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Thread: Just another hexapod servo controller thread

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Adelaide, Australia
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    Just another hexapod servo controller thread

    Hi all

    I have decided to build a small, cheap, hobby servo hexapod, which if I can get working in time, I may use for a Uni project.
    Ive got the design and fabrication side of the project pretty much covered, its heavily inspired by the awesome PhantomX. Im just left wondering about the control side.

    Ive looked at a lot of different examples and the main servo controllers I have seen used are the Pololu Mini Maestro 24 and Lynxmotion SCC-32.
    I was partial to the Pololu, but from what I have read, the SCC-32 with its group move functions and speed control is probably the better option. Either way, unless I'm mistaken, for autonomous use both of these would need an additional MCU for the inverse kinematic calculations. Im fine with developing and testing it initally on a pc, but down the line I will probably try to get it all onboard, either that or wireless it to a netbook.

    Can anyone recommend which of these two is the better servo controller and what MCU would be suitable to control it and do the IK calcs?

    Or would it be better to just get a MCU that can do the IK calcs and drive the servos directly. After reading even more I'm wondering if this would be the better option. I see the Axon was recommended a few years ago, is it still on top?

    I have experience programming relatively simple stuff in Java, C and Matlab. My experience with MCUs is mostly limited to picaxe and basic stamp stuff I used when I was younger, however I did manage to program an atmel mcu in assembly for a different Uni project (though I remember none of it )

  2. #2

    Re: Just another hexapod servo controller thread

    There are many options here! I have played around with porting the Phoenix code that was originally developed by Xan to run on a Basic Atom Pro 28 with the use of an SSC-32 to several different platforms including:

    Basic Atom Arc32 with or without SSC-32: Works great!

    Arduino Mega with SSC-32: Works fine, but I think it would need a servo controller as well, although I may try at some point to do it without SSC-32. But first need to setup shield or the like to be able to handle all of the servos... It would be easy to convert this to run on the Axon or Axon2 as well, which already has the Servo connectors. In this case I would probably unsolder the VS/VL jumper and use two power supplies. So far I have only used the Axon on my Biped Brat.

    Propeller with SSC-32: Works great. I think it will also work without SSC-32, but was too lazy to setup the hardware to try it out.

    Others have developed the IK code to run on a PC and download through serial port to something like an SSC-32 as well. I believe some have done this by hard wire, others by bluetooth, Xbee and I believe by Wifi...

    So I am not sure if there is a best solution. a lot may depend on things like: Are you going to add sensors? What functionality do you wish the robot to have? Will it move on it's own. Will it do Terrain adaptation...

    Not sure if this helped or not, but good luck. It is a lot of fun!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Portland, OR
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    Re: Just another hexapod servo controller thread

    A Lynxmotion SSC-32 is probably the best tool for the job in terms of servo controllers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Adelaide, Australia
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    Re: Just another hexapod servo controller thread

    Cool, thanks guys. SSC-32 it is.
    Ill post the hex when its finished, however im sure ill be asking for more help/advice before im done.

    I cant believe the shipping prices though, the $67 its gonna cost me to get the SSC32 locally is still less than the $40+35 USPS shipping from Trossen. And the cheapest shipping Lynxmotion had was $108, Ouch! So much for a $40 part.

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