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Author Topic: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product  (Read 61425 times)

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Offline AdminTopic starter

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SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« on: January 11, 2008, 08:41:42 AM »
As many of you have realized, I have not really been happy with any of the microcontrollers available on the market. They are all missing something . . .

So I am developing a microcontroller for SoR to sell (called the Axon), with revenue going to further develop/grow the SoR website. I've done a manufacturing run and it mostly works, but I'm working out the final bugs and documentation. I've been working hard on this for the last ~6 months, and it should be ready within a month or two from now for shipment.

For those who have used the Arduino, it will basically be the Arduino x 3 (in features, support, and cost). Yet it will be smaller and lighter, too.

A few teaser features:
16 ADC
built in USB
3 additional UART (for camera, wireless, hyperterminal, etc)
no programmer required
control up to 40 servos (building a hexapod/biped, anyone?)
has a power bus
designed for the intermediate/expert builder, simple enough for a beginner
  -actually, much much easier than the $50 Robot
2.5"x2.5"x.7" profile
full support, easy to use software/code
RoHS compliant (environmentally friendly, no lead, etc)


Price will be between $100 and $150. Send me an IM if you want to reserve one (no money down) so I can better judge how many to initially make. Those who reserve for the first produced limited batch will get ~20% off.

Offline Steve Joblin

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 10:17:31 AM »
what language is used to program it?

Offline airman00

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2008, 12:58:45 PM »
Any pics or 3D CAD images?
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


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Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008, 01:19:26 PM »
Programmed in C, using AVR Studio, and will very much resemble the code in the $50 Robot. I will write tutorials for it in just the same way, too.

But I will abstract the hard stuff away making it even easier to program.

I just had a friend try it out today. He had never programmed a microcontroller before, I trained him for like 10 minutes, and he was already programming a robot with it 100% on his own.

(haha yea it sounds like I'm bias and making this up, but I'm serious though . . .)

I don't want to release too many details until I finalize it . . .

This is an old CAD of it, but 80% of it is the same:

Offline airman00

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 03:19:41 PM »
looks good i'll consider it  ;)
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Offline vidam

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 03:31:21 PM »
I definitely want one. :)

-Melanie

Offline ed1380

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 04:13:26 PM »
i'd get one if i had the mula  :-[
and wasnt a noob


it looks like it would be very succesful once it gets out
Problems making the $50 robot circuit board?
click here. http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=3292.msg25198#msg25198

Offline Asellith

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 04:33:20 PM »
How fast is in and what kind of internal memory are we talking? you mentioned 16 ADCs what about digital inputs? If you don't want to give out that info because its not finalized yet thats ok I'll understand.

Thanks Admin!
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 04:41:47 PM »
16 MIPS throughput at 16 MHz (Arduino and $50 robot is 8MHz)

256K Bytes of In-System Self-Programmable Flash
4K Bytes EEPROM
8K Bytes Internal SRAM

Offline robonoob

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 05:57:37 PM »
maybe someday i will buy myself this board :P when i wont be as noob as i am today :D:D and this will take a while for me to become a non-noob :D anyways this sounds like UNREAL to me :P unbelievable it really has all the functions i would ever need and a loads of more :D
if u get one ready then post a picture please :)

BTW...will you be doing these things completely urself i mean soldering and wiring and all?

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 06:17:55 PM »
Yeap, fully assembled and tested.

btw, it's designed for a noob to be able to use it without problems, yet powerful enough for an expert. 8)

Offline gamefreak

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 09:25:21 PM »
so out of curiosity, are all of these going to be handmade, or will you get some company thatwill ensure each is fully functional, and what if we order one, it arrives, and it doesnt work.
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Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2008, 10:20:29 PM »
For now 80% of the assembly will be done by an outside company.

The rest of the assembly, plus programming and quality testing and shipping, will be done by me personally. Quality is very important to me :)

Plus, I've been brutalizing my test boards to make sure they are noob-hardened :P

Oh I forgot to mention, the board works with a voltage as low as 5.4V, but 6V is recommended (much better than the ~7.2V requirement for the Arduino). Its also has built in 'oops I reversed the battery connection' protection.

Offline JesseWelling

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2008, 10:22:17 PM »

Can I get a part number of the micro you are using?
Will SPI be bought out in pins if available? This is actually one of my gripes about the Robostix....
What about I2C? Is this going to be done with a boot loader?

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2008, 11:02:35 PM »
The controller is the ATmega2560.

Yeap it has I2C pinned out.

I however did not pin out the SS for SPI. Although I do have SCLK, MOSI, and MISO . . . hmmmm I wish you said this like 6 hours earlier before I sent out my boards! I will include the SS pin in a future version. I just wasn't thinking about it because I've never used SPI before . . .

It will have a bootloader to use with USB.

Attached is a pic of the first prototype with my hand for scale.

Offline JesseWelling

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2008, 11:53:29 PM »
Boot loader with USB? Will I need to home brew a Linux solution? :P

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2008, 12:15:53 AM »
hmmmm I'm not finished programming the bootloader so I'll have to get back to you on it . . . but I'm going to try to get it to work directly through AVR Studio as if you had a hardware programmer connected.

Offline Rebelgium

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2008, 04:53:29 AM »
Respect. I would have loved to do something similar. But I don't have time for it... :(
Will there also be a Axon lite version? Just half of everything, 8 ADCs, 20 outputs, ...and half of the price ;)

I can imagine that a lite version would be very popular with noobs. Think about howmany people, that wanted to make a simple-to-decent robot, we've reffered to the arduino... A lite version would be ideal for them, imho
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Offline robonoob

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2008, 05:20:30 AM »
hey admin if u have time for  it then could you make a step by step tutorial with this board to make a simple robot aswell? just for noobs.
something like $50 robot but a wall avoiding for instance :)

Offline Trumpkin

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2008, 09:38:48 AM »
If I had $100 to $200 bucks laying around I would get one. Maybe when I have a job.
Robots are awesome!

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2008, 09:42:15 AM »
Quote
hey admin if u have time for  it then could you make a step by step tutorial with this board to make a simple robot aswell? just for noobs.
something like $50 robot but a wall avoiding for instance
Every board will come pre-programmed with both servo centering code for servo modification, but also a photovore algorithm. Literally just plug and play.

Quote
Will there also be a Axon lite version? Just half of everything, 8 ADCs, 20 outputs, ...and half of the price
Nope. The market is flooded with beginner boards already. I wanted to make a board for those who want more features than a beginner board. The main reason I designed this board is because I needed these features but no board on the market offered them. These additional features is why the price is $100+

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2008, 10:31:10 AM »
Programmed in C, using AVR Studio, and will very much resemble the code in the $50 Robot. I will write tutorials for it in just the same way, too.

But I will abstract the hard stuff away making it even easier to program.

Thank you verry much, sir! It's a pain for a non-programmer to learn the hardware controll of C language... That was the main reason I prefered Basic over C, except NQC, which is my favourite, becaus it allows multitasking. Yeah, come to think of it, an NQC-like language would be great for a board like that!
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Offline maverick monk

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2008, 11:06:59 AM »
nice... now that I have an arduino board... lol
love howyou have the 3 pin settups, I had to make my own on my arduino shield kit. I was planning a future build with an arduino but now it looks like ill get this instead.

Offline Half Shell

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2008, 02:10:26 PM »
nice... now that I have an arduino board... lol
love howyou have the 3 pin settups, I had to make my own on my arduino shield kit. I was planning a future build with an arduino but now it looks like ill get this instead.

Funny you should mention that, as I'm designing a shield for arduino like that right now :-p. Message me if you want to know more, its still in design.

As for this controller - I'm certainly interested and then some. Usually controllers that have these kind of features are way over priced or are hard to find and even harder to get acquainted with. The high price point is somewhat of a scary point as I can't just buy one every robot I build, but I can definately see buying this for my important, larger projects.

I look forward to getting the released spec sheets.

Offline sdk32285

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2008, 09:44:19 PM »
Quote
I however did not pin out the SS for SPI. Although I do have SCLK, MOSI, and MISO . . . hmmmm I wish you said this like 6 hours earlier before I sent out my boards! I will include the SS pin in a future version. I just wasn't thinking about it because I've never used SPI before . . .
Is SS tied to gnd or left floating?
(If it is tied to gnd than you can still use SPI reliably for most devices)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 09:52:02 PM by sdk32285 »
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Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2008, 11:25:46 PM »
Quote
Is SS tied to gnd or left floating?
Floating . . . you could try soldering a wire to that pin . . . I'll pin it out on the next version and let you guys know when I do.

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2008, 05:29:16 PM »
Just a quick update on the Axon.

I fully tested the second prototype, and it worked surprisingly well (for a prototype). Most of the software is finished too. There were only minor issues with it, so I did some redesign and shipped it off to China. I wasn't happy with my previous manufacturer so I figured I'll try overseas this time.

I just got word yesterday that its done and they are shipping it back.

This means I'll spend another few weeks testing it (noob proofing it, hehe) and if I'm happy with it I'll do a full manufacturing run.

So that means I'll start selling it probably in 8 weeks, but don't quote me on it as I could make a dumb mistake somewhere . . .

In other news, I got my payment system set up, and 75% of documentation written, but haven't decided how to do international shipping yet or finalized pricing . . .

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2008, 06:39:34 AM »

In other news, I got my payment system set up, and 75% of documentation written, but haven't decided how to do international shipping yet or finalized pricing . . .


I guess if you use USPS Express MailŪ International for any country it will work ok. It includes $100 free insurance or add 0.75 for $200. It requires customs form and the merchandise can be declared as SAMPLES for no customs fee. A 1 pound package sent to Romania will be $27.50 or $25.30 if mailed online.
http://ircalc.usps.gov/IntlMailServices.aspx?Country=10368&M=2&P=1&O=0&sd=1
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Offline airman00

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2008, 07:13:41 AM »

In other news, I got my payment system set up, and 75% of documentation written, but haven't decided how to do international shipping yet or finalized pricing . . .


I guess if you use USPS Express MailŪ International for any country it will work ok. It includes $100 free insurance or add 0.75 for $200. It requires customs form and the merchandise can be declared as SAMPLES for no customs fee. A 1 pound package sent to Romania will be $27.50 or $25.30 if mailed online.
http://ircalc.usps.gov/IntlMailServices.aspx?Country=10368&M=2&P=1&O=0&sd=1


yes, but you can't legally charge for samples, right?
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Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: SoR annoucement: microcontroller product
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2008, 07:36:25 AM »
Well, no, but you can accept donations  ;)
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