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Running The Robot


The robot usually lives in OS306. If this is your first time running the robot, find Jim, Mark or another 306 resident. The robot is complicated machine and we don't want anyone to accidentally damage it or themselves.

Physical Setup

The configuration of the various USB/Serial devices attached to the robot is significant. This diagram shows the USB ports on the robot motherboard, and what should be plugged in where. These should be plugged in before the robot is powered on. Failure to do this right will cause the drivers to malfunction.

TODO: update this diagram. (Ideally switch to FTDI's, reprogram so it doesn't matter)

GPS2: The Garmin GPS device, one of the two dark blue USB/Serial adapters. Compass: The SeraialSense compass board, the other of the two dark blue USB/Serial adapters. Motor Controller: The light blue USB/Serial adapter. GPS1: The newer, smaller GPS device, black USB cable.

Make sure you unplug the robot's power cords, coil them and secure them before moving the robot.

Setting Up

This is the control panel at the front of the robot:

Flip the "Electronics" switch to On, press the "Computer Power" button, and wait for Ubuntu to boot. The login is "mcp" with the usual robotics password.

TODO: this next section about svn and driver setup has changed, and will change again

Open a terminal, navigate to ~/NewSVN/MCP/S09/trunk/LatestDriver/ and run svn update. If that doesn't work, you probably need to hunt down the robot's wireless network adapter.

Now you should be ready to actually start driving the robot around. Flip the "Motor" switch to On. In that terminal you were just using, run "player MCP3.cfg". If all goes well after a couple seconds it will start spewing lots of data regarding the motor controller. You can safely ignore this for the most part. Now you can open another terminal to run your control code. I recommend using "playerjoy" to drive the robot around when your not testing code (i.e. getting to the field for tests).


If on of the EStops is tripped, both the motor control board and the player drivers need to be reset before the robot will respond to commands again. You can reset the board by flipping the Motor power switch off and on. Reset the player drivers by killing the current instance of player and starting the driver again.

TODO: include Puppet instructions.

When using playerjoy, you may need to adjust the power settings (the default angular speed tends to be too low to actually turn the robot on the linoleum floors). Do this carefully as playerjoy doesn't provide any feedback. Adjust the settings one button press at a time and check how the robot reacts after each adjustment. Don't hold down the adjustment buttons, or you'll find yourself with an overpowered runaway robot. This can result in injuries and property damage.

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Page last modified on February 10, 2010, at 02:21 PM