Having a hard time connecting to download the motion/fine...

From RoboBrothers.com (Livermore, CA) came the first sub US$400 humanoid robot kit to appear late 2007
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8 postsPage 1 of 1

Having a hard time connecting to download the motion/fine...

Post by allanonmage » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:57 pm

Post by allanonmage
Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:57 pm

Hi there! I'm new to building motorized robots, so I ordered a RoboPhilo as my fist step into the field. I have experience building and programming things, so I ordered the kit (also to save $100). I like to know how things work and wanted to experiment, so I figured that the kit version would work best for me.

I finally received the 'bot a few weeks ago. I thought I'd have it together in an hour and be playing with the PS2 controller to aggravate my coworkers... man was I wrong. Fast forward a bit, I have the 'bot built, and I have gone through the initial fine tuning steps. I have a motion file to send it but I can't get the software to connect on the configuration page.

I have contacted the distributer that I ordered the bot from (AB Models in CA, CC'ing sales@robobrothers.com), and have been put in touch with someone who is trying to help. He just sent me some new software the other day, including the version that has the PS2 configuration ability, but that does not fix my connection issue (it only manifests on the configuration tab).

Quick rundown:
I can go through the fine tuning steps in the Motion Philo software (which requires a connection to the bot), but when I go to the configuration tab to load the file I created, the software is unable to connect to the bot to send the file, giving me an Engrish error saying it couldn't connect.

I have tried this software with 4 different laptops w/ OS's win2k, winXP PRO 32 bit, windows 7 Pro 32 bit, and a machine that dual boots XP & 7 (pro, 32 bit). Specs range from p3 450mhz - core2 duo 1.2ghz
2 of the machines have built in COM ports, and I have tried a Dynex USB -> serial adapter.

I have uploaded some videos to youtube to try to show the guy what is going on:

# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYsMLbPjq1U
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-nUjSNdFS4
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2qLYfAZ6fY
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O90R7lEdEg4
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_khI-AwgY

The new versions of software have about the same effect, however instead of silently staring at me they seem to be locking up/crashing: in win7 the menu bar says not responding.

Any one got any tips, tricks, or magic they can share? My original thoughts were that it was likely software related, or something I was doing wrong. Now that I have new software, that kind of points to something I am doing wrong. As far as I can tell, I'm following the directions... Is it possible the board is bad? I can fine tune it though, so I am confused.

Just to be clear: I have tried turning the bot on before I try to connect, and after. I have turned it on and waited up to 10 seconds before attempting to connect.
Hi there! I'm new to building motorized robots, so I ordered a RoboPhilo as my fist step into the field. I have experience building and programming things, so I ordered the kit (also to save $100). I like to know how things work and wanted to experiment, so I figured that the kit version would work best for me.

I finally received the 'bot a few weeks ago. I thought I'd have it together in an hour and be playing with the PS2 controller to aggravate my coworkers... man was I wrong. Fast forward a bit, I have the 'bot built, and I have gone through the initial fine tuning steps. I have a motion file to send it but I can't get the software to connect on the configuration page.

I have contacted the distributer that I ordered the bot from (AB Models in CA, CC'ing sales@robobrothers.com), and have been put in touch with someone who is trying to help. He just sent me some new software the other day, including the version that has the PS2 configuration ability, but that does not fix my connection issue (it only manifests on the configuration tab).

Quick rundown:
I can go through the fine tuning steps in the Motion Philo software (which requires a connection to the bot), but when I go to the configuration tab to load the file I created, the software is unable to connect to the bot to send the file, giving me an Engrish error saying it couldn't connect.

I have tried this software with 4 different laptops w/ OS's win2k, winXP PRO 32 bit, windows 7 Pro 32 bit, and a machine that dual boots XP & 7 (pro, 32 bit). Specs range from p3 450mhz - core2 duo 1.2ghz
2 of the machines have built in COM ports, and I have tried a Dynex USB -> serial adapter.

I have uploaded some videos to youtube to try to show the guy what is going on:

# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYsMLbPjq1U
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-nUjSNdFS4
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2qLYfAZ6fY
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O90R7lEdEg4
# http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_khI-AwgY

The new versions of software have about the same effect, however instead of silently staring at me they seem to be locking up/crashing: in win7 the menu bar says not responding.

Any one got any tips, tricks, or magic they can share? My original thoughts were that it was likely software related, or something I was doing wrong. Now that I have new software, that kind of points to something I am doing wrong. As far as I can tell, I'm following the directions... Is it possible the board is bad? I can fine tune it though, so I am confused.

Just to be clear: I have tried turning the bot on before I try to connect, and after. I have turned it on and waited up to 10 seconds before attempting to connect.
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Post by Brown » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:07 am

Post by Brown
Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:07 am

Do other people have a hard time connecting with people?
Do other people have a hard time connecting with people?
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Connecting with robophilo owners everywhere

Post by hugobiwan » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:34 pm

Post by hugobiwan
Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:34 pm

Hello from France.

I just got a second hand robophilo and i hope to share ideas and tips here with you, as i did not find many fresh resources about this bot on the net. It seems very interesting for a robotic beginner like me.

As i successfully played with arduino, robosapien and sensors, i would like to begin the same kind of project with a better robot.

I am waiting for a RS232/USB adaptator this week and just had an USA/France power adaptator today.

Let's share, if you like.

Best regards from France,

@hugobiwan
Hello from France.

I just got a second hand robophilo and i hope to share ideas and tips here with you, as i did not find many fresh resources about this bot on the net. It seems very interesting for a robotic beginner like me.

As i successfully played with arduino, robosapien and sensors, i would like to begin the same kind of project with a better robot.

I am waiting for a RS232/USB adaptator this week and just had an USA/France power adaptator today.

Let's share, if you like.

Best regards from France,

@hugobiwan
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Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:29 pm

@allanonmage

Post by hugobiwan » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:17 pm

Post by hugobiwan
Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:17 pm

After tuning, switch off the philo, choose the first tab, save motion file. Switch on the philo and quickly click "connect" before the servos begin to take the init pose(3 seconds...). Then click connect. A confirmation message appear. Click upload motion file. Then wait for the second confirmation screen. You can uplaod fine tuning the same way.
To switch to pose programming, switch off the phllo, switch it on and wait for the servos to take the init pose. Then click disconnect and program the pose, sequences, keys... Then save conf file, and follow the steps i iexplained tu upload the motion file.
Best regards
@hugobiwan
After tuning, switch off the philo, choose the first tab, save motion file. Switch on the philo and quickly click "connect" before the servos begin to take the init pose(3 seconds...). Then click connect. A confirmation message appear. Click upload motion file. Then wait for the second confirmation screen. You can uplaod fine tuning the same way.
To switch to pose programming, switch off the phllo, switch it on and wait for the servos to take the init pose. Then click disconnect and program the pose, sequences, keys... Then save conf file, and follow the steps i iexplained tu upload the motion file.
Best regards
@hugobiwan
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Post by robobrothers » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:43 pm

Post by robobrothers
Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:43 pm

Hi Allononmage,

As we discuss, you can mail the controller board with tracking to robobrothers. We are happy to check on it and replace the board if necessary.

Robobrothers.[/code][/quote]
Hi Allononmage,

As we discuss, you can mail the controller board with tracking to robobrothers. We are happy to check on it and replace the board if necessary.

Robobrothers.[/code][/quote]
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I sent this letter to/through the BBB, case 57206122

Post by allanonmage » Fri May 04, 2012 2:53 pm

Post by allanonmage
Fri May 04, 2012 2:53 pm

I work for a medium size electronics manufacturing company. *COMPANY NAME* employs ~2500 people globally and does a modest $500 million or so annually. We had a bit of growth this year, so it might be larger than that now. We sell our devices to our dealers who install them for a profit. The cheapest devices we sell typically have an MSRP of over $1000, and we don’t have many different devices that cheap. Most off the devices we sell are MSRP $2000 - $5000; some going all the way up to $20,000. I work in the tech support department, assisting our dealers when they have problems with our gear. When a dealer calls in and has a problem with a new device, we troubleshoot over the phone, and if need be, ship them a new one overnight. We have been known to replace items not even in the warranty period! We have a generous warranty period of 3 years, which can be extended to 5 years under certain circumstances.

Obviously we have repair services and prefer to repair items when we can, but within the piece of equipments’ first year, we typically replace a device as it is good customer service. Many times I have replaced a device that I believed didn’t need to be because of other-than-technical reasons, including the dealer not having faith that they could get the product working. Each RMA has a number and is processed by several departments in HQ; RMA, Shipping, Receiving, Repair (Service), etc… At each stage of the process, the unit is tracked, accounted for, and noted in the system(s). Along with generating an RMA, there is one or more case files (in a CRM software) with detailed descriptions of the problem, attempted solutions, emails, drawings, program code, firmware version and any and all other details related to the case, project, and RMA.

Obviously you probably don’t care much about the company I work for. Obviously, *COMPANY NAME* is more in the high-end/luxury side of its’ market and Robophilo is on the budget side of its’ market. I chose to order from RoboPhilo because it seemed to offer the best value, and the closest competition was 2 – 3x the price. As my first foray into the robotics field, I wanted something that if I screwed it up, I would not be out thousands of dollars.

I ordered a complete kit, an extra battery, and the SDK. Aside from ordering spare parts or multiple kits, this was the complete product that you sold, and I could not order any more product from you. I understand that you will be releasing a gripper soon and have mixed feelings about that: I think it would be a great addition to the ‘bot, but mine is collecting dust, so there’s no point in throwing money away on something that doesn’t function (for me at least).

To accuse me of losing the board or physically damaging it is childlike, unprofessional, and you have no basis for such an accusation. Let me be clear: the board is still attached to the ‘bot, and the whole thing collecting dust in a drawer in my office. It’s been made quite clear that you don’t like me or this situation we find ourselves in. Without an RMA process, including an RMA number, I have to trust that whomever the anonymous person is speaking on behalf of RoboBrothers/Airborne Models (I don’t even know which company they are speaking on behalf of!) can coordinate the receiving of a $120 (not a small sum out of my checking account) piece of merchandise, pass it along to a technical person, the technical person understand the problem & attempt to fix it, he make a decision on what to do with it, and then he executes that decision. That is a long and articulate chain of events and asking for blind trust in such without a dedicated process or even a name of whom I am talking to is unprofessional and prone to failure; hence my concern for the board (a small, easily misplaced, part) to be “lost” somewhere in that process. If I was local to the shop, I would happily drive up to the store and see what we could work out both looking at the ‘bot. I have suggested several times to schedule a session with Philip Chan where he could view/take control of my PC to assist the troubleshooting process. He has ignored all such requests.

Due to our language and cultural barriers, I do not believe blindly sending the board back will result in any amount of success for me, so I want you to send me a new board, and I will send the old one back. At this point, your unwillingness to send a replacement board is beyond reason and makes no sense; technical- or business-.
I work for a medium size electronics manufacturing company. *COMPANY NAME* employs ~2500 people globally and does a modest $500 million or so annually. We had a bit of growth this year, so it might be larger than that now. We sell our devices to our dealers who install them for a profit. The cheapest devices we sell typically have an MSRP of over $1000, and we don’t have many different devices that cheap. Most off the devices we sell are MSRP $2000 - $5000; some going all the way up to $20,000. I work in the tech support department, assisting our dealers when they have problems with our gear. When a dealer calls in and has a problem with a new device, we troubleshoot over the phone, and if need be, ship them a new one overnight. We have been known to replace items not even in the warranty period! We have a generous warranty period of 3 years, which can be extended to 5 years under certain circumstances.

Obviously we have repair services and prefer to repair items when we can, but within the piece of equipments’ first year, we typically replace a device as it is good customer service. Many times I have replaced a device that I believed didn’t need to be because of other-than-technical reasons, including the dealer not having faith that they could get the product working. Each RMA has a number and is processed by several departments in HQ; RMA, Shipping, Receiving, Repair (Service), etc… At each stage of the process, the unit is tracked, accounted for, and noted in the system(s). Along with generating an RMA, there is one or more case files (in a CRM software) with detailed descriptions of the problem, attempted solutions, emails, drawings, program code, firmware version and any and all other details related to the case, project, and RMA.

Obviously you probably don’t care much about the company I work for. Obviously, *COMPANY NAME* is more in the high-end/luxury side of its’ market and Robophilo is on the budget side of its’ market. I chose to order from RoboPhilo because it seemed to offer the best value, and the closest competition was 2 – 3x the price. As my first foray into the robotics field, I wanted something that if I screwed it up, I would not be out thousands of dollars.

I ordered a complete kit, an extra battery, and the SDK. Aside from ordering spare parts or multiple kits, this was the complete product that you sold, and I could not order any more product from you. I understand that you will be releasing a gripper soon and have mixed feelings about that: I think it would be a great addition to the ‘bot, but mine is collecting dust, so there’s no point in throwing money away on something that doesn’t function (for me at least).

To accuse me of losing the board or physically damaging it is childlike, unprofessional, and you have no basis for such an accusation. Let me be clear: the board is still attached to the ‘bot, and the whole thing collecting dust in a drawer in my office. It’s been made quite clear that you don’t like me or this situation we find ourselves in. Without an RMA process, including an RMA number, I have to trust that whomever the anonymous person is speaking on behalf of RoboBrothers/Airborne Models (I don’t even know which company they are speaking on behalf of!) can coordinate the receiving of a $120 (not a small sum out of my checking account) piece of merchandise, pass it along to a technical person, the technical person understand the problem & attempt to fix it, he make a decision on what to do with it, and then he executes that decision. That is a long and articulate chain of events and asking for blind trust in such without a dedicated process or even a name of whom I am talking to is unprofessional and prone to failure; hence my concern for the board (a small, easily misplaced, part) to be “lost” somewhere in that process. If I was local to the shop, I would happily drive up to the store and see what we could work out both looking at the ‘bot. I have suggested several times to schedule a session with Philip Chan where he could view/take control of my PC to assist the troubleshooting process. He has ignored all such requests.

Due to our language and cultural barriers, I do not believe blindly sending the board back will result in any amount of success for me, so I want you to send me a new board, and I will send the old one back. At this point, your unwillingness to send a replacement board is beyond reason and makes no sense; technical- or business-.
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Post by allanonmage » Fri May 04, 2012 3:06 pm

Post by allanonmage
Fri May 04, 2012 3:06 pm

It's now been almost a year with no progress made on my case.

I created a video rant on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbITRS6q94E


I purchased a Robophilo kit version about a year ago. There are a few steps in getting the kit to completion:
1. Physically assemble the robot.
2. Coarse tune the servos (by eyeballing & adjusting the joints).
3. Fine tune the servos via software
4. Load the config file created in step #4
5. Route wires, add armor/covers, add battery compartment
6. Ready to go
7. Add rf controller
8. Mess around with SDK, develop custom hardware and/or software

I'm currently stuck at step 4. For whatever reason, the mechanism to send the file involves interrupting the normal boot order and I'm not able to successfully interrupt the normal boot order and put it into the appropriate mode to be ready to receive the file. Direct control of the servos does work though, that's how I was able to fine tune it.

I've been in contact with Robophilo/RoboBrothers/Airborne Models in an attempt to get technical support, and they have not been successful in helping me getting this 'bot going. I was in contact with them within 2 weeks of receiving the 'bot. Since this appeared to be an out of box failure, I requested an advance replacement of the board. They have staunchly refused, insisting that I send it somewhere for them to evaluate it and repair/replace at their option.

I'm not keen on that idea for several reasons:
1. We are having communications issues, never mind the language barrier.
2. They promised me a $20 discount for ordering the whole caboodle: robot kit, extra battery, RF controller, and SDK. They have not delivered on that promise.
3. They want me to send a $120 board somewhere so some random person (or THE engineer, I'm not sure which) can take a look, and at his discretion repair/replace the board. Their "repair" would consist of sending new firmware, something they have thus far not delivered to me so that I could try it here. I've asked several times for the firmware.
4. They have not issued any kind of an RA/RMA number to track the board once it is received. I am concerned that the board will be lost or misplaced and I will wind up having to purchase a new board because they "can't find it". Any time I mention this, they start talking about tracking info from the shipping company prevents a package from being lost.
5. I've been asking for a year for a replacement board.
6. A UK robot shop agrees that the manufacturer should send out a new board in this case, since there were problems from the get-go. (I asked them for guidance or help: they were kind enough to email Robophilo on my behalf).
7. Since I've been having this problem for so long, they might try to pull some kind of a charge once I send the unit it.
8. Related - The batteries I purchased a year ago are likely dead after not being used for almost a year. I'll probably have to fabricate or purchase new ones. That's like salt on a wound at this point.

I've contacted ROBOT and Servo magazines' editors; they didn't seem all that interested in helping me work through this. A writer from ROBOT was doing a special on the Robophilo and promised some help, but when I read the article, there were blatant lies in it (for example none of the software is open source), and I never heard form him again.

I have filed a complaint with the BBB. That hasn't amounted to much either; the same back and forth. I think it's listed as "customer does not accept resolution". I've called a case worker, I think I have to call her again to get her on the phone.

I don't understand the reluctance to send a new board. At this point, the bad publicity and time spent dealing with me has overshadowed the cost of the board. I have contemplated purchasing a new board on my own, but then I might wind up with another dud.

This was my first foray into the robotics field. I've wanted to get into robotics since I was a little kid. My second project was an R/C lawnmower. It's up and running and I'm designing new safety systems for it. Once the safety systems are up and running, I'll be creating a mobile phone app to control is with my phone instead of by RF. My point isn't to gloat but to show I'm not a n00b looking for haxors with the kit.

I just want a new board. I don't understand why RoboBrothers doesn't stand behind their product. I don't understand this customer "service".
It's now been almost a year with no progress made on my case.

I created a video rant on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbITRS6q94E


I purchased a Robophilo kit version about a year ago. There are a few steps in getting the kit to completion:
1. Physically assemble the robot.
2. Coarse tune the servos (by eyeballing & adjusting the joints).
3. Fine tune the servos via software
4. Load the config file created in step #4
5. Route wires, add armor/covers, add battery compartment
6. Ready to go
7. Add rf controller
8. Mess around with SDK, develop custom hardware and/or software

I'm currently stuck at step 4. For whatever reason, the mechanism to send the file involves interrupting the normal boot order and I'm not able to successfully interrupt the normal boot order and put it into the appropriate mode to be ready to receive the file. Direct control of the servos does work though, that's how I was able to fine tune it.

I've been in contact with Robophilo/RoboBrothers/Airborne Models in an attempt to get technical support, and they have not been successful in helping me getting this 'bot going. I was in contact with them within 2 weeks of receiving the 'bot. Since this appeared to be an out of box failure, I requested an advance replacement of the board. They have staunchly refused, insisting that I send it somewhere for them to evaluate it and repair/replace at their option.

I'm not keen on that idea for several reasons:
1. We are having communications issues, never mind the language barrier.
2. They promised me a $20 discount for ordering the whole caboodle: robot kit, extra battery, RF controller, and SDK. They have not delivered on that promise.
3. They want me to send a $120 board somewhere so some random person (or THE engineer, I'm not sure which) can take a look, and at his discretion repair/replace the board. Their "repair" would consist of sending new firmware, something they have thus far not delivered to me so that I could try it here. I've asked several times for the firmware.
4. They have not issued any kind of an RA/RMA number to track the board once it is received. I am concerned that the board will be lost or misplaced and I will wind up having to purchase a new board because they "can't find it". Any time I mention this, they start talking about tracking info from the shipping company prevents a package from being lost.
5. I've been asking for a year for a replacement board.
6. A UK robot shop agrees that the manufacturer should send out a new board in this case, since there were problems from the get-go. (I asked them for guidance or help: they were kind enough to email Robophilo on my behalf).
7. Since I've been having this problem for so long, they might try to pull some kind of a charge once I send the unit it.
8. Related - The batteries I purchased a year ago are likely dead after not being used for almost a year. I'll probably have to fabricate or purchase new ones. That's like salt on a wound at this point.

I've contacted ROBOT and Servo magazines' editors; they didn't seem all that interested in helping me work through this. A writer from ROBOT was doing a special on the Robophilo and promised some help, but when I read the article, there were blatant lies in it (for example none of the software is open source), and I never heard form him again.

I have filed a complaint with the BBB. That hasn't amounted to much either; the same back and forth. I think it's listed as "customer does not accept resolution". I've called a case worker, I think I have to call her again to get her on the phone.

I don't understand the reluctance to send a new board. At this point, the bad publicity and time spent dealing with me has overshadowed the cost of the board. I have contemplated purchasing a new board on my own, but then I might wind up with another dud.

This was my first foray into the robotics field. I've wanted to get into robotics since I was a little kid. My second project was an R/C lawnmower. It's up and running and I'm designing new safety systems for it. Once the safety systems are up and running, I'll be creating a mobile phone app to control is with my phone instead of by RF. My point isn't to gloat but to show I'm not a n00b looking for haxors with the kit.

I just want a new board. I don't understand why RoboBrothers doesn't stand behind their product. I don't understand this customer "service".
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Post by allanonmage » Fri May 04, 2012 3:53 pm

Post by allanonmage
Fri May 04, 2012 3:53 pm

I came across this page:
http://buildsmartrobots.ning.com/pro...ed-building-my

It seems that he had some trouble with the board as well, but eventually circumnavigated the problem by using a Lynxmotion SSC-32 (http://www.lynxmotion.com/p-395-ssc-...ontroller.aspx) via http://buildsmartrobots.ning.com/pro...lo-build-day-3 . I don't know enough to know if that is programmable though, or a good fit for me.
I came across this page:
http://buildsmartrobots.ning.com/pro...ed-building-my

It seems that he had some trouble with the board as well, but eventually circumnavigated the problem by using a Lynxmotion SSC-32 (http://www.lynxmotion.com/p-395-ssc-...ontroller.aspx) via http://buildsmartrobots.ning.com/pro...lo-build-day-3 . I don't know enough to know if that is programmable though, or a good fit for me.
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