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Extending Eddie RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi

    Up til now, I’ve been building robots with Lego Mindstorms.  I've run into a lot of limitations that I’d like to explore solving by using MRS and other hardware.  I'm brand new to MRS.  I’m mostly a software guy, I want to use as much off-the-shelf hardware  (and also software) as I possibly can. 

    Questions: 

    Eddie looks interesting, but are there motors, robotic arms etc you can easily hook up to eddie without bothering with a lot of hardware level details?  If not eddie, is there another suggested alternative?  

    Is it easy add extensions I may add to eddie (or mindstorms or another bot)  in the simulator?  (say i want to add a simple arm).  Is there a catalog of parts I can add in the simulator?  

    Any pointers to examples or additional documentation covering the latest version of MRS with regards to these questions would really help!

    Thanks!

     

    Saturday, December 31, 2011 12:06 AM

Answers

  • The easiest way to determine which USB Host Controller corresponds to which USB port on your PC is to plug something into each port in turn, e.g. a flash drive, and then look in the Device Manager.

    In Device Manager do the following:

    • Select View \ Devices by Connection
    • Expand the first item in the list. This is usually your PC. (Click on the small arrow beside the item to expand it).
    • Keep expanding items until you find the PCI bus.
    • Expand the PCI bus.
    • Expand each of the USB Host Controllers.
    • Expand each USB hub.
    • Look for your device.

    Now move the device to another port and see if it ends up on a different USB Host Controller.

    Many PCs have internal USB hubs and so even though you see lots of ports, they might all be "shared" on a single controller. If you find that two devices do not work properly when they are both plugged in, try to find different USB Host Controllers for them to use.

    The following is a screenshot of Device Manager on my laptop when I plug in a Kingston flash drive (highlighted near the bottom of the window).

    Trevor

    Device Manager - Devices by Connection


    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:31 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    I'm busy with a Fez Panda II a .net microframework board running C#. I've implemented a small subset of the Eddie commands and I use it to drive an I2C motor controller (MD23).

    So mixing is not a big problem, everything needs to be done on the controller board. So you can hook up everything. I'm planning on controlling some servo's as well. Biggest challenge is including this with the Eddie platform. MRDS already has an Arm service (also simulated)

    Erik

    Saturday, December 31, 2011 2:28 PM
  • Adding an arm is not impossible, but I don't think it is a novice task. One of the problems with an arm will be its reach. If you mount it on the top deck of the Eddie then it has a long way to reach down to the ground to pick things up. The types of arms that are available for hobbyists, e.g. from Lynxmotion, also cannot lift very much weight.

    On a different topic, we have used a variety of Phidgets board to add components to an Eddie. These all plug into a USB port and there is a package on CodePlex with some Phidgets services. I will try to update this package when the final version of RDS 4 is released. Phidgets make it easy to add servos or more sensors. Just be careful which USB port you plug them into because the Kinect likes lots of bandwidth and the XBox Wireless Receiver likes lots of power - they don't "socalize" well on USB.

    Eddie also has some spare analog inputs on the controller board, and you could add more PING sensors too. It does not currently support attaching servos directly, but we have been discussing this with Parallax because it is technically feasible - it just needs more firmware.

    The simulator does have additional sensors and an implementation of an LBR3 arm. There is a simulated Lynxmotion L6 arm in the book samples on CodePlex. However, attaching these to the existing Eddie simulation is not a novice task either. It's definitely feasible, just not something that I think you would find easy if you are just getting started.

    Trevor

     

    Monday, January 2, 2012 12:23 AM
  • Thanks for the replies!

    Trevor,

    When you say "Just be careful which USB port you plug them into", I'm not clear what I need to do to avoid this issue.  How do i know which USB ports are isolated from each other, or how to gauge when I'm getting close to saturation?

    As for learning how to combine simulations, I am eager to learn how to do this.   I'll read up on simulation programming.  Do you believe it will be relatively easy to do what I'm asking if I go thru and understand all the tutorials in the MRS sdk, or are there additional resources to consult for this.

    Thank you!


    Monday, January 2, 2012 7:39 PM
  • There are a couple ways to determine how your USB ports are mapped.  One, open up Device Manager and look at the properties for each USB port.  Two, far easier, just try it and find what works.  Seriously, in the office, we just used the manual way and then applied that to all of our systems since they're identical.
    Monday, February 20, 2012 6:44 AM
    Moderator
  • The easiest way to determine which USB Host Controller corresponds to which USB port on your PC is to plug something into each port in turn, e.g. a flash drive, and then look in the Device Manager.

    In Device Manager do the following:

    • Select View \ Devices by Connection
    • Expand the first item in the list. This is usually your PC. (Click on the small arrow beside the item to expand it).
    • Keep expanding items until you find the PCI bus.
    • Expand the PCI bus.
    • Expand each of the USB Host Controllers.
    • Expand each USB hub.
    • Look for your device.

    Now move the device to another port and see if it ends up on a different USB Host Controller.

    Many PCs have internal USB hubs and so even though you see lots of ports, they might all be "shared" on a single controller. If you find that two devices do not work properly when they are both plugged in, try to find different USB Host Controllers for them to use.

    The following is a screenshot of Device Manager on my laptop when I plug in a Kingston flash drive (highlighted near the bottom of the window).

    Trevor

    Device Manager - Devices by Connection


    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:31 AM
  •  As for learning how to combine simulations, I am eager to learn how to do this.   I'll read up on simulation programming.  Do you believe it will be relatively easy to do what I'm asking if I go thru and understand all the tutorials in the MRS sdk, or are there additional resources to consult for this. 

    That would definitely be the way to go.

    You can also use the reference "The Book" http://www.amazon.com/Professional-Microsoft-Robotics-Developer-Programmer/dp/0470141077/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331322923&sr=1-1 though it is becoming dated and not all samples will work exactly as advertised.

    Friday, March 9, 2012 7:56 PM