Author Topic: Serial / Parallel cable  (Read 1670 times)

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Offline sacreTopic starter

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Serial / Parallel cable
« on: May 31, 2010, 10:05:41 PM »
I am extremely new to robotics.  I have read the $50 robot tutorial, and understand all of it.  Except for this one thing: the serial / parallel cable.  And then programmer is also mentioned. I have this question: is it a regular off-the-shelve serial cable, and the PC referred to as the programmer? . I don't want to buy a Dev.Kit, since the software needed is freely available.  Do i really need the "Atmel AT89ISP cable" parallel?  These kits are quite expensive in South Africa.  I don't want to buy a kit, then it turns out it doesn't work for the applications as in the $50-robot tutorial.  I am highly enthusiastic, and don't want to regret in buying the wrong products, and make my start very difficult.  Could I also build a USB-UART converter similar to the CP2103? (since we are in the spirit of building things :P )

Question: Is it a regular serial / parallel cable used to program the MCU?

Please have a look at these kits, and please advise.

AT89ISP
http://za.rs-online.com/web/search/searchBrowseAction.html?method=getProduct&R=6962424

USB -> Serial
http://za.rs-online.com/web/search/searchBrowseAction.html?method=getProduct&R=6962563

CP2103
http://za.rs-online.com/web/search/searchBrowseAction.html?method=retrieveTfg&binCount=1&Ne=4294958012&Ntt=cp2103&Ntk=I18NAll&Nr=AND%28avl%3Aza%2CsearchDiscon_za%3AN%29&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial&N=4294205863&Nty=1

Offline maxheald

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Re: Serial / Parallel cable
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 11:01:57 PM »
The 50$ robot, while extremely simple, sucks for a beginner bot. If you don't know how to program IC chips then uploading software can be a bit tricky. Personally I would use an Arduino. The Arduino would be overkill, but to program it you hook it up to usb and hit the upload button. Very simple. Plus you can use it for much more advanced robots as well later. The Arduino comes in many flavors with the most common being the Duemilanove. And you can pick it up for about 30$ US assembled and tested. There are many variations which are cheaper and can be built by you. I haven't looked at the code for the 50$ bot but I'm willing to bet the code would need very little changing seeing as the Arduino uses an ATmega328.

Offline kevinisnekkid

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Re: Serial / Parallel cable
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2010, 01:23:30 PM »
No, it's not a simple cable. It's a converter. You can find schematics on the web if you want to build your own.

The second link you posted is the one I would recommend. It looks like the same one I have.

http://za.rs-online.com/web/search/searchBrowseAction.html?method=getProduct&R=6962563

It's fairly easy to work with the $50 robot board. Plug your battery in, then plug in your programmer. Then setup the software for the chip you are using. There's plenty of us that have built that board. So we can help you. :)

-Kevin
Robots don't hide what they are.

Offline sacreTopic starter

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Re: Serial / Parallel cable and Arduino Duemilanove
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2010, 03:45:27 PM »
The $50-robot tutorial is based on AVR which is C-code, which I love about this system and tutorials, I don't have to learn a new language  ;D That's why I said, everything makes sense, except for the physical cable part.

* kevinisnekkid
thanks for your recommendation, the AVRISP.  And especially for offering help :D  everything seem fairly easy, except for, and I'm burning my brain to figure out an algorithm for computer vision.  Which is my main drive for robotics, actually.  Yes, I am going to start with the $50 robot, SoR expert advice: "start with a simple robot".

What is your opinion on the Arduino, below? 

* maxheald
Fair enough :) Arduino Duemilanove (Arduino) seems to be very straight forward.  Except for, it raises a new question: when I would be writing the ATmega328 (MCU), would I have to insert the MCU into Arduino, write it and remove to be put back into the robot??  or, could I simply write the MCU on the robot, via the pins situated along the contour of the board?

It would be tedious if you have to transport the MCU each time back and forth between Arduino and robot, to be programmed. Let alone the risk of physical damage to the MCU.

** personal
after having to read all the tutorials on building your own system from scratch (SoR and SparkFun) and the Arduino video's...  I am more interested in AVRISP, unless Arduino can act like AVRISP, because I don't want to buy an Arduino for each robot I'm going to make. If I like the robot which can make coffee, why sacrifice it to convert it to one that can do the gardening?  The AVRISP approach of designing the programming aspect into the robot, seem much more user friendly, than designing from the Arduino, which would make the robot dependent on the Arduino.

Thanks for your help thus far

Offline maxheald

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Re: Serial / Parallel cable
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2010, 05:16:17 PM »
No there is a USB port on the Arduino and all of the I/O pins are accessible through the headers on the edges. Just leave the MCU on the board... I like Arduinos so I'm gonna recommend them, but there are other options as well. I just think as far as programming the MCU goes it does not get much simpler than an Arduino...

Offline Soeren

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Re: Serial / Parallel cable
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 01:36:44 AM »
Hi,

Question: Is it a regular serial / parallel cable used to program the MCU?

No, it's a cable for transferring the program from the PC to the microcontroller on the robot board.

Have you read this tutorial?

You can make this cable yourself, but if you haven't got a serial port, you should get one for the USB, as the results from using serial/USB adapters are quite varied.

There's no reason whatsoever to go with an Arduino and I really cannot see why that should be any bit easier to program - the Arduinos uses AVR controllers as well.
Quote
There are multiple versions of the Arduino board. The current basic board, the Duemilanove, uses the Atmel ATmega328. The older Diecimila, and the first run of Duemilanoves used the Atmel ATmega168, while older boards use the ATmega8. The Arduino Mega is based on the ATmega1280.



Here's a programmer from SparkFun priced $15,-

USBtinyISP from LadyAda can be had in kit form or you can make it yourself.

Another DIY version.

A very large page on a DIY programmer here.

There's more out there... Google if you need more suggestions.


You might find a programmer at eBay that will cost you less when goods AND shipment is seen as a whole.
Like this one costing $20,- including free shipping worldwide (from a seller with 99.8% Positive feedback).
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

 


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