Hi all! I've been lurking here for awhile; I've got two EZ-B 4's on order, and I'm gearing up to implement them on my own B9 robot project (kudos to Dave S. who is currently setting the standard on the B9 Builders Club board!).
As I sit here planning, I realize I have some significant gaps in my knowledge - partly because it's been a *long* time since I've delved into electronics, and partly because the technology has advanced at an amazing rate.
What I have going for me: I know my way around a computer (I'm a web designer/developer/graphic artist by trade) and I'm not afraid to lean new tricks. I can follow written instructions well, and I can grasp concepts quickly
What I have going against me: I don't know a ADC from an H-Bridge from a UART, when a servo is better than a stepper motor (and a plain motor is better than a stepper) and a big, heaping bucket of other robotic practices.
Building a B9 is an interesting blend of old vs. new: we're animating something that weighs hundreds of *pounds*, not grams. I have an idea how to make his arm move, but the claws and wrist alone are over two pounds each. So motors are probably the best choice. But how to make the EZ-B communicate?
Yes, you can make B9's radar unit or torso move back and forth using a simple motor/drive wheel. What's the advantage to using a Kangaroo/Sabertooth? (and *which* combination of those products?)
What I need: a source that can outline/explain good practices in building (how to choose the best components to use), a source that can explain how A works with B to make it do what you want, and a source that can help me understand the "inner workings" (all without making my head explode!).
I don't expect (or want) to be spoon fed; I like doing research - all I need is a signpost (and I'm about to enter The Twilight Zone...)
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There are a few useful books, although they currently all lean towards Arduino control, which is very limiting when compared to an EZ-B, but you can learn some of the finer points of motor control and construction techniques from them. I can recommend this one http://www.makershed.com/Make_an_Arduino_Controlled_Robot_p/9781449344375-p.htm that a friend bought me.
Go to Explore, then to Videos, page 2 starts with specifics about EZB4 like Wi-Fi tutorial, Power, Overveiw, and even the EZB3 tutorials show basic ARC instructions. The older vids show great detail about cool features like AutoPosition and more.
I remember when I discovered EZ Robot, I was overwhelmed.
I learned from trying ideas firsthand and reading posts. Best ideas are determined by you.
The help features built in ARC ? are also great.
Also reading all you can find about Daves B9 and Bretts mini might be very informative.
There are so many great people here to help!
Welcome and happy building,
Sorry I'm late to this party. Busy, busy, busy.
Thanks for the kind mention of my work. I'm so glad you found your way over to this forum. You'll find lots of help here from many great people.
As you are awear B9 is a huge undertaking and spans years but never seems to get done. It seems that I've had to either rebuild, reenergeneer or upgread everything I've done at least 3 times. Dont let a lack of knowedge get you down. Most of us here are learning and are helping each other along. Thank goodness there are some among us that have a very sharp brain and willing to share and help. There is no way I could have had as much success with my B9 as I have had so far without their help. I very seldom see a post go unanswered or even unresolved. Looks like you've already gotten some great advice. Now, read through the forum posts, watch as many videos as possable, read all you can in the learning sections.
As far as how the EZB works and runs your B9 it should quickly be answered by looking through this website. In short, your laptop does all the computing with ARC residing there. The V4 EZB board sits in your robot and youoo can connect up to 5 EZB's to one running copy of ARC over WiFi. I've ended up useing two of them, one in the torso and one in the leg section. I wanted to keep the wires going from section to section to a min. When I had the V3's installed I had one up in the bubble also but when I upgraded I had to leave that one out as the V4 is just too tall to fit. I''m ending up runnnng servo cables down the neck into the torso.
*tired* This should be OK though as I only need three signal wires and a ground to do what I need.
You mentioned the Sabertooth and Kangaroo. I've been working on installing two sets of these into my B9. The one in ght leg section controls the hip and waist motors and the one in the neck controls the radar. At first it was a real learning curve and I had doubts I was going to be able to pull it off. However once I got it working and started understanding it I'm very happy I used them. Once you understand how to use them and have them installed and set up properly they are really very easy to operate and control the motors with. As a pair they run very smoothly and have loads of power. There is vertually no way to burn them out unless you wire them up backwards. Alone the Sabertooth is great for moveing a DC motor forward and reverse at different speeds with a RC controller or microcontroller like EZB. However it's not very good at knowing where to stop. When you add the Kangaroo x2 this adds the ability to add postion control so you can not only move your motors at different speeds but can stop them exactly where you want to. You will need to have a feedback device like a pot or encoader attached to your motor shaft and feeding postion and speed info back to the Kangaroo though. Even better for you is that a few of us here have already done most of the hard work for you if you decide to go this route. There are some that use the sabertooth alone and a few of us that are successfully useing them with the Kangaroo. Toymaker (Tony) has one and is working on a code that will allow it to use speed ramping in postion mode and will share it when he gets it written. The company that makes the Sabertooth / Kangaroo also says it's in the process of adding ramping to postion mode so that will make thinngs much simpler. I really feel that this is the way to go with the bigger robots. The Kangaroo takes a lot of load off the EZB like watching ADC ports that could really slow down prformamce.
In short, if you have any questions please ask. I'll try to help with anything that will help fit EZB into your B9 if I can. Just ask.