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We are making a Control Panel for a wireless rover.

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Posted: 2010-10-06 11:02 
OK I hired a programmer for doing some of these ideas I have had. I've always wanted to make a control panel for a wireless rover. We are able to make this front end very easily, but I need to know the best way to get a network connection on the bot. We are using FlowStone to create the application. We can support many different wireless arrangements, but I don't know what's out there to choose from. FlowStone now supports video. We can easily display the video from an IP camera. But there's much more. FlowStone can do Motion Detect, Color Detect, Haar Face Detect, and CamShift Tracking!

We will probably make a rover with an embedded pc, but I'm also interested in some sort of interface that would put a router, or some other device on the bot to communicate with an SSC-32. I know there are numerous hacked "router bots" out there, but I don't know how long these hackable routers will be available.

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Posted: 2010-10-06 11:37 
How about a simple serial connection between the pc and the rover using XBees?

An XBee with USB adapter on the PC end and another XBee connected directly to the SSC-32 (with appropriate adapter since XBees are 3.3v) will give you (in it's simplest form) a virtual serial port between the two.

For example (from Parallax, but others are available). One adapter at each end and two XBees:

http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResu ... fault.aspx

http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResu ... fault.aspx

http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResu ... fault.aspx

An alternative for the rover end from adafruit:

http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_ ... cts_id=126


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Posted: 2010-10-06 12:48 
Thanks for the reply. I know about xbee. It doesn't have the bandwidth to handle the camera though. I'm looking for a more robust connection.

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Posted: 2010-10-06 12:55 
I was thinking along the lines of two links. Using a network camera for the video and the xbee for data/control.


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Posted: 2010-10-06 13:35 
Didn't you carry a WiFi module at one time?

The Lantronix WiFi module has two serial channels.

SRV-1 Wifi Expansion Module

http://surveyor-corporation.stores.yahoo.net/srwiexmo.html

Or buy the module direct from Mouser.

Alan KM6VV

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Posted: 2010-10-06 13:39 
I would really consider the Matchport b/g WiFi modules, they have 2 serial ports you can use, hec there's free software from Lantronix(com port re-director) which allows you to map an available comport to the Matchport Wifi modules. For example right now I have com15 mapped to one of the Matchport ports via Wifi which does support the bandwith needed for video. You would just need someone to design a simple breakout board and maybe a 3.3vdc regulator, I know right now you an get a breakout board for about $45.00 but I know the price could be much lower than that.

the cost for a b/g router is really cheap now, and it's so easy to setup a Matchport b/g module, all the hard work is already done for you.


The x-bee modules are a good choice for data, but not for video feeds. Right not the Matchport b/g modules are $49.95 most places


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Posted: 2010-10-06 14:04 
I was going to recommend a matchport module as well. I tried an earlier version probably 2 years ago and fried it when I gave it 5v. Would be good to find a simple breakout board with the appropriate voltage conversion on it.

Kurt


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Posted: 2010-10-06 15:45 
The design for the Blackfin radio/motor board is on the Surveyor website.

bfin-radiomotor-v3.sch

http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin/bfin-radiomotor-v3.png

http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin/bfin-radiomotor-v3.sch

http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin/bfin-radiomotor-v3.brd

Is the Eagle schematic and layout for the board!

A simpler radio-only board could be designed to stack up nicely with the BBII and SSC-32 boards.

A D-Link pocket router works nicely.

D-Link 802.11g pocket router/AP (DWL-G730AP)

I'd like to see a board made! Need help?

Alan KM6VV

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Posted: 2010-10-06 18:28 
I appreciate all the feedback. We used the Lantronics Matchport a while back. Our only involvement was to make a holder for the carrier that Wibotics made. I am very interested in making a carrier for the new Matchport module. Price is pretty good too. Some questions, how would you connect the camera? I know it has two serial ports, but does it also have a port (for a plug) that a network camera can plug into?

The carrier would need to be able to interface with a 5vdc TTL serial port (SSC-32) and an IP camera. Anything more than that is just icing on the cake. A same size stacking board would be awesome.

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Posted: 2010-10-06 20:19 
The camera would be one with a serial interface. Like the Blackfin. Not a "network" camera, if I follow you. You "get" a network (WLAN) camera out of the Blackfin camera package, for example. Other cameras (CMU cam?) with a serial interface as well.

Need a 3.3v regulator.

I'd put on a 3.3 to 5v logic shifter circuit, and probably one for RS-232 as well. Jumpers would configure.

A header bringing out all of the Lantronix pins.

Alan KM6VV

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Posted: 2010-10-06 20:28 
I also think you may be able to hook it up with wired network connection to the matchport. At least like it sounds like their EVAL board supports it and a quick look through their integration guide made it sound possible, but you need to add external magnetics and RJ45 connection.

Kurt


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Posted: 2010-10-06 21:07 
yes, there was something about a wired connection. Maybe that would work for the "network" camera?

Alan KM6VV

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Posted: 2010-10-07 05:06 
Use a Roboard, robotic computer board, or a mini ITX Nvidia Ion platform computer, Equipped with a 300Mb/s N-band wireless adapter. (you'll probably only get 150Mb/s with usb 2.0)

Zotak
This one uses the dual core intel atom 330 cpu, with hyperthreading for 2 physical threads and 2 virtual threads, for 4 threads.
It's small form factor can fit many rovers, as long as you have a decent battery for it.

ASUS
This one is similar, i don't know about the hyperthreading though, but it has WiFi 802.11b/g/n and BlueTooth Wireless on board
As well as a remote control and receiver.

Either of these would be more then sufficient.


Else, a wireless IP camera, or a standard wireless camera + video input card on a computer would work for video, I believing the Roving Networks has cards that support 2+ Mb/s bandwidth.
Besides that, i'd just suggest using, a mini PC, possibly even a super tiny netbook like the Fuji Lifebook U820.
Use the wifi and create a virtual com port between the two PC's. A virtual com port, with the right drivers does not abide by standard limits, and essentially you're limited to about 80-90% of the wireless adapters data rate. So if you're using 150Mb/s N-band, you should easily be able to see 80Mb baud rates, good luck finding the drivers though, you may have to make a program in Flowstone that works as a wireless to serial converter.
You could probably turn 1 wireless data transfer link into 100+ virtual com ports.

Just throwing ideas out there.

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Posted: 2010-10-07 09:56 
Charley, Kurt and Allen, yes this sounds awesome. A $49.00 module and a $20.00 carrier sounds like a real winner! I'm willing to buy the modules and pay for the boards to be prototyped. Will provide a bunch of freebies too. Who has the time and resources to work on it? Can easily be a group effort as well. :D

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Posted: 2010-10-07 10:17 
I always like new diversions :D I have tri-track with roboclaw or Rover with Arm that could be modified...

Kurt


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