Author Topic: Hello! some general questions..  (Read 2710 times)

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Offline WhomBomTopic starter

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Hello! some general questions..
« on: July 05, 2009, 04:27:44 PM »
First off, hello.
I'm new to the forum, and live in holland. I've bin intrigued by robots ever since i got my first cheap humanoid with guns like toy. Now, a couple of years later i'm convinced i can make something way cooler than my old toy... or at least i hope  :P

I've already read a lot of stuff, practically all the tutorials.. but since i'm trying to put together my first robot  not everything makes sense to me.

So far the mechanics and electronics part seems clear to me, but all the programming experience i have comes from my ti83 wich uses a sort of BASIC. I made a sort of space invaders game with it, so no rocket science there..

For my robot i already completed the chassis and ordered servos and wheels. For a MCU i'm thinking strongly about the axon.. but this is where it gets really hazy for me... i'm no pc hero so what will i need? Some software for my pc i guess and a usb cable to connect it.. is that it?
Also it's not completely clear to me how to modify my servos to do a complete rotation, but once they arrive i'll post some pics of them and maybe then someone can help me...


Offline kpmcgurk

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 04:32:53 PM »
The Axon will come with a USB cable, and you will need AVRstudio for software... And if you are willing to spend the money, the axon is a great choice!!
some people are just Born smart, but some people have to work for it, and those are the people who succeed.

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Offline Webbot

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 09:09:10 PM »
All of the software just mentioned is free of course
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Offline jakx12

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2009, 12:08:54 PM »
Hi, i suggest the bx-24p MCU. Its what i use and the language used to program it is BASICX, pretty much BASIC. Why didnt you just by modified servos in the first place  ;)

If you have any more questions on the bx-24p then PM me

jakx12
Need help with an algorithm or a maths related problem? Ill be glad to help :)

Offline WhomBomTopic starter

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 03:03:15 AM »
Thanks for the replies, but i think I'll go with the axon. The scope function is what convinced me i guess.
So far my bot is starting to look like a bot  ;D although of course lifeless without a MCU... also I've read the servo tutorial again and everything is clear now, but I can't mod my servos yet because I can't center them without the axon.....

Next thing to do is order a axon and a sharp ir rangefinder, does anyone know a European based vendor? or an American one that ships for nice prices?

Offline Joker94

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 06:16:44 AM »
Here is a link to the official dealers page, there may or maynot be one suitable to you.

http://www.societyofrobots.com/axon/axon_dealers.shtml

Offline wil.hamilton

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 08:28:34 AM »
if you've never used an MCU before, I'd recommend going with an arduino variant.  They're easier to program than the axon.  they wrote a custom editor which is simpler to use than AVR studio.

The arduino and axon are both built on atmel chips, so programming them is similar, but the arduino has a very large community (and therefore lots of getting started information and variants) and i feel is easier for a beginner to use.
use the google.  it's your friend.

Offline Admin

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 02:20:37 PM »
if you've never used an MCU before, I'd recommend going with an arduino variant.  They're easier to program than the axon.  they wrote a custom editor which is simpler to use than AVR studio.
Call me extremely biased, but I'd disagree that AVR Studio is difficult to use :P

Its the same IDE thats used on the $50 Robot, and minus the questions about naming project files, no one has had any problems using it ;D

Offline SmAsH

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 03:10:47 PM »
hey, didn't someone on here mod arduino software to program the axon or similar?
Howdy

Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2009, 03:38:46 PM »
Arduino can be used with the Axon since the Arduino mega is essentially the same thing. But you need a ISP programmer to flash the bootloader.

Offline Webbot

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2009, 06:12:23 PM »
if you've never used an MCU before, I'd recommend going with an arduino variant.  They're easier to program than the axon.  they wrote a custom editor which is simpler to use than AVR studio.

AVRStudio is nothing to do with Axon or any other commercial board - its just a development environment. Of course you can use a whole bunch of others such as Eclipse (with AVR plugins), etc ,etc, or you can just use Notepad and compile from a DOS prompt. This is tru of ALL micro-controllers. At the end of the day you are just writing a C program. The only difference is how you then upload to the microcontroller.

So don't dismiss a product like the Axon just because you don't like the development environment you've chosen to use as they are not connected.

Personally I use Eclipse (coz I also use it for Java/Web development as well). But thats my own choice and will not suit others.
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Offline wil.hamilton

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2009, 06:38:51 PM »
@admin: of course you're biased, i would be surprised if you weren't

@webbot: of course you can use every environment, i probably should have explained that better, i just think it's easiest (if you've never programmed an mcu before) to just pick up an arduino and use the recommended environment.

if you've never used an mcu before dealing w/ flashing the bootloader is probably beyond your abilities, i was saying from the standpoint of someone who has never used an mcu, the arduino environment would be less intimidating.  you only have a few buttons, just very streamlined


basically, for someone starting out, they're most likely going to be using whatever environment is the default, and i feel that the arduino environment is simpler for someone just starting  out.

use the google.  it's your friend.

Offline Webbot

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2009, 06:44:56 PM »
So if you just want it easy then use an AVRISP II programmer which can just plug into a $50 or Axon board (and most others). Avrstudio then has a single Upload button. Dead easy.
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Offline wil.hamilton

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2009, 06:49:56 PM »
yea, true.  but, the programmer is just another thing to buy :P

in the end it comes down to preference.  With avr studio you have more control in the end.  The arduino environment only works with chips running the arduino bootloader. 

at some point anyone can choose what environment to use, it just requires the extra know how of flashing bootloaders
use the google.  it's your friend.

Offline Webbot

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2009, 07:03:07 PM »
So I think we agree!

Avrstudio IS more powerful.

Its a preference thing - and my pref is to never use boot loaders - they are complex and just give loads of problems (just search this site).
So my pref is to buy the programmer and keep everything simple and working.

The more 3rd party software you add to your environment only increases the chances of something not working and the possible combinations get so vast it is hard to get support from anyone.

So my advice to beginners would be to forget boot loaders altogether.

« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 07:47:50 PM by Webbot »
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Offline sonictj

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2009, 07:13:03 PM »
Quote
hey, didn't someone on here mod arduino software to program the axon or similar?
I did if you have an ispmkii its incredibly simple.  All you have to do is:
1) go into the preferences.txt file and edit it to use the ispmkii (explained here http://arduino.cc/en/Hacking/Programmer)
2) go through all the source files to the arduino environment found in the wherever arduino is... /hardware/cores/ardiuno.  You will find statements   like __AVR_ATmega1280__ change this  __AVR_ATmega640__.  I think you must do this to the makefile too, but that is it.  

*Note A better way is to make an || statement to include both of the MCU's.

If anybody has questions let me know.  I have also modified my own arduino source to be more easily used, by changing the pin definitions to those found in the datasheet.

To be honest though I've found AVR studio to be my preferred environment.  The Axon code should be easy to use.   Webbot has released libraries too.  I don't use either so I cannot speak for them but I'm sure they are more than sufficient.

Offline WhomBomTopic starter

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2009, 05:01:15 AM »
Hello, I already discovered that it all comes down to programming in C really, but the lack of European vendors and ups charging 60$ to ship stuff to Europe convinced me to go arduino. I've ordered an duemilanove, 14 pins should be plenty, I'm planning for 4 servos and 4 sensors for my first bot.

I can't wait till it gets here  ;D

Offline Webbot

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2009, 07:50:03 PM »
...the lack of European vendors and ups charging 60$ to ship stuff to Europe convinced me to go arduino....

Where are you based in Europe?
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Offline WhomBomTopic starter

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2009, 04:00:13 AM »
the netherlands


robotshop.ca could ship cheaper but they didn't recognize my adress  :-X

Offline Webbot

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Re: Hello! some general questions..
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2009, 02:37:53 PM »
Try UK sites like
http://www.active-robots.com
http://www.technobots.co.uk
http://www.modelmaniacsonline.co.uk

They 'may' be more expensive than US sites but, after shipping charges, 'may' be cheaper.
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