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robotBuilder
(@robotbuilder)
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2020-06-17 6:57 pm  

@spyder

You have a lot more patience than I have 🙂  Seems to me a lot of issues would be resolved if you lifted the circuits, wiring, motors and sensors out of that robot body and into something easier to work with.  It is no longer the robot you bought. Tracks might look cool but I suspect the wouldn't be gentle on carpet.

 

 


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Spyder
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2020-06-18 6:49 pm  

@robotbuilder

Well, I was originally following Bill, and building the DB1, but when covid hit, I lost access to the bot (I'm building that at work cuz it's gonna act as a toolbox), so I had to improvise

I thought that converting an already functional toy should be a rather easy and straightforward task, but as I progressed, I kept on finding things I could improve or modify, and now, yer right, it's no longer anything even remotely like the toy I bought 40 years ago.

On the other hand, I've gone too far to turn back now, haven't I ?

What would I do with all the parts I've built ?

Uh oh... And now a new wrinkle shows itself... The batteries just arrived, and it would seem that I've made a bit of an error in my order. I didn't realize that those batteries came in a box of TWO, which means that I now have FOUR of those 12AH 12V batteries

Well, I guess I could replace the batteries in my bicycle, and use the old ones for the robot. He didn't really need that kind of power anyway

On the other hand, I wonder if he could push a lawnmower if he the tank tracks...


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robotBuilder
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2020-06-18 10:10 pm  

I would look at it as a great learning experience that I assume you enjoyed?

Where you go next only you can say.

Personally I consider the robot base to be the defining part for the rest of the robot.  It determines its width and length, carrying ability and motor speed and strength.

 

 


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JoeLyddon
(@joelyddon)
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2020-06-18 10:49 pm  

@spyder

You could always hookup your batteries up in Parallel...  to last a lot longer.  🙂

 

Have Fun,
Joe Lyddon

www.woodworkstuff.net


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Spyder
(@spyder)
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2020-06-18 11:13 pm  
Posted by: @robotbuilder

great learning experience that I assume you enjoyed?

Learning ? Yea. Enjoyed, eh, in between bouts of frustration when I learn that one thing I built isn't gonna work until I redesign another thing I built, which them changes a completely different thing

I'm not entirely ready to abandon it yet tho.

Not until it's done anyway. Then I can move onto something else. But, yer right, a good robot needs a good strong base...

I'm thinking tracks

I'm also hearing an echo

Of course, it'll mean getting rid of the base that's down there now, and finding new places to mount things, and, of course, there's the minor detail of the base itself. I've got a couple of spare sets of motors that I was gonna build something out of, which I have yet to come up with an idea for, and some parts that I haven't used yet

I wanna swap out those bicycle batteries first tho, so I can find out how fast the thing will go. I've had it up to 29MPH so far, but these new batteries are a bit stronger than the old ones

Posted by: @joelyddon

You could always hookup your batteries up in Parallel.

Yea, lemme pull them outta the bike first. The bot doesn't really need anything quite that powerful (yet)


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JoeLyddon
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2020-06-18 11:51 pm  

@spyder

I was KIDDING...

I thought you were looking for a use of the extra batteries you got...  🙂

 

Have Fun,
Joe Lyddon

www.woodworkstuff.net


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Spyder
(@spyder)
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2020-06-19 2:48 am  

@joelyddon

LOL !

I'd LOVE to put them in the bike, but there's already 6 12 volt batteries in it now

Where would I mount another 4 ?

Besides, the thing weighs a ton as it is 


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Spyder
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2020-06-19 7:49 pm  
Posted by: @robotbuilder

Personally I consider the robot base to be the defining part for the rest of the robot.

Okay...

One each (Made in America) Base

omnibot39

Coming up

(I think)

 


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Spyder
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2020-06-20 4:36 am  

Well, that part is done

It's gonna need to be rewired again (obviously), and he's looking to be in kinda sad-ish shape, and I seem to have broken the pi that his voice comes from...

I've got spare Pis, but, like a fool, I didn't back up his SD card, so, I'll be starting from scratch on that part

But, other than that, those tracks look pretty good, eh ?

omnibot41
omnibot42

 

My plan is to use the space on the front to mount the elevator capable arms. I'd planned to put at least one arm on a worm gear that can reach the floor, but the original chassis didn't leave room for it, this one does

I swapped out the batteries on the bicycle, so I can power the track motors properly, but I'm waiting on power converter parts for the pis, arduinos and Jetson. Those are still gonna have to be tethered to the wall until the parts come in

Until then, I guess I'm gonna be rewiring the thing (again) and looking for a new voice (which I expect to be loads of fun)

I'd love to follow @robo-pi on his voice project, but I really want the voice to be integrated into the bot so that talking to him causes him to... do things


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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2020-06-20 5:25 am  

@spyder

Pretty impressive robot you got there Doctor Spyder.  I was hoping to make some progress on my robot but unfortunately my car failed inspection.  It has a bad frame that needs a lot of welding and sheet metal fabrication.  So I'll be laying on my back underneath my car for the next couple weeks with molten weld droplets falling on me.  That's really frustrating.  I'd rather be working on a robot.   But I can't afford to have the car fixed professionally, nor can I afford to buy another car.   So under the car I go for the next week or so.

I really like the tracks on your robot.  You did a nice job on the fabrication.

Posted by: @spyder

I'd love to follow @robo-pi on his voice project, but I really want the voice to be integrated into the bot so that talking to him causes him to... do things

I actually have the system up and running to where it could easily be used to voice control a robot.  I should probably make a video on that and have the computer doing things like turning room lights on and off, or whatever.   That's actually not my ultimate goal, but that's something I could already do at this stage.

I've been studying English grammar for my Linguistic AI project.  However, English grammar is absurdly complex.   In fact, to be perfectly honest, it's pretty much a "fake topic".  The reason I say this is because there are actually more exceptions to the rules than there are rules.  And that's no joke either.

I was trying to set up a very small vocabulary as the basis of my Linguistic AI project and quickly realized that even simple words have multiple meanings.  In fact, take the word "mean" as an example.   What does it mean?  Well it could mean that some person is mean to people.   Or it could mean that something is average as in a statistical mean.  I'll be starting out defining the word "mean" to mean that meaning of something.

So when I ask my robot what something means it can tell me and not get mean while its doing it. 🤣 

The problem is that I'm quickly discovering that this is the case for the vast majority of words.   Of course, this isn't a problem if the goal is just to have the robot respond to specific commands.  In that case the robot doesn't need to know what the words actually mean at all.  It just associates keywords with specific actions.

So having the robot do as you tell it to do is pretty easy actually.  As long as you don't expect it to do things you haven't already programmed it to know how to do. 😊 

As soon as you expect it to start to actually understand things you'll end up where I'm at,...  the impossible dream. My time will probably be better spent laying underneath my car with a TIG torch in hand.  At least that way I'm more likely to actually accomplish something useful. Either that or I'll set the car on fire.  I should probably invest in a fire extinguisher before I start the project huh?

I'm building the robot too late in life.  I should have already built one so I could have it weld up the car. 🥂 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
(@spyder)
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2020-06-25 8:47 am  
Posted by: @robo-pi

I really like the tracks on your robot.  You did a nice job on the fabrication.

Thank you 🙂

I'd like to get the voice working again. But, like I said, I'd also like to have it interact with the mechanics of the bot

I made an update vid of the bot before I installed the tracks here...

Posted by: @robo-pi

It just associates keywords with specific actions.

For now, I'd be happy with this. But, it's a separate system, that, while linked to the rest of the system, doesn't actually command the rest of the system

I'm still building it tho, and only testing one piece at a time as it's installed...

Again, my logic...

Start with basic functionality, then add levels of complexity one piece at a time

Latest update... The ultra-sonic sensor in his eye is working, and sending data to the Jetson (yay). Having a bit of trouble using Bill's trick of tying the echo to the trigger tho. Not sure why. I'm thinking that I changed wire color in one of the extensions between the head and chest, so I'm currently using them as originally intended. Next is the battery project so I can test his motion... Still working on the installation, wiring, charging, power conversion from 12v to 5v etc. as well as... like an idiot, even tho I DID order the barrel plugs, I forgot to order the micro USB plugs, so I'm waiting on that shipment as well as 90 degree plugs for the Arduino, which I mounted too close to the head, and now the neck is in the way, so I can't mount the head properly

Not sure what I'm gonna do about the power switches. I have relays that I was thinking of using, but that means dedicating power specifically to hold the relays in the "ON" position even tho I'm pretty sure that the switches scan handle the load without the relays... That might be overcomplicating this project, although, on the other hand, if I add the relays, since they're on Pi HATS, I could make it a remote turnon kind of thing, which would then require a semi-permanent power supply to the Pi controlling the relays which would be another headache, but, unfortunately, I'm in the middle of installing those exact parts, so a decision on that aspect right now would be timely

Yea... one thing at a time


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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2020-06-25 5:00 pm  

@spyder

You've got a robot!  👍 

Thanks for sharing the video, it's fun to watch someone making progress.  This week, other than working on my car, I've been spending most of my computer time learning how to shrink an image file so I could put it on a smaller SD card.  It's a long story of why I wanted to do that.  But after four days of trying I finally succeeded.   In the meantime I learned quite a bit about various file systems and their limitations, etc.  I also learned how to set up loop devices using losetup, and I learned about a great utility program called gparted that does the actual shrinking.  So it was a great educational four days.   I had to actually do it four times before I actually succeeded.  But now I know how to do it.

Now I'm back to working on the car again.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
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2020-07-06 7:34 am  
Posted by: @robo-pi

You've got a robot! 

LOL !

What I've got... is a giant rat's nest of wire surrounded by mass quantities of plastic and metal

omnibot45
omnibot44

I've got so many wires, in fact, that I can't even close that back panel

I bought a huge bag of plastic sticky backs and zip ties, but... yea, that idea went out the window

I tried. I really did try to follow Bill's wiring diagram, but, as I progressed, and one colossal screw up led to another, which led to one thing that didn't fit, or didn't work with another, that diagram went right out the window

Gone

Poof

Nothing left but the fact that there's an Arduino Mega IN there tied to a single HC-SR04 cuz I couldn't get the single pin scanner thing to work for some reason (although I THINK it's cuz I swapped wire colors at some point... I'm saving that problem for later)

Right now, I've made a bit more progress (after making a few more massive mistakes, and a small puff of magic smoke being released)

Right now, the bot is at this stage...

omnibot46

The metal cage that I built around it is because when I raise up each individual piece, I couldn't get them to stay put, and they kept falling over and yanking the wires out. By using the scaffolding, I was able to attach winches to each piece that I wanted to lift up and be assured that it was in no danger of falling over. So I hooked a winch under the arms to lift up the chest piece, then I moved the winch to the head to lift that up, and I gotta tellya, this idea worked out much better than the last plan I had

The scaffolding is currently bolted to the base of the track's frame, so it's not going to tip or anything, and I'm leaving it on for now cuz I'm not done opening him up yet. Although, I guess, for now, I should be calling it a "her" due to the fact that I managed to snap the SD Card with the Jarvis voice on it, and since I didn't back it up, I had to build a new one, and this female voice sounded SOO very human, I'm keeping it for now

I had gotten enough of it put together that I was ready to test the tracks. I didn't make a video record of it cuz... well, it didn't occur to me, but I'll tell you what happened...

The track motors spun for about .8 seconds, and the poor motor controller that I stupidly tried to use burned out almost instantly. It was only rated for 1.2 amps, and... yea, I smoked it

So, since I had to build a new voice anyway, plus I had to replace the motor controller, well, that's when I built the scaffolding

The new motor controller is the MDD10, which I didn't realize was a PiHAT, and not an Arduino board, so I had to add another Pi, and when I replaced the voice, I added a separate PCA9865 to dedicate to the servos instead of trying to multitask the voice box thingy. So the Pi with the 9865 also has an MDD10 stacked like a pancake

I made sure I programmed the fingers and wrists first, and the left arm was fun cuz I'm using a servo that I THOUGHT was a continuous rotation servo, but, turned out not to be, so I had to modify it and then try to find the ZERO point in order to stop it from moving. Yea, at one point I had the arm spun around backwards

Fun

Then I finally moved on to the tracks. I made a simple web control page with 5 speeds, from 20% up to 100% in increments of 20, set it for 20%, and clicked on the "Forward" button, the motors spun for a second before the tracks started moving, then they grabbed, and the thing went flying across the room, and before I could hit the "Stop" button, it had reached the end of the extension cord and unplugged itself

Thank goodness for that too, cuz it was headed straight for the wall

I can't imagine how fast it would have gone if I had used 100%

So I'm currently at the point where I'm about to remove the 12V battery that was powering the motors and replace it with one of the 6V batteries, and I'm hoping that it will be enough that it won't be trying to operate at the stall speed

Ideally, the best solution, I think, at this point, would be some kind of hack to connect the featherwing output to the MD10C input, which would give me back joystick control, but, for now, I'm sticking with the MDD10

Once the tracks are moving sufficiently, I'm gonna go back to the sensors, then the Lidar, then I get to FINALLY, implement ROS. I just don't see any reason to bother with it until I've got everything functioning

It's INSTALLED, I'm just not asking it to DO anything yet

I mean, why ask ROS to control something that doesn't work, eh ?

And so it goes...

This post was modified 6 days ago by Spyder

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robotBuilder
(@robotbuilder)
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2020-07-06 8:15 am  

@spyder

IMHO with the new base the robot has lost all its retro appeal.  You will solve all your wiring problems and free up lots of new space if you just build a frame like Bill's robot base and move all your electronics and motorised arms onto that.  You can always add "skin" to the frame to make it look as good as the old retro box.

 

 

This post was modified 6 days ago by robotBuilder

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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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2020-07-07 7:00 am  

@spyder

I see you are well on your journey down the path toward the ecstasy of robotics engineering.   If it was easy it wouldn't be so rewarding when you finally get it up and running the way you like.  😊 

I have been so bogged down in mundane chores and working on the "wrong car!".   I want to be working on my 47' Chevy but instead I'm working on a 2003 Caravan frame trying to fix it up enough to pass PA state inspection. 

I'm also building another building in my back yard.  Or at least half a building. (ha ha)  That's a long story in itself.

I do work on robotics projects at night.   Lately I've been working with Verilog and FPGAs.  Only at night after I'm totally exhausted and can't think straight anymore.   Amazingly my logic designs have actually been passing the waveform simulations with flying colors thus far.   I haven't actually uploaded anything to the FPGA boards yet.

Hearing about your wiring nightmares has me thinking that when I build my robot (if I ever get that far), I'll try to design in some decent wiring conduit before I create a Spaghetti Monster like you appear to currently have.

I would LOVE to go out in the shop and build that base for my robot, but I just have too many other things going on right now.  I keep promising myself that I'll make some time for it, but apparently I can't keep my promises. In fact, I've already used my robot wheels for other projects (i.e. tool carts).    So now I'll need to buy some more wheels for the robot.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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