Author Topic: So I've got this 'lil computer...  (Read 2199 times)

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Offline galannthegreatTopic starter

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So I've got this 'lil computer...
« on: September 19, 2009, 04:45:01 PM »
I got this Mini ITX computer today and it will eventually be the main controller of a very powerful robot that I am designing. But I don't know where to begin, I obviously need ways to interface it with robotic components and the like and I am hoping that there is a way that I can make all of it myself. Here is the motherboard of the 'lil computer I got here:http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D945GCLF-Mini-ITX-Motherboard?sc=8&category=1178.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Kurt.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2009, 04:46:22 PM by galannthegreat »
Kurt

Offline offy

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2009, 05:41:55 PM »
Most arduino's have serial USB so you can control servos that way. All you need to do is attach it to USB, then tell the computer to send a serial command, and you have your servo moving.

Offline galannthegreatTopic starter

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2009, 06:11:07 PM »
Hmm... that'll work, and they're not too expensive, maybe I'll get the Roboduino. Thanks for that suggestion.

Now I guess I'll need a good portable power supply, something that can do 12 VDC, as I have this as my internal computer power supply:http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-90?sc=8&category=981.

Now I just need some resources to get me started with turning this into a beast of a 'bot.
Kurt

Offline Soeren

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2009, 06:36:27 PM »
Hi,

Now I just need some resources to get me started with turning this into a beast of a 'bot.
Google is a very usefull resource...
And it is somewhat easier to get others to show interest in ones projects after a show of own affection towards it.
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 galannthegreatTopic starter

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2009, 06:48:19 PM »
Yes, google is a good resource, but I'm looking for something along the lines of books and resources that would aid in the achieving of this 'bot, not just someones blog or pictures that just show the 'bot and mention what he used, but something more like stepping stones... What methods of communication to the peripherals and the like.

Just so everyone is clear, I am not asking someone to build a robot with a computer and show every step they took, I am looking for ideas and help in making this a successful project.

Thanks, Kurt.
Kurt

Offline galannthegreatTopic starter

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 05:50:35 PM »
I have some new insights now from the wonderful world of Google. After a couple of hours of searching I found that many people have used computers as controllers, and to add to that a lot of people recorded their findings on web pages! ;D

So to hopefully generate some interest in this project here is what I want to work with:
-Mini ITX motherboard (as previously stated)
-Linux
-Using the parallel, serial and USB ports as points to connect with and control by

Now at this time I am trying to get this Mini ITX of mine to boot up in Linux, but I am running into some trouble, does any one know what I can do to get Linux on to my machine? I have a USB flashdrive configured with Linux, it runs fine on my main machine but when I try it with my ITX it just says "Boot error". Any suggestions?
Kurt

Offline householdutensils

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 08:46:20 PM »
Was it a boot loader error (Like LIBO or GRUB) or a POST error? Does it give you an error code? You can Google that number and it will tell you exactly whats wrong.

I've got a Mini-ITX board lying around somewhere and I managed to get Xbuntu working on it by connecting it to the mobo along with a dvd drive and installing it directly onto the USB drive just like a regular HDD (As opposed to the traditional 'Live' usb bootables). This of course means that it doesn't have the reduced HDD i/o of a light weight distro which means the USB Drive will eventually reach it's read/write limit, but it's the easiest way and I'm a lazy bugger :P

You also might want to look into CF->IDE Adaptors and using a CF card to run a light weight distro like puppy or DSL.


As for interfacing with your electronics, I've had a bit of success using the parallel port in C (When I say a bit of success, I mean I've been able to control LEDs from my C progam XD). It's a fairly straight forward protocol, and if you don't want to use an on board MCU with a serial connection to your comp, you can use the parallel port pins like traditional digital I/O ports on an MCU. Just remember to isolate xD
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 08:50:02 PM by householdutensils »

Offline galannthegreatTopic starter

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 09:12:31 PM »
Thanks, this will help me greatly. :)

About the error code all it says is "Boot error", I hit any key and it boots normally from the HDD. It boots fine on my main machine but then when I try it on this one it does that. I've tried to re-make the bootable flashdrive on the mini ITX with no luck at all. So now I am figuring that there may be something corrupt somewhere on the mini ITX. What would you figure?
Kurt

Offline householdutensils

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 09:58:20 PM »
Hmmmm. Honestly, I'm not to sure, I've never encountered a boot error without an error code :S So I don't think I'll be much help here I'm afraid.

My advice would be to try a regular HDD, or Live CD with Linux loaded onto it to ensure it's booting, then once your in the distro, test your USB Ports by plugging in the drive. It should automatically mount and you should be able to browse the filesystem. Since it boots fine on your other PC, I don't believe it will be a problem with your boot loader (Though you can double check by using a partition editor to check that there is a bootable partition if you want to be sure), so I'm guessing it's an issue when the computer actually tries to load the boot loader from the MBR of the USB stick. Ensuring the USB Ports work properly is probably a good first step to defining the problem.


From what I understand, you have an HDD with windows booting fine from the Mini-ITX, but in my experience, Windows forgives a lot of stuff that Linux does not. For example I've got a laptop at home that's got some severe voltage issues and while Windows boots fine (I say fine, but there are issues, just not error messages), I can't even start the Ubuntu install process because it throws a wobbly and tells me that there's a voltage problem on a certain port. What I'm saying is that there MAY be a problem that Windows won't pick up on (You might get random crashes or artifacts, but no proper error messages or events), so booting into linux to test the USB Ports might be prudent.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 10:08:58 PM by householdutensils »

Offline galannthegreatTopic starter

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Re: So I've got this 'lil computer...
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 11:45:19 PM »
Hmmm... now I'm starting to think that I should just make the 'bot windows based and use that as my starting point. Thanks for that insight. :)
Kurt

 


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