Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Unbrick your X-Bee wireless module

Trying to configure and update the firmware on my brand-new Xbee module pair, I managed to 'brick' them! After an exhaustive search online, I tried every method suggested I could find, to no avail. I finally broke down and called tech support at Digi. While they don't offer direct customer support, that's for the retailer you purchased the unit from, I was referred to a site that that would help. The support rep said if the instructions on this page didn't work, the unit was definitely 'bricked' and unrecoverable. Lo and behold, it worked! Much thanks to that support rep and the creator of this page. Click here for the link. One step I must add. When using a Sparkfun Explorer and the "Action Required" message box comes up, short the GND and RST pins to reset the board.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Learning CAD and Bioloid GP arms

I've started tinkering around with some CAD lately. It could be a feather in my cap, and help in my day job as a CNC machinist. But at the same time, learning CAD is fun and will allow me to create my own custom robot parts. Right now, I really have no need for a full blown, expensive 3D program, so I did some searching online and came across DraftSight by Dassault Systemes, the same creators of Solidworks. I've tried several freebie CAD packages and all fell short in one way or another. This is two nights' work with DraftSight and I have to say, I am really pleased with the results. My first CAD drawing! This is a flat pattern of my take on a Bioloid GP-style arm. I am going to have this lasered out of .050"-.060" aluminum and then I'll bend it on my mini brake in the garage. As always, if you'd like to download a copy for your own use, click here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some work on Musa's walking gaits.

So I stayed up late last night working out some more gaits for Musa. Here is a picture of the spreadsheet tool I made to help out. I create a step or sequence I like by pose and creation. Then I enter the values from the pose editor within Pypose into my spreadsheet tool. The spreadsheet will calculate the value required to reverse or invert that servo from it's center position. Using this method, for example, allows me to create a left step of the foot and recreate its exact duplicate with the right step of the foot.

Here's the link to it. Included are a version for OpenOffice and MS Excel97, along with instructions on how to use it. Gait Creation Helper Tool

And video of my latest results.

As always, please leave comments, criticisms or questions.