Interface and Communication Techniques to Control the World (or, at least H-bridges)
In the mechatronic world, it’s all about control. See how to gain worldwide dominance using some simple CCS C code, a Wi-Fi module, and a handful of Microchip silicon.
Go Mod With Your Mobile
What do you get when you give your robot a GPS module, a microSD card, and a temperature probe? A robot who knows where it's going and can tell you where it's been. Depending on where your robot is or is going, it may be wrapped up in an overcoat or sporting a Hawaiian shirt.
Every microcontroller that exists can be instructed to produce an RS-232 data stream. However, a microcontroller may not be robust enough to handle a TCP/IP stack. If your robotic device can speak RS-232, the NEMO10 can be used to translate the resultant RS-232 data stream into a TCP/IP packet.
Electronic Messaging With Your Robot
Water and things electrical normally don't mix. That's probably why you never see a robot lick a stamp. Electronic messaging is the safer solution for a robot that wants to put a note in your mailbox. This time around, we'll explore what it takes to have your mechanical animal put an electronic note in your inbox.
A Play Day With Sunray
So many radios ... so little time. This month, Fred takes you to his sandbox. An RF sandbox, that is. However, you won't find any shovels or buckets in this box. And, the building material isn't sand. It's silicon building blocks that have been specifically engineered to emit radio waves.
Meet the Swiss Army Knife of Robotics: the Cerebot 32MX7 — Part 2
This time, you’ll tailor the Microchip TCP/IP stack to drive a PmodWiFi module. Plus, you’ll also customize the USB Host portion of the Applications Library to help persuade the Cerebot 32MX7 to host a USB thumb drive.
Meet the Swiss Army Knife of Robotics: the Cerebot 32MX7
Whether it be robotics, remote control, telemetry, Internet services, CAN networking, or an I/O intensive application, the Digilent Cerebot 32MX7 board plugs physically and logically into the center of the action.
More Room for Your Robot Stuff
One never visualizes hard drives and microcontrollers in the same thought process. About 10 B.M.C. (Before MicroSD Card), relatively large capacity hard drives and Intel microprocessors were the norm. These days, the MicroSD card has brought the storage capacity of yesteryear's hard drives to the microcontroller bus. Today's microcontroller can control as much data storage in the space of a couple of quarters as the first personal computers could with a full-sized hard drive.
The Wasp Embedded Processor Takes the Sting Out of C
If you’re already a C expert, you’ll be interested in the hardware discussed here. If you’re a hardware guru and want to know more about how C and an AVR microcontroller can work together for your robotic projects, there’s something for you too.
See How Easy Coding a Rotary Optical Encoder Can Be
Fellow roboteers ... cast your fear aside and join me as I give you everything you need to add an optical encoder to the input end of your robotic projects.
Explore the New ZervoG Technology to Go RoboWireless
Now your grazing piece of iron can let you know if its battery voltage is low or you can use it as a roving interactive Web server.
Implementing a Low Speed, Low Cost Commmunications Protocol: Part 2
Our goal this month is to assemble a set of software routines to take advantage of the LIN protocol we learned last time.
Implementing A Low Speed, Low Cost Communications Protocol
LIN is a relatively young network topology used in automobile mechatronics. See how you can apply it to your robotic needs.
The Super Stepper Driver
I love writting for SERVO. Why? ... Because I get to put together all kinds of neat stuff. And, when I’m done playing with my new garage-brewed toys, I get to show them to you and tell you all about them. So, get your soldering irons hot and stuff your face into that illuminated desktop magnifier. We are going to build an intelligent stepper motor controller from scratch that is based on the Allegro MicroSystems A3979. ...
Building a Stepper Mottor Controller | Part 1
That figures as for the past six months, I’ve been working on an embedded project that is dependent upon the motion provided by the shaft of a stepper motor. So, it would be an understatement to say that I’ve been heads down in the design and implementation phases of deploying the embedded motor control application I’ve been sleeping with for the past six months. Along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to build up and test various stepper motor control circuits. I’m on the verge of building ...
Building a Stepper Mottor Controller | Part 2
Now that I have a Minebea 29SM-K series 1.8°-per-step stepper motor shaft spinning back and forth on the bench, I figured it might be a good time to sit down and tell you how I persuaded an STMicroelectronics L6208PD to push current through the Minebea’s stepper motor coils. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a visual play-by-play of my Minebea’s alternately spinning motor shaft. However, I can give you a description of the hardware and software stuff you will need to make your motor spin under ...
“In Transylvania, cloves of garlic, sharp wooden stakes, hawthorn branches, and a cross are just a few of the necessary tools one needs to combat vampires ...” Running water, daylight and holy silver bullets are also potent vampire killers. If your vampire pest was once a mortal human being (most all of them were), every vampire killing tool I’ve just called out will do the job. However, if your vampire smells of silicon and steel, forget about getting any killer results from the garlic and ...
Managing Your Mobile Monkey
As a robotician,think about all of the neat things that you have direct access to by way of the pages of SERVO. For instance,Parallax offers a variety of sensors that include a PIR (Passive Infrared) sensor,a color sensor, and a combination temperature/humidity sensor to name just a few. Digging deeper into a SERVO magazine I’m reading at the moment reveals a company called Maxbotix that is offering an ultrasonic sensor they call MaxSonar. If you want to sense with IR, you have the resources...
Building A Sonar System
I’ve always wanted to do an ultrasonic ranging project. So, guess what we’ll be talking about and building up this month? Ultrasonic ranging is a great way to add eyes to your mechanical animal. I’ll bet you didn’t realize that there is an off-the-shelf ultrasonic ranging product out there that allows you to tune those “electromechanical eyes” to your robot’s environment. If you scan the pages of SERVO carefully, you’ll come across a company called MaxBotix. They produce a line of ultrasonic...
Big Mamma Gear Motors
This month, we’ll pull together what it takes to design, build, and code a heavy duty DC motor driver module. First, we’ll look at the electrical theory behind the DC motor driver electronics. Then, we’ll build up the DC motor driver module’s “intelligence” and meld it with the DC motor driver’s “brawn.” If all of that passes the smoke test, we’ll code a simple RS-232 interface, which will allow you to control the big DC motor with simple serial commands. The DC motor driver IC of choice for...
The CPLD Servo Driver
The hobby servo is an amazing device. The typical hobby servo is a collection of plastic or metal gears driven by a DC motor, which is under the control of a specialized motor driver IC and a feedback potentiometer. Back in the day, one would find hobby servos in most every model airplane and model boat. If you really put a brain cell to it, radio-controlled model planes, cars, and boats are actually specialized types of robots that depend greatly on the controlled motion provided by a hobby...
Bring Up Your Own Mesh Network
Despite what most folks think, the science of robotics is not based on mobility and motion alone. Say the word “robot” to most anyone on the street and they will assimilate the word robot to a mobile humanoid-like mechanism that has superhuman intelligence and strength. In reality, Earth-bound robots have the ability to weld, cut, saw, drill, wash dishes, wash your underwear, wash your car, and cook your dinner...
A Digital RF DataLink
Wire is a wonderful thing. There’s not much that is more reliable than a short piece of stranded or solid copper wire between the ends of an electrical connection. However, there are situations where electrically tying devices together with long runs of wire is impractical. Light does a good job of replacing copper when the conditions are right, but if one needs to move electrons reliably over a relatively long distance there’s no better conductor than the Earth’s magnetic field...
The Universal Motor
Electric motors come in a seemingly endless variety of shapes and sizes. If you’re into robots and mechanical devices that move about freely, DC (Direct Current) motors capable of operating on battery power are almost always your most practical motor choice. However, not every robot created by man or alien is a fully mobile Robby running around on forbidden planets. If your robot is a stationary collection of nuts and volts that’s at home working next to a wall outlet, you may be able to use...
Learning To Drive: The BLDC Motor
If you were to go back and survey past SERVO articles that I have written, you would probably conclude that I have this thing about motors and motor drivers. For instance, we recently tackled Universal Motors and constructed a Universal Motor controller. I also presented more than one SERVO stepper motor controller project. In these pages, we’ve driven linear actuators, rotated hobby servo rotors, and built circuitry to oversee the direction and speed of simple brushed DC motors...
BLDC Hardware | Part 2
Manually rotating the shaft of my Anaheim Automation BLY171S-24V-4000 BLDC motor with my fingers isn't making it. So, I've scrounged up and assembled some electronic components that I intend to use to force the BLDC motor shaft to rotate in lieu of my motor-shaft-driving fingers. If you take a look at the specifications for the BLY17 series of brushless DC motors, you'll see that every motor in the family has differing characteristics. With that, it will be useless for me to whip up a ...
BLDC Hardware | Part 3
It's time to get cerebral with our BLDC motor project. However, before we transition our fingers from spinning the BLDC motor shaft to tapping out some BLDC motor code, I have a confession to make. Before I relate my experiences, though, let's have a moment of silence for the fallen Microchip TC4428 and Fairchild NDS9952A parts that are littered all over my workbench under a cloud of "magic smoke.”
Robotics and electronics go hand in hand. If you're also a Nuts & Volts reader, you know that we assembled a working Silicon Laboratories-based USB microcontroller interface in the Nuts & Volts Design Cycle column. This month, we're going to pull that Nuts & Volts USB project into RoboLand and put its resources to work in a mechatronic kind of way...
Unwinding the AX-12+ Communication Protocol
I love to write robotic driver firmware and scratch build PIC microcontroller-based robotic hardware to run it. In this edition of SERVO, we’re not only going to sharpen our driver authoring skills, we’ll also get some flight time on the handle of a soldering iron...
Coding the Buffered Communications Subsystem
Lately, making things robotic move under the control of a PIC microcontroller has been my business. As we continue the Dynamixel AX-12+ coding task we embarked upon last month, we will also explore what it takes to coax a Microchip PIC18F2620 to drive the Dynamixel RX-28 and RX-64 robot actuators, which operate on a multi-drop RS-485 link.