Atom Pro and a PS2 controller for the User-Interface. I've spent about 12-13 hours trying to program it, and I have yet to be able to get the PS2 controller to talk to the Atom. Lynx claims there are some mods you have to make the board, but so far nothing has worked.

    I'm now thinking about going wireless serial to a PIC 16F877 (or similar) and then just using serial servo controller to manipulate the servos, but I'm curious how others are planning to accomplish it.

    -Matt-

  2. #2
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    Re: Control Solutions

    User/Control PC running C# Joystick interface program >> Send commands over wifi to socket server running on onboard Pico-ITX >> Pico runs a c# program for walking gaits, firing and control interface >> USB Bioloid Bus Board >> AX-12 servos.

    Thats how it'll work in theory. Brushing up on my C# coding skills while I wait for more parts for my Mech.

  3. #3
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    Re: Control Solutions

    I too am a ME by training. The PS2 controller is an interesting controller. It is not an easy controller to interface to microcontrollers. The proper timing for reliable is communication back and forth between them is difficult to get right because of when you have to read data bits with respect to clock timing leading edges. Some people get it figured out, and other don't, and a lot of it has to do with the choice of microcontrollers, understanding exactly how the commands work with respect to timing, and how the programs are written.

    If you haven't already done yet, get a copy of some of their PS2 controller examples. And duplicate their work to make sure that the PS2 controller is working. Their code works fine. There really isn't any modifications needed with the PS2 and the Basic Atom and the Bot Board. The best piece of equipment to get is the PS2 adapter cable they sell for a couple dollars. Plug that cable to the PS2 and the other end of the Bot board, down load one of the example programs, and you should be good to go.

    I don't know why people are worried about the motor vibration wires. You either have power to the vibration motors, or you don't. The exact voltage doesn't matter. Higher voltages means they spin faster. I suppose there is an upper limit. But 5V, 6V, and 9V have all worked fine with me.

    I have written and published several example programs in Servo Magazine with the PS2 controller using a Basic Stamp, Basic Atom, and SX microcontrollers.

    I have not been impressed with the wireless PS2 type of controllers. If you think establishing reliable communication with a direct wiring with the PS2 is difficult. It becomes a lot more complicated when going wireless. Now you have to deal with lost/corrupt data streams. Very common problem. It gets worse the further the hand piece and the receiver module gets. Leave the room and close the door, and it becomes almost useless. Very weak RF transceivers in these devices.

    I have had a lot of success with having a dedicated microcontroller converting the PS2 control signals into RS-232 serial data, and then using a BlueSMiRF serial modem to transmit the data to my robots. I used this approach and turned my RoboNova into a remote control sumo robot and have competed with it in a high RF noise environment with no problem.

    I like using multiple dedicated microcontrollers doing different things. For example, you can't beat the SSC-32 for a serial servo controller. Thats a dedicated controller. Then there is a dedicated controller just to handle the RF communications. Then a different controller that talks to all the different devices and routes the appropriate commands to each other.

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Control Solutions

    Hey LoDebar

    We would love to have you post some of your programs or examples in the tutorial section or downloads section for others to learn from if you feel inclined.

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    Re: Control Solutions

    To: LoDebar, Yeah I tried several of the Lynxmotion example codes, but to no avail.

    I'm leaning another route now. I've been playing with Microsoft Robotics Studio for a few weeks now, and this might be a nice little project to implement. I can do preliminary tests through a wired serial cable, and go wireless in the future. I haven't gone far enough into MSRS to see if it is a good match for this application, but we'll see.

    -Matt-
    Cutting-Edge Robotics

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    Re: Control Solutions

    i was gogin to uses an rc boat or plane control or something close to that, but id love to learn about the computer control! especialy with a joystick, that would just be so much eisier and more fun to controle, if anyones doing this please tell me!

  7. #7
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    Re: Control Solutions

    I think you'll find that you're not going to use an R/C-anything control with a humanoid... Reading the PWM is waaay beyond the capability of the processor you have spec'd. And trying to independantly control a dozen or more servos with a couple of thumbs would be somewhere between humorous and sad. Kinda like a train-wreck you can't look away from.
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

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    Re: Control Solutions

    hmmm what would u sugest then?? and i was thinking of having the controler control a forward walking, backward, side to side, and turnings, not individual servos! that would be funny to see though! so what should i do?

  9. #9
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    Re: Control Solutions

    I solved the problem by using an onboard PC...It sounds like if Tybs is running a Pico then he has an onboard PC also. Others are using Xbee interfaces which means they are controlling their micro controllers via serial from a PC, and offloading the PC to a remote location to save on weight...(I'm sensing a trend here.)

    I also have a chip that can read PWM signals, and converts them into USB joystick data...It shows up as an HID device. It worked pretty well with charlie at our guest house...but then at work seamed to pick up a lot of noise...I figure if I had a better radio that may not be the biggest problem...but I can control charlie over wifi anyway...so big whoop. One thing though...it would require a PC.

    Ok...enough.

    DB

  10. #10

    Re: Control Solutions

    Is there a chance for interfernce problems with Xbee's? I recall reading that the scoreing targets will also Xbee's.

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