Let's Make Robots!

National Instruments

At work, I use NI controllers to make test rigs which pretend to be jet engines. Here's some stuff other people have used them for:

http://sine.ni.com/cs/app/doc/p/id/cs-695?metc=mtr6yy

 

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Nifty !

I'm got a NI DIO 96 for my robot from E-bay for $50.   I found NI's software on Linux rather frustrating.  I was trying to write a JNI interface to the card. NI had some bugs in it which did not allow this. I wrote a crude socket server to get around this bug, but I was not very happy with the solution.  Luckly, the brilliant people at comedi have written uber code for many control and digital aquisition cards.  Now I use the comedi drivers, and they work great!  And its open source! Which invites itself to all kinds of mucking about !

Are you sure 96 lines is enough? LOL.

$50 is a jolly good price for that. I find teh NI software very very good. When it's broken, they're pretty fast to find workarounds. That said, it it's absolutely not in the hobbiest's budget. Which is a pity, because something like LabVIEW is perfect for enthusiasts who are not programmers. Good old Comedi.

Have you made anything portable with it yet? I'd be intersted in developing a 12V PSU which could run a PC. I've seen lots of car PSUs on the web, but they're massively complex because of the massively noisy car supply. I think it would be simpler to start with something knowing it's a clean 12V.

Are you sure 96 lines is enough? <-- uh .. No, there is always more stuff to control (bwahahaha), but I'll multiplex it :)

I have heard alot of praise for LabView. I've never used it myself - unfortunately it looks like a student edition is $95.  I'm interested in keeping all the software on my bot free.  Linux, Comedi, Java (glassfish), and OSROS (open source robotic operating system - my attempt of making a service orientated messaging system catered to robotics) are all open souce.

Have you made anything portable with it yet? <--- piece O' cake, (look here) I'm using a 12V PSU now - simple as pie - it plus a 12V battery = mobile puter.  I have not tested the amount of noise it can take or the upper and lower voltage limits.  Actually, I have tested the lower, I think @ 11.2V it cuts power completely - which is a very good thing.  Its worked like a charm so far !

Bought-in solutions? Yuck. DIY 'R' US! Still $40 is not much. Must look on eBay for a small ATX mainboard.

Bought-in? - yeah, I'm good with it.
I prefer DIY but you need to know when to pick you battles, even if you do decide to buy I prefer to support open source solutions like robotpower for example... but I do not know of any open source 12v psu circuit made specifically for a mobile atx mainboard (maybe start a new project there)...

Real men wrap their own motor windings :) 

Cooaal (Arnold S) !

:D