Society of Robots - Robot Forum

Software => Software => Topic started by: ComputerGeek on February 28, 2007, 12:18:06 PM

Title: Help on a project
Post by: ComputerGeek on February 28, 2007, 12:18:06 PM
Hi everybody I've done a few posts here but this is my first topic. I'm interested in starting a project that would supply amateur robotisists with a software based PIC that will allow interfacing with a PC. What I'm looking for out of this thread is some input or feedback on how I can organize this for everybody's use.

        The program will be written in C/C++ because this is I believe the most widely known language and the one I have the most experience in. I know that VB may offer some direct interface but there are issues with that "language" that I could start a whole new topic complaining about. The idea is to use a stand alone boot floppy like the kind created when you format the disk to be bootable and a serial/USB interface to plug into an optically insulated circut then into the device/robot. The interface for the user is still up in the air but I'm leaning toward latter logic like the kind used in PLC's, DEFINITLY WANT FEED BACK ON THAT, I WANT AN ELEMENTRY STUDENT TO BE ABLE TO USE THIS.

    So there it is; let me know what you think and if you can contribute with code snippets, wrappers or your own experience with robot control systems and what to do or not to do then we can supply the robot community with an easy to use and free program. Thanks  :D
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: Admin on February 28, 2007, 03:47:51 PM
Why not just program directly with a serial cable? ???
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: ComputerGeek on March 01, 2007, 08:45:54 AM
?!?! How do you mean?!?!?

   What I mean to do is design a homemade PIC Controller and software to communicate with it so that some one could build one from scratch. The programming would be like writing a driver for customized hardware. But now I'm curious about what you mean.  ???
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: Admin on March 01, 2007, 02:16:00 PM
well, not entirely sure what you mean, so we could be talking about two totally different things . . .

but normally one would just attach a serial cable (or USB cable) from a PC into the serial port of a microcontroller. this is how I program my microcontrollers . . .

you can also interact with the microcontroller through serial by printf'ing text, and reading keystroke inputs, all by serial cable . . .
here is an example of me doing this with hyperterminal:

you can also use hyperterminal to upload your .hex files
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: JesseWelling on March 01, 2007, 02:27:51 PM
Maybe he was talking about an emulator?
and IIRC MPLAB already comes with one.....
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: ComputerGeek on March 02, 2007, 11:55:35 AM
The idea I have is closer to hyperterminal where you can completely eliminate the need for the retail PIC. Theoretically all of the processing can be done with the PC and the port can be protected from feed back by using  an optical insulator. My idea also involves designing a simplified controller circut specifically for this program if need be.

To reiterate, the 'normal way': PC->compiler_for_PIC->PIC->Robot
                                 My idea: PC->this_idea->isolator->Robot
The idea is that the robots 'brain' is the PC, it would make building one possible with a minimal investment of capitol.

Because I was in the same boat as alot of people growing up where I was interested in stuff and my parents had no idea what I was talking about. So I basically had to wait and teach my self all of these concepts for robotics while scratching together cash mowing lawns and shovelling snow. Now that I have a good knowledge base on how to write a control system I would like to simplify this for the other novices out there and maybe speed up the process for the veterens.
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: Admin on March 02, 2007, 12:54:15 PM
oooooooooohhhhhhhhh ok I see what you mean.

I have in the past controlled LED's directly from my serial port, but there are issues with that:
Not enough I/O to control more than 2 or 3 items (forgot how many)
No analog to digital converter
An external power supply and power regulation circuitry is required (part of your isolator)
I have shown a full robot can be built for $50, so you would have to go below that :P

let us know on what you decide, I am curious . . .

besides, lawn mowing and snow shoveling is all part of the robot making process :P
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: ComputerGeek on March 09, 2007, 12:05:22 PM
Just an update for anyone reading this post, sorry about the bump.

 I'm kind of slow to start on this project, I have all of the notes I need and I have the program flow made out but I haven't made any tests on it yet. By the way, before I actually start writing how the human enters code could I get some feed back on the ladder logic for the language? Would this be too hard for an amateur programmer? I know that some of the PIC's today use assembly and the C family but I want this to be functional for the true novice. Thanks to those who are interested.
Title: Re: Help on a project
Post by: Somchaya on March 09, 2007, 02:05:20 PM
Instead of allowing the user to write C-like code, you could maybe do something like how the Lego Mindstorms sets work, where the "code" is created by using a flow-chart system and drag-and-drop components. That way, it's a lot easier for a true novice to start programming robots.