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First time robot builder, charts progress with SSC32 and C++

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Rookie ( offline )
Posts: 26
Posted: 2009-04-05 21:14 

I've been interested in robots for a while now. My friend wanted to make one of those fighting robots you see from japan, but I was more interested in an autonomous robot with a personality. I'm literally starting from ground zero here. I've never made a robot before, and have only a basic understanding of programming. I don't know how far I'll make it, but I know there's probably plenty in my position. There for I'm going to chart my progress, provide links to everything I use, and basically have a hamfisted guide to your first robot.

If I fail, well that should be interesting too.

Compiling my first set of parts

http://www.lynxmotion.com/Product.aspx? ... egoryID=52
HItec HSR-1422CR (x4)
which I can't find a link to on the lynxmotion site, but I did buy them with my ssc-32 abotu 6 months ago, here's another link
http://www.roboter-teile.de/Shop/themes ... 6&source=1

After realizing my pc didn't have a serial port I bought

USB to RS232 DB9 male (x3) $8.55 each
http://www.monoprice.com/products/produ ... 1&format=2

Initial problems

There were worries that these cheap cables wont work, and even one poster on these boards claiming to have used them with no luck. I plugged one end into my SSC-32, and the other into the usb slot in my pc, and nothing happened. No green indicator light.

I downloaded LynxTerm
http://www.lynxmotion.com/Product.aspx? ... egoryID=15
A free program you can use to test out your servos.

I couldn't get a connection. I decided my SSC32 board must be broken, possibly from my own doing. What I didn't even consider was that while USB cables provide power for smaller devices, DB9 cables do not. Thus USB to DB9 will not supply enough power for the indicator light to show. I purchased a 9v battery and before even connecting to my computer the green indicator light on the SSC32 light up.

However I still couldn't make a connection between the SSC-32 and Lynxterm. This was do to the poor drivers that come with the cables. After testing tons online, these drivers proved to work.
http://www.dynexproducts.com/p-197-dyne ... cable.aspx
and a connection to Lynx Term was made.

What I wanted this robot to be

I decided the best way to have an autonomous robot was to have it controlled by my own code. That way expanding upon it could be done with my own code as well. I've made simple enemy AI for games before (remember basic programming experience) and figured I could do the same for a robot. I decided I was going to to my Acer Aspire One as the brain. That way it won't be tethered to my desk top.

Since I'm in college for programming and the main language we use is C++ I decided that would be what I used. I now needed a way to communicate with my COM port through C++. I know the SSC-32 takes basic character strings, eg ("#0P1500<cr>"). Why write code when some one else has done it for you (a saying I plan to use for large parts of my robots code).

Here's the open source software I found.

It even comes with an example so you don't need to guess around how to use his class. Changing the string in the example from "hello" to "#0P1500<cr>" made my servo start to spin and my face morph into a grin.

Future Plans

I've set upon this basic mock up of what my robot will look like. This is just it's first mock up. I do plan to expand on it as often as I can.

The gutted phone base is what I'll store the SSC-32 in, and batteries, and what not.

I will also need;
a battery to power my servos separately from the logic on the SSC-32.
wheels to attach to the continuous rotation servos for traction
brackets to build a base for the laptop to sit on, and to hold the servos in place
as well as regular servos (that hold position) for a pan and tilt webcam/arm/ect

User avatar
Guru ( offline )
Posts: 9256
Posted: 2009-04-06 11:20 
Great progress!

Here's the link to the CR servo.
http://www.lynxmotion.com/Product.aspx? ... egoryID=38

Jim Frye, the Robot Guy
I've always tried to do my best...


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