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Been Out Of The Loop For Years, Have Questions

I've been out of the EZ Robot loop for several years.  Recently, someone followed up on a forum post I made, and it reminded me that I still have one of these things.  It seems that a few things have changed, so I have some questions to get up to speed.

1. It looks like the new Synthiam isn't a brand change, but an addition to the business or something, because EZ Robot is still a website.  DJ Sures changed his YouTube channel from EZ Robot to Synthiam.  It seems that there's more to Synthiam than just EZ Robot now.  Is there a blog post explaining this anywhere?  What happened?

2. I have an original generation EZBv4.  Is this upgradeable to the new one?  Do I need one of these, or a whole new controller? https://www.ez-robot.com/Shop/AccessoriesDetails.aspx?prevCat=9&productNumber=51

3. Does the EZ robot software let you use a custom robot yet?  Waaaay back in the day, I wanted to use the EZ Robot controller with a RoboPhilo and could never get anywhere with the software.  There was no option to add servos or build anything besides the EZRobot robots.  I watched all the tutorial videos at the time, which meant that I watched more than what was available (it was a bug where someone coding the website counted off by 1), but none of them had anything to do with using custom robots.  I'm not sure how other people at the time were DIY'ing other stuff with an EZBv4, but I couldn't get it to work.  When I asked for help, I was told to watch the tutorials, which had nothing to do with what I was trying to do.

A while back, I got an email from EZ robot, and on a whim I replied to it.  The guy was nice but had no idea how to do what I wanted to do (See above paragraph) and suggested that I read some of the new tutorials.

Related Hardware EZ-B v4


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1).  There is an introductory post somewhere, but the gist of it as I understand it is that DJ sold EZ-Robot's hardware business to an eduction company, which is where most of the sales were and spun off Synthiam as a software company that also publishes hardware reference specifications for other companies either EZ-Robot or others, to make.  I don't know what the business model is to monetize Synthiam.  I assume EZ-Robot and other commercial users pay a license, but otherwise it is free.  The exciting part of this for hobby users is that Synthiam publishes firmware that can turn other controllers like Arduino and Raspberry Pi into EZ-B's.

2) Yes, you can upgrade with the board you linked to the latest version,  It solves the original issue whose post surfaced this week, and fixes other bugs, adds new features, makes the board faster, and can firmware upgradable over WiFi which the original board could not.  Worth the $29 (although to make the shipping worth it you may want to buy some servos or batteries or other parts).

3) ARC has always supported any robot that uses standard servos, virtually and H-Bridge and numerous analog devices.  Since you have been hanging around here EZ-Robot began selling an HD servo that is designed to run on LiPo 7.4 batteries without a voltage regulator, are very strong and quiet, but through plugins, ARC also supports 2-way serial servos like Dynamixels and many other devices.  The plugin architecture is published so if you find a device that isn't supported, but you know C#, you can create your own interface.  To control Robophilo, you would either need to replace the controller with an EZ-B or supported device (might fit an arduino better) or get some kind of PC driven IR blaster and write a plugin to send the IR codes.  I had never looked at Robophilo before, but it looks like they do publish an SDK so you might have other integration options available as well.
#3   — Edited
If you have ezrobot product or website related questions, ask on their website. Software details are here:)