Version 3 of the boards and kits is in the store!


After a few days of hard work, taking pictures and writing the new assembly and usage guides, a bit of testing and adapting the code for the new features of the RBS, the products are in the store. Now I can focus on the other projects…

Pictures of the assembled boards:

 

You can find the guides on the Downloads page from my store: http://robotxdesigns.ca/

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The new boards are in!


I have received today the third version of the Robot Builder’s Shield and the µBotino controller from PCBcart. They look as good as the second version and so far I did not discovered any mistakes (silk screen related or miss placed holes…). The DPDT switch part I designed in Eagle came out good and the switch fits perfectly in the holes. So far, it’s all good. I have to assemble a board (of each) and test it out on a robot before I put them in the webstore. Also, I am still waiting for the long leads female headers for the shield and a big bundle of male header pins, probably during the following week they’ll be here. So, just a wee bit of waiting and you can get them!

Here are some pictures:

 

And here I put some parts on the µBotino board to see how the changes look like:

 

The µServotino is next, I was just waiting for confirmation that the power switch fits perfectly, didn’t want to order more boards and have problems. These boards will come from Seeed Studio this time and they will have white silk screen, as they offer black silk screen only for white boards. Sorry for the delay, but I don’t want to get bad boards.

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Almost out of stock!


I have only 1 RBS v2 in stock and 3 µBotino v2. I have ordered new boards, but it will take about a month to get here from China. But the new boards will have some improvements:

The Robot Builder’s Shield V3:
– added jumpers for the user to set the control mode for the motors, either 2 pin mode like the previous version, or standard 3 pin mode, at the expense of losing 2 servo pins

Schematic and board:

 

The µBotino V3:
– replaced the SPDT power switch with a DPDT switch so the servos and motors do not get power that leaks through the voltage regulator when powered through the FTDI cable
– repositioned parts on the board, mainly swapping power connector with power switch positions, moved J2 near J1
– added 2 pin header for optional different servo power than for the motors, remove J1 if used
– moved some silk screen text to be easier to understand the pin name/number for the lower part of the board

Schematic and board:

 

Things that were too difficult (or impossible in the current format) to do:

The RBS V3:
– could not separate the power for the motors from the power for the servos
– did not add a LDO V-reg to replace the Arduino 7805, if one needs it, can do it in the prototyping area

The µBotino V3:
– did not have enough space to add motor control mode selection jumpers like I did to the RBS V3

All things considered, I think I’m at the last version of these boards, no more modifications, unless some stupid error comes through. I hope not… Now it’s µServotino’s turn to get a new version.

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uServotino robot controller


I made a new robot controller, called the µServotino, that allows a user to build a legged robot that uses up to 12 hobby servos.

Features:

  • 12 servo connectors, with power directly from the battery, digital pins D2-D13;
  • 6 sensor connectors, with regulated 5V, analog pins A0-A5;
  • UART connector, GND, Rx, Tx, plus adjacent 5V and GND for each signal pin;
  • ISP connector;
  • FTDI connector;
  • Reset button;
  • power switch and LED;
  • D13 LED, can be disabled by removing the J1 jumper;
  • screw terminal connector for battery;
  • low dropout voltage regulator, allows 6V batteries.

Here is the schematic:

Here is the PCB layout:

And finally, here are the pictures of the board:

Compare it with the µBotino:

Latter I’ll upload a picture with the board assembled and the first tests.

Ok, here’s the assembled board:

And here’s what you can do with it:

Tests after I’ll upload the bootloader…

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Balancing Octobot


I wanted to try out if a regular robot design would balance, so I adapted Octobot for balancing. Octobot is a small robot with an octagonal acrylic chassis, 2 small metal geared motors, an Arduino Duemilanove and a Robot Builder’s Shield with the Breadboard add-on. I had some old 2 axis accelerometer and a single axis gyro from SparkFun and I also used a pair of xBees on xBee Explorer Regulated boards to make a wireless serial link to my laptop. I have used Kas’s balancing code following his amazing tutorial and Patrick’s Balancing GUI to display the sensor data. Although Kas provides the recipe for success in his tutorial, I tried to do it with stuff I had laying around.

Continue reading

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Wobbly, a MiniBiped robot


Long time ago I wanted to build a multi servo robot, like a biped or a hexapod. After seeing OddBot’s Mini Biped robot, I wanted to build one just for fun until I could afford to get the number of servos required for a full robot. This is how Wobbly was born. He has 4 servos for the legs and one servo for panning a Sharp IR sensor. Needs a little bit more work until it will be able to walk and turn properly, but he’s almost ready.

I have designed a 12 servo board just like the uBotino robot controller, but I am still waiting to arrive. Mean while, I started the work on the robot, since I had all the servos needed. I grabbed some scrap poplar plywood that I had from building MiniEric and quickly fitted 2 pieces to mount the hip servos, then I used 15mm plastic stand-offs to mount the neck servo and the servo board. 2 more pieces of plywood to mount the knee servos to the battery boxes and of course, 4 screws to mount the hip and knee servos together. Double sticky tape to mount the Sharp sensor as usual, and after a bit of soldering for the battery wires, the robot was ready for uploading the code.

See some pictures:

The easy part was done. Now comes the hard part. I have downloaded OddBot’s code for the soccer robots and adapted it a bit to work with my setup. I still need to figure out how to steer the robot, but the forward-backward motion kind of works. I need to add some traction on the toes, otherwise the robot just skeeds in place. So, watch for a later update to see it in action.

Cheers!

Update Jan. 25th 2011:

After some more code tweaks, the robot kind of works how it’s supposed to. Still way from being perfect, it proves the possibilities. At the moment, you can see it walking leaning a bit on the back and with the weight a little more over one foot, so it slowly turns right. The turning sequence is still slow, but it is an improvement. When I’ll have more time, I’ll play again with it’s code and try to improve it further, but for now I am declaring it “Complete”.

 

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2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2010. That’s about 16 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 15 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 28 posts. There were 228 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 138mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 28th with 142 views. The most popular post that day was Route-X, my home built CNC.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were societyofrobots.com, forum.inteligenta-artificiala.ro, letsmakerobots.com, billporter.info, and curiousinventor.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for roboduino, butler robot, make my cnc, cnc homebuilt, and arduino balancing robot.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Route-X, my home built CNC September 2010

2

Balancing Roboduino December 2008
13 comments

3

Eric, the butler robot November 2008
6 comments

4

MiniEric robot February 2009
2 comments

5

Compact – a Small Arduino Robot October 2010
1 comment

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Make your own “FTDI cable” for about $5.


I read on the Arduino forum about using cheap Nokia data cables as a compatible “FTDI cable”. I decided to have a look and started to shop around for a compatible cable. The best candidate seems to be the CA-42 USB2.0 Nokia Data Cable and I ordered this one: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.45715 from Deal Extreme for $4.40 with free shipping. It comes in a box with a driver CD, so you don’t have to browse all over the internet to find drivers. Continue reading

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The webstore is now Open!


My webstore is now open to the public!

After a couple of months of hard work, I finally have my store ready for opening. Just in time for Christmas shopping! You can get the PCBs and the Kits for the Robot Builder’s Shield and the µBotino Microcontroller.

Check it out here:

http://robotxdesigns.ca/

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Documentation for the RBS and uBotino


I finally wrote the Assembly Guides for the new boards, you can get them from here:

1. The Robot Builder’s Shield assembly guide.

2. The µBotino Microcontroller board assembly guide.

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