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Thread: More Mule then Rover?

  1. Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy_T View Post
    like both of you my mind is turning to lawn mowing again(stopped at three different places looking
    at reel type mowers)
    Ebay has alot of reel mowers. Probably the gang style reel mower would be best since it is made to be towed. That's a good idea btw, I also will look into that style.

    Have you had any experience with the Arduino and if so which do you prefer, the Arduino or the Phidget? I have some experience with the Arduino and I tend to like it, the price is very good compared to alot of microcontrollers out there.

    My motor controller is due to be delivered tomorrow, I will be changing my sprockets out in order to speed it up a bit. I'm wanting a fast walk speed, currently it's a little too slow.

  2. #72

    Re: More Mule then Rover?

    I also will look into that style.
    I'v used a standard rotary 24Vdc mower(Earthwise) on the Mule last fall, and
    it was fast and simple to implement, but to get a +40" cut path I would need
    about three of them which would increase the Mule's footprint too much, also
    camera angles would need changing when going from snow plowing to mowing if
    rotary type are used.
    My hope is that three reel mowers could be mounted the same as the 50" snow

    I found one of the units in picture below, it has a chain drive system for the blade
    which would simplify motorizing(if needed, which I'm sure its going to)

    I'm now testing a single 14" low cost reel mower.

    With the wet ground now that most of the snow is gone, is an idea time to test
    the Mule's 10" wide turf safe tires(without the chains) for lawn damage, and all
    test so far are sweet, even while doing zero radius turns.

    Arduino or the Phidget?
    The Mule's on-board controller is an net-book PC, I have not tested any Arduino's
    yet. I do have a few Phidgets I'v been testing but have not found a place for yet
    due to limitations of the units or technologies.

    Last edited by Tommy_T; 03-15-2011 at 08:32 AM.

  3. Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Very good Tommy T.

    I received my 2x50 motor controller the other day and I am very impressed with it so far.

    I ordered a Mow Pro 21" reel mower and I'm hoping I have the power to pull it. I've never used one so I don't know alot about them. I will tow it behind my current setup and see how well it does. If all goes well then I will design a new chasis and go from there.

    Tommy is your bot remotely controlled or is it working autonomously?

    I will post pictures as soon as I get everything together which maybe a month from now.

  4. #74

    Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Tommy is your bot remotely controlled or is it working autonomously?
    The Mule has four current modes it can operate in.

    1) Wifi networked to PC in house for remote control with network camera(3) feedback.
    2) Bluetooth wireless keyboard(Palm sized) for direct control of on-board PC
    3) Wired joystick as backup when all else fails.
    4) Programmable cut path, I do it once with Wifi or Bluetooth and record feedback
    values(Velocity, Yaw) every 20msec for playback.

    I'm still testing for best localization tools.
    in my head I see
    as being a sweet tool.

    Lowest cost option seems to be on-board web cams for locating fixed targets.

    Last edited by Tommy_T; 03-18-2011 at 08:16 AM.

  5. #75
    maleche Guest

    Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Did anyone "master" the P&G drive controller?

    I have been doing research on electric wheelchair controllers to modify for robotics projects. Information is really tight lipped!

    Most all (at least newer) electric wheel chair controller use a protocol call "Multiple Master - Multiple Slave" (M3S). Google it and you will find that the controller has a lot of safety features built in, including joystick and command validations. The best idea is to hack the joystick and mimic commands or position control assoicated with the brand of wheelchair/controller.

    Let's keep in touch!

  6. #76

    Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Did anyone "master" the P&G drive controller?
    maleche, I'm using the P&G VSI speed controller on the mule now, not
    sure about the master part because I have not over come it's programed
    acceleration/deceleration profiles. But I do like the drive, lots of safety
    back ups.


  7. Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Here are a couple of pics. I tried the reel and it works great, does a good job on the lawn. I also attached a camera and transmitter so I can control it while sitting in my shop. The receiver is attached to 36" HDTV. There is a draw back in that I did suffer some motion sickness I will try to take some photos of what it looks like on TV. I have a dialup connection so uploading a video is out of the question. Maybe I can go to a coffee shop and upload there. All works well, I will work on a new design now and concentrate on autonomous operation. Keep in touch, don't let the thread die.

  8. #78

    Re: More Mule then Rover?

    concentrate on autonomous operation.
    Pabble, have you any idea how your going to deal with localization yet?

    While I'm sure winter has not finished teaching or entertaining me yet I also have
    been doing some mower testing.

    I got one of the three test reel mowers temperately mounted on the Mule.

    Last edited by Tommy_T; 03-29-2011 at 01:15 PM.

  9. Re: More Mule then Rover?

    Cool setup Tommy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy_T View Post
    Pabble, have you any idea how your going to deal with localization yet?

    Not alot of thought yet but maybe using laser rangefinders for x,y + optical interupter to stay within a certain range and maybe sonar for object avoidance. It's certainly not going to be easy.
    I don't believe GPS will work in a small area. I honestly don't think I will be able to make it work reliably but I'm going to try. I give myself about a year on the task. Alot to learn. Maybe one can use GPS to find itself and work from there. I refuse to use any buried wire. I have 3 acres to mow Anyway this is just for fun anyway. What are your thoughts?

  10. #80

    Re: More Mule then Rover?

    What are your thoughts?
    I'm thinking wireless dog fences that uses time of flight technology.

    But if these reel mowers could be used it may be possible to mow at night and use light
    beacons(could be IR) and cameras for localization. last fall I tested a 24Vdc rotary mower
    on the Mule but the noise was as much if not more then a gas engine, no way I could get
    away with mowing at night with one or more of them.


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