Robonova an almost good thing

Hitec robotics including ROBONOVA humanoid, HSR-8498HB servos, MR C-3024 Controllers and RoboBasic
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10 postsPage 1 of 1

Robonova an almost good thing

Post by vegasmike » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:22 pm

Post by vegasmike
Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:22 pm

I got my robonova a few days ago and with much anticipation set out to construct it and make it do its thing. The parts and the quality of the kit is superb, things fit right, but you will get a very sore hand from putting in and taking out and putting in an endless line of screws, both machined and screw threaded.

THe manual for the robot building process is at best poor and in some cases downright wrong. However if you take a look at the CD that comes with robobasic and roboscript you will find a COLOR copy of the manual on the CD, the same poorly written document however the pictures are all in color and allow you to see things that were not clear in the printed manual.

I saw this little guy at the CES in Jan, and thought he might be a welcomed addition to my growing collection of robot buddies. And he is, but I think Hitec should have done a bit more checking on the manual, it lacks much. For 1000 bucks, I expected a much better manual, ok enough on that, look at the cd and it gets a bit better.

The software however, while it works, both robobasic and roboscript, it was not written by a detailed programmer. WHat it does is not all that hard to do, but windows dont have dynamic scroll bars, parts of windows that should tear away, do so but end up really not fitting anywhere on the screen.

There seems to be little if any error trapping in the basic code so if you ask basic to do soemthing it does not like, it goes into error mode telling you that the communication link is not available or some nonsense error. Poorly written code speaks poorly to this high quality kit.

Finally they use a serial communication link instead of USB, which for most wont be a real big problem, but if you have a newer computer, those little db9 plugs have gone the way of dot matrix printers, so you have to get a converter from USB to Serial, which luckily I found at Radio Shack, Circuit City claimed to have them, but nope, not even a hint of one. So reliable RS won the battle again.

Once everything is installed and communications have been established with the robot, its time to tweak the servos, which is fairly simple and straight forward, and then its off to playing and making the little guy do his stuff.

I have yet to figure out the remote control, but that's because I just have not gotten to it yet. I assume it will work fine, more later on the remote.

SO, do I like it? Would I buy it again? Should you buy one? To the last question I think if you have the money to afford this 1000 toy, give it a go, as for would I buy it again knowing what I now know, frankly I am not sure, I think in six months it will be a better product, and finally yes I do like it, with the reservations listed above.

It needs vision, and gryos, and other sensors so that it can be more a part of its environment. This is not a toy for kids, so if you are gushing with big bucks and want to be the hero of the earth for buying your kid a cool thing to build, Robonova is not it, unless of course the kid is a bit older, 16 and over at least.

I like it, with reservations and will wait to see what Hitec does to this product line.

I still want Qrio, darn Sony.

Mike
I got my robonova a few days ago and with much anticipation set out to construct it and make it do its thing. The parts and the quality of the kit is superb, things fit right, but you will get a very sore hand from putting in and taking out and putting in an endless line of screws, both machined and screw threaded.

THe manual for the robot building process is at best poor and in some cases downright wrong. However if you take a look at the CD that comes with robobasic and roboscript you will find a COLOR copy of the manual on the CD, the same poorly written document however the pictures are all in color and allow you to see things that were not clear in the printed manual.

I saw this little guy at the CES in Jan, and thought he might be a welcomed addition to my growing collection of robot buddies. And he is, but I think Hitec should have done a bit more checking on the manual, it lacks much. For 1000 bucks, I expected a much better manual, ok enough on that, look at the cd and it gets a bit better.

The software however, while it works, both robobasic and roboscript, it was not written by a detailed programmer. WHat it does is not all that hard to do, but windows dont have dynamic scroll bars, parts of windows that should tear away, do so but end up really not fitting anywhere on the screen.

There seems to be little if any error trapping in the basic code so if you ask basic to do soemthing it does not like, it goes into error mode telling you that the communication link is not available or some nonsense error. Poorly written code speaks poorly to this high quality kit.

Finally they use a serial communication link instead of USB, which for most wont be a real big problem, but if you have a newer computer, those little db9 plugs have gone the way of dot matrix printers, so you have to get a converter from USB to Serial, which luckily I found at Radio Shack, Circuit City claimed to have them, but nope, not even a hint of one. So reliable RS won the battle again.

Once everything is installed and communications have been established with the robot, its time to tweak the servos, which is fairly simple and straight forward, and then its off to playing and making the little guy do his stuff.

I have yet to figure out the remote control, but that's because I just have not gotten to it yet. I assume it will work fine, more later on the remote.

SO, do I like it? Would I buy it again? Should you buy one? To the last question I think if you have the money to afford this 1000 toy, give it a go, as for would I buy it again knowing what I now know, frankly I am not sure, I think in six months it will be a better product, and finally yes I do like it, with the reservations listed above.

It needs vision, and gryos, and other sensors so that it can be more a part of its environment. This is not a toy for kids, so if you are gushing with big bucks and want to be the hero of the earth for buying your kid a cool thing to build, Robonova is not it, unless of course the kid is a bit older, 16 and over at least.

I like it, with reservations and will wait to see what Hitec does to this product line.

I still want Qrio, darn Sony.

Mike
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Post by bauermech » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:29 pm

Post by bauermech
Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:29 pm

Ah, the remote... I wasn't a big fan of IR to begin with... and I'm still not.
That's one of the benefits to owning a robonova... the upgrades! The LED Display is already available for order, and if you look in the RoboBASIC Command Instruction Manual, toward the end, it'll show the upcoming gyros and hints around at the sensors. This product is still relatively new, but fully open for expansion. I don't think it will take too long for these additional gadgets to hit the market. I'm equipping mine with a bluetooth module and pinhole camera now. We'll see though... The camera requires a 9v supply. Meaning, another battery placed where an additional servo would go in order to pan the "head". The blutooth however, is a must considering my taste for IR.
Ah, the remote... I wasn't a big fan of IR to begin with... and I'm still not.
That's one of the benefits to owning a robonova... the upgrades! The LED Display is already available for order, and if you look in the RoboBASIC Command Instruction Manual, toward the end, it'll show the upcoming gyros and hints around at the sensors. This product is still relatively new, but fully open for expansion. I don't think it will take too long for these additional gadgets to hit the market. I'm equipping mine with a bluetooth module and pinhole camera now. We'll see though... The camera requires a 9v supply. Meaning, another battery placed where an additional servo would go in order to pan the "head". The blutooth however, is a must considering my taste for IR.
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Post by limor » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:54 am

Post by limor
Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:54 am

what bluetooth module would you get? any experience with the one at sparkfun.com ?
what bluetooth module would you get? any experience with the one at sparkfun.com ?
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blue tooth and led

Post by vegasmike » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:11 pm

Post by vegasmike
Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:11 pm

Sounds great what you are doing, and like you I kinda hate IR, it has lots of limitation speed being the biggest one. I have the remote working now and its ok, but I am going to drop in an rc receiver, I have one with 30 chanels, and a custom controller, but I am looking for a more autonamus beast. More brains etc. Its a good start however, more fun than spinng wheels and line trackers.
Sounds great what you are doing, and like you I kinda hate IR, it has lots of limitation speed being the biggest one. I have the remote working now and its ok, but I am going to drop in an rc receiver, I have one with 30 chanels, and a custom controller, but I am looking for a more autonamus beast. More brains etc. Its a good start however, more fun than spinng wheels and line trackers.
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Post by bauermech » Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:32 pm

Post by bauermech
Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:32 pm

I chose the BlueSMiRF. Judging from the specs, I should be able to get it to work w/ little trouble. I'm a little concerned about how it's going to effect the operational time i have between battery charges though. I don't know, this will be my rirst attempt using bluetooth, and I'm just jumping on in. We'll see what happens I guess.
I chose the BlueSMiRF. Judging from the specs, I should be able to get it to work w/ little trouble. I'm a little concerned about how it's going to effect the operational time i have between battery charges though. I don't know, this will be my rirst attempt using bluetooth, and I'm just jumping on in. We'll see what happens I guess.
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Post by bauermech » Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:04 am

Post by bauermech
Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:04 am

Hey VegasMike, I found a site for ya. Mark III offers the gyro and ultra-sonic sensor on their site... and looks like they're pretty affordable. I bet that tilt sensor is compatable as well as some other stuff too. Visit http://www.junun.org/MarkIII/Store.jsp#item67 ...I hope it's okay to post that link... sorry if I'm breaking any forum rules. Hey, by the way... does the blue LED on your bot always blink when it's on? I ask because I had to disable the low voltage code to get it to stop, and my remote actually functions correctly now. (see 'Working with my Robonova' topic in this forum for details). Alright, see ya.
Hey VegasMike, I found a site for ya. Mark III offers the gyro and ultra-sonic sensor on their site... and looks like they're pretty affordable. I bet that tilt sensor is compatable as well as some other stuff too. Visit http://www.junun.org/MarkIII/Store.jsp#item67 ...I hope it's okay to post that link... sorry if I'm breaking any forum rules. Hey, by the way... does the blue LED on your bot always blink when it's on? I ask because I had to disable the low voltage code to get it to stop, and my remote actually functions correctly now. (see 'Working with my Robonova' topic in this forum for details). Alright, see ya.
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Can someone post a video of robonona walking a distance

Post by leonard » Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:23 am

Post by leonard
Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:23 am

Hi there

I am interested in purchasing the robonova, but somehow I have not seen it walk at all. Dont know if it is smooth walking or not

So anyone out there having a robonova, pls post a video of robonova walking a short distance. Thank you


Leonard
Hi there

I am interested in purchasing the robonova, but somehow I have not seen it walk at all. Dont know if it is smooth walking or not

So anyone out there having a robonova, pls post a video of robonova walking a short distance. Thank you


Leonard
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Post by vegasmike » Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:38 pm

Post by vegasmike
Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:38 pm

Thanks for the info, I will order the stuff and see if I can make it happen.

Regarding the Blue LED, no it does not blink, its steady, so I dont know whats up with that, sorry.

I have a hitech gyro that I am fiddling with, some response but its for a helicopte, not that this should make any diff but I am working blind I dont have the data sheet on it so its really hunt and peck.

I am still liking the bot but it needs more goodies. Now that Qrio and Aibo are no more, this is really a chance for Hitec to make a move.

As an aside I have purchased a small, six pack size, refrigerator, it actually works, made a base for it and put a battery in the base. Instead of telling the bot to go get me a diet coke, I now tell it to bring me one, its cute, I am trying to make it look, non prototype, might be a good product, a robot that delivers soda, or your beverage of choice, where ever you are.

Mike
Thanks for the info, I will order the stuff and see if I can make it happen.

Regarding the Blue LED, no it does not blink, its steady, so I dont know whats up with that, sorry.

I have a hitech gyro that I am fiddling with, some response but its for a helicopte, not that this should make any diff but I am working blind I dont have the data sheet on it so its really hunt and peck.

I am still liking the bot but it needs more goodies. Now that Qrio and Aibo are no more, this is really a chance for Hitec to make a move.

As an aside I have purchased a small, six pack size, refrigerator, it actually works, made a base for it and put a battery in the base. Instead of telling the bot to go get me a diet coke, I now tell it to bring me one, its cute, I am trying to make it look, non prototype, might be a good product, a robot that delivers soda, or your beverage of choice, where ever you are.

Mike
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Post by bauermech » Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:23 pm

Post by bauermech
Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:23 pm

That'd be cool. I'd like a robo-fridge. Will he be able to plug himself back in once he's returned 'home'?
I visited a couple other forums last night, and read a few other people were having the 'blink problem' too. It sounds like it may be a somewhat common trait. I wonder what the difference between our bots is... I assume it's programming code related, but maybe there is a newer updated version of the controller... hmmmm.
I got my BlueSMiRF in the mail today! I hope I can find time to screw around w/ it this weekend.
The pin-out for the serial cable is as follows:

DB-9 (female) end (as though you were looking into the holes):

5...4...3...2...1
..9...8...7...6

1/8" (male) end (viewed from the side):

............5......2......3
||||||||===-===-==>

I assume 5 is ground, and 2 and 3 are TX and RX; but which is which, I'm not sure yet. I haven't quite gotten that far.
That'd be cool. I'd like a robo-fridge. Will he be able to plug himself back in once he's returned 'home'?
I visited a couple other forums last night, and read a few other people were having the 'blink problem' too. It sounds like it may be a somewhat common trait. I wonder what the difference between our bots is... I assume it's programming code related, but maybe there is a newer updated version of the controller... hmmmm.
I got my BlueSMiRF in the mail today! I hope I can find time to screw around w/ it this weekend.
The pin-out for the serial cable is as follows:

DB-9 (female) end (as though you were looking into the holes):

5...4...3...2...1
..9...8...7...6

1/8" (male) end (viewed from the side):

............5......2......3
||||||||===-===-==>

I assume 5 is ground, and 2 and 3 are TX and RX; but which is which, I'm not sure yet. I haven't quite gotten that far.
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more robonova stuff

Post by vegasmike » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:35 pm

Post by vegasmike
Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:35 pm

Well now I have had the beast for a while, IR working, got a gyro to work so he does not fall in two axis, but he acts a bit odd, could be a timing issue, this basic code is butt slow, going to redo it in C,.

My robo fridge is getting better and better, I purchased a roomba, at a garage sale, lady said it was junk, paid 5 bucks, took it home, cleaned it and put in a new drive motor that was real grungy, it works perfect, it has a home base station, it has a access port, so I am hacking the system, now I can vacum and get a coke, I mounted the fridge on the roomba, its almost jetson like, I am going to add a speech module and make it complain all the time about doing anything.

A robot with attitude, not aggresive just always pissed off. I also want to put a range and motion sensor, the dogs are always sniffing it and I want it to tell things in its way to get out of its way, etc etc. I hate to say it but this robofridge/vacum is more fun than robonova. If I had robonova get a coke, and walk to and from the fridge I would need 10 battery packs and hours waiting.

Off to doing something productive.

Mike
Well now I have had the beast for a while, IR working, got a gyro to work so he does not fall in two axis, but he acts a bit odd, could be a timing issue, this basic code is butt slow, going to redo it in C,.

My robo fridge is getting better and better, I purchased a roomba, at a garage sale, lady said it was junk, paid 5 bucks, took it home, cleaned it and put in a new drive motor that was real grungy, it works perfect, it has a home base station, it has a access port, so I am hacking the system, now I can vacum and get a coke, I mounted the fridge on the roomba, its almost jetson like, I am going to add a speech module and make it complain all the time about doing anything.

A robot with attitude, not aggresive just always pissed off. I also want to put a range and motion sensor, the dogs are always sniffing it and I want it to tell things in its way to get out of its way, etc etc. I hate to say it but this robofridge/vacum is more fun than robonova. If I had robonova get a coke, and walk to and from the fridge I would need 10 battery packs and hours waiting.

Off to doing something productive.

Mike
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