Let's Make Robots!

B5 progress

Whatup gays,

Calculon just wanted to drop a line and share his progess on his B5 (the Backyard Beverage Buddy BBot) project. He started his project last fall as his entry into the XMOS challenge. The idea is basically a cooler on wheels that rolls around Caluclon's backyard and offers beverages to people. That's still the general plan, but the scope has changed slightly.

B5 1.0 features the following:

  • 2 12v geared motors taken from PowerWheels, controlled via the Pololu Qik motor controller.
  • 4 Dagu trigger-style IR sensors
  • 1 weak-ass 12v rechargeable power-tool battery (soon to be 2 in parallel).
  • piezo sounder for debug  
  • Arduino Duemillinova

What? Arduino, and not XMOS? Why not? 2 reasons:

  1. Calculon was able to locate a pre-written arduino library for serial communication with the Qik. No such luck with XMOS. [YET!!!].
  2. The XMOS Xc-1 requires a usb connection to keep from resetting. This can be solved, but Calculon fears the solution is beyond his meager soldering skills.

Here are some pics.

["face" courtesy of Calculon's childrens]

underside, featuring the current chasse of heavy aluminum, lag-screwed into the cooler. The front wheels are too loose, despite all of Calculon's efforts.

The current setup. Inside the enclosure is the 7805 connected to a giant heatsink to power the IR bumpers on the front. The idea is to fit the 'duino, the Qik, and the heatsink into the enclosure and put it on the lower back, but Calculon is still developing.

close-up of the duino shield:

The shield is made from the AWESOME Dagu project boards. Right now the shield has four inputs, a serial output, a piezo, and an led for the enclosure (Calculon managed to ruin the led in the enclosure pushbutton, so he added a cool green led power indicator (the green).

The Qik motorcontroller. This is very useful not only as an effective serial-controlled H-bridge for high-powered motors, but also supplies superbly regulated 5 volts to the 'duino. The servo connector connects Voltage Out, Ground, and RX.

B5 2.0 will hopefully feature:

  • a better 12v battery actually designed for use with the motors.
  • GPS positioning
  • rotary encoders
  • an led "face" for fun and cute debugging
  • XMOS (fingers crossed)
  • a lid capable of being opened in order to actually deliver beverage.

The movement is still a little sloppy, but Caluclon will post video as soon as he gets this beast to turn correctly on grass.

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Just an update - the XC1 that was used way back when this challenge started, has now been replaced by an XC1-A which has a number of improvements and does not need to be connected by USB.

XMOS have plenty of example code for serial communication including UART code (in fact our latest video even demos this: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyXMOS) etc - check out XMOS.com and XCore.com (community site) for free download of projects and tutorials for this. Obviously you have switched now, but might be a good learning experience in spare time using your XC1 which you may then be able to use for some future project.


Good luck!

well, the switch is probably just temporary, Calculon still has big plans for his XC-1, he's just not willing to try and modify it yet, since he has a habit of destroying the things he tries to desolder. and also he's waiting for more LMR to share their progress, since he's hardly a pioneer of code.

Fair enough! Well as I said, if you want to talk to others who have used XMOS kits, try our community. I think there are some LMR guys there too actually.