2

Author Topic: Need to level set to today's technology  (Read 991 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jocatchTopic starter

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 29
  • Helpful? 0
Need to level set to today's technology
« on: July 17, 2010, 10:08:52 AM »
Back in the '80s and '90s I built various simple robots. The last one was in 1992 using the Intel 8052 with an 8255 and 16k RAM and 16k EPROM, Polaroid sonar, etc. (Photos on my web site). Now after a 18 year absence from robot building I am looking into the hobby and alot has changed. Looks like the Polaroid sonar is gone along with parallel data paths, looks like every has gone serial. Chips like the 8052 are dead and replaced with PIC(s?) and mini-controlers. New stuff is out like electronic compasses and GPS.

Question is where can I get a book that brings me up to date with where the hobby is in 2010? I need descriptions on this new serial standard, what PICs are, practical circuits for using GPS, compasses, etc. Any input? Thanks.

Offline waltr

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,944
  • Helpful? 98
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2010, 10:43:03 AM »
A very good place to start is the SoR tutorials and then web searches. With the internet books aren't really needed to pick up on the latest devices. Google and Wiki will have more details and range of subjects than any one book may have.
Also read through all the threads on this site to see what people are doing with Bots today. In the discussions many posts will have links to data sheets, specs and ideas.

The processors of choice today are called micro-controllers and have program memory (FLASH), ram, IO ports, UARTs, Timers, ADCs and other various devices built in. This makes the processor a one chip solution.

Good luck and have fun

Offline Hawaii00000

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 347
  • Helpful? 2
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2010, 08:22:47 PM »
I like your story. That's cool that your coming back to your old hobby.

Although I can't suggest a good book, I will try to answer your questions the best I can.

As Waltr said, today's robots mostly controlled by microcontrollers. These are usually powered by PIC or AVR chips. Two microcontrollers commonly used by forum members are the Axon  (produced by SoR's owner) and the Arduino. Both are AVR boards.

GPS units are often built so you just have to connect the power and serial. Here's a video by Admin on using GPS with an Axon microncontroller (he doesn't recomend that particular GPS unit:
Axon II Microcontroller and GPS


I don't know much about compasses, but I believe the can be bought as a prebuilt circuit .

Here are some other sensors you may use (most of these will plug straight into the microcontroller without having to build a circuit):
Infrared or Sonar/Ping (I believe ping and sonar sensors are practically the same thing)--distance sensors
Accelerometers --for mesuring acceleration and the angle of you bot
Photoresistors --For meausing light (needs simple circuit)
Bluetooth-- for wireless comunication
Video by Admin:
Axon Bluetooth Tutorial



Happy Robot building!
"God chose to make the world according to very beautiful mathematics."
-Paul Dirac
**************************************************************
Its Hawaii Five-O. Get it?

Offline Soeren

  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,672
  • Helpful? 227
  • Mind Reading: 0.0
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 05:43:23 AM »
Hi,

[...] Chips like the 8052 are dead and replaced with PIC(s?) and mini-controlers. New stuff is out like electronic compasses and GPS.

The 8052 is more or less a forerunner of the controllers used today. You'll enjoy the new controllers with "everything" aboard and all the sensors and actuators available today makes for interesting times, compared to back then.


Question is where can I get a book that brings me up to date with where the hobby is in 2010? I need descriptions on this new serial standard, what PICs are, practical circuits for using GPS, compasses, etc.

I don't think that any single book will bridge the two decades in all areas of the subject, so you gotta take a slice at a time.
New serial standard? Do you mean SPI? (IIC, which is used as well, is ancient)

PIC is the microcontroller family from MicroChip (formerly Arizona MicroChip) and is an acronym for Peripheral/Programmable/Protocol Interface Controller, which it started out as. Today it's a very powerfull microcontroller in its own right.

The PIC family is vast and new members are appearing quite often. It covers from a 6 pin SOT-23 to extremely large chips with numerous I/O (which explains the general lack of parallel chips like 8255, as you just use a controller with enough I/O).
Atmel makes the AVRs which most people here use, myself not included, as I prefer the PICs. Those 2 families are the ones with the largest followings, but there are several other cores from other vendors.

I'd recommend you to get one of the project books by John Iovine to follow and then you'll automatically get a lot more about peripherals and such along the way. Hanging out here should help too.

Here is a free download of one of Johns books I just tripped over, it's actually one of the better ones for starting up:
John Iovine - Pic robotics - A beginner's guide to robotics projects using the Pic Micro - 2004.pdf (31,603 KB)

You can get similar books on the AVR and other cores, so remember that I'm biased toward the PICs ;D

If you're not in for the challenge, perhaps stick to AVRs, which are closer to what you have done back in time, as they have evolved from the same stem as 8052 - PICs are a bit different (you can get some free samples of PICs from MicroChip to see if they'll work for you. Just choose wisely - or ask here for recommendations).
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

Offline jocatchTopic starter

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 29
  • Helpful? 0
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 02:57:17 PM »
Thanks for the replies. While I bring my 8052 robot back to life, I am reading a book I bought called 123 Robotic Experiments for the Evil Genius. I am not impressed with it, half the book is basic electronics, not robot building, lack of schematics, etc. I bought mainly because it came with a PCB for the BASIC stamp. However, I not sure if my next project will use the BASIC stamp or the Axon. Some of the things I am wanting in a controller is PWM, CPU speed and memory. I also see that the BASIC stamp (at least the one design from the 123 book) uses an RS232 to talk to the PC. I haven't had a computer with RS232 in years. Do any BASIC or Axon talk to a PC any other way? What about USB or Blue tooth?

I see a bunch of BASIC stamps and haven't figured out why there are so many. The Axon looks more powerful but I am still learning about these things. One thing I am seeing with my 8052 is that it is all digital. I have no ADC right now so it can't be used for a line tracer and the like. I assume the controllers like Axon and BASIC have analog and serial digital.

Regarding the GPS video, if these units are only good to about 30', forget it. What good is that?  Is anyone using GPS to "find home"?

At least there is one good thing about my old robot, it has a voice using the RS chips. Haven't seenvoice on any "new" robot. 8-)

Joe



Offline Hawaii00000

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 347
  • Helpful? 2
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 12:05:00 PM »
Quote
Do any BASIC or Axon talk to a PC any other way? What about USB or Blue tooth?

Microcontrollers today can communicate with computers via serial and usb. Not sure on teh details though.

Quote
Regarding the GPS video, if these units are only good to about 30', forget it. What good is that?  Is anyone using GPS to "find home"?

I've heard that they can be a lot more accurate then the one in the video. This is a project by madsci, a forum member here. The robot runs a predetermined route using gps. http://www.billporter.info/?cat=11

« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 12:06:21 PM by Hawaii00000 »
"God chose to make the world according to very beautiful mathematics."
-Paul Dirac
**************************************************************
Its Hawaii Five-O. Get it?

Offline madsci1016

  • Contest Winner
  • Supreme Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 1,450
  • Helpful? 43
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 02:24:08 PM »
Yes, decent GPS units now a days are a lot better accuracy. My robot can navigate a route through a crowed parking lot without hitting parked cars or curbs. The accuracy I observe is more like +/- 5'.

Offline Webbot

  • Expert Roboticist
  • Supreme Robot
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,166
  • Helpful? 111
Re: Need to level set to today's technology
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 05:48:53 PM »
At least there is one good thing about my old robot, it has a voice using the RS chips. Haven't seen voice on any "new" robot. 8-)
Well WebbotLib has its own text to voice retro speech synthesizer or lets you use things like the SOMO14D to play back audio tracks which can include speech.
Webbot Home: http://webbot.org.uk/
WebbotLib online docs: http://webbot.org.uk/WebbotLibDocs
If your in the neighbourhood: http://www.hovinghamspa.co.uk

 


Get Your Ad Here