Welcome to Synthiam!

Program robots using technologies created from industry experts. EZ-Builder is our free-to-use robot programming software that makes features like vision recognition, navigation and artificial intelligence easy.
Get Started

Asked

It's Not Just Me; Went To A Makerspace And Even The Latest Issue Of Servo Can't

It's not just me; went to a makerspace and even the latest issue of servo can't figure out the EZ Robot software.

I bought my EZBv4 when it was brand spanking new in 2014 and mated it to a RoboPhilo.  Couldn't figure out how to program it the way I wanted.  Posted on the forum and got defensive deflections telling me to RTFM N00B.  I got 110% certified (website could not count correctly), but still had no idea how to program the thing.

One of my old threads got necrolized and reminded me I had a $500 robot and a $100ish controller collecting dust.

I took the setup to a local makerspace, downloaded the latest version of EZBuilder, and out of the 3 of us, we could not figure out what was wrong or how it was supposed to be programmed.

This month's servo magazine has an article about the EZBv4, and the opening jist is that the software doesn't do what he wants, so he programs in something else and makes a direct connection to the board, also saying that the software was kludgy and gimmicky.



Now that you're up to speed, I think I might have a defective board, and I still don't know how to make the software work.


While at the makerspace, we found inconsistent behavior when testing servos.  Sample programs did not affect the servos.  The button on the webpage to put all servos to 90 degrees sometimes worked, and sometimes the servos went limp right after moving.

Both of the other guys there recommended that I buy a new board because the software was too confusing.






BTW the search function of the website can't find any of my old posts, but DDG can: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=synthiam+allanonmage&ia=web


Related Hardware EZ-Robot EZ-B v4
Related Controls Vertical Servo Horizontal Servo
#22  
@allanonmage,  Where are you located?   Although from reading through this I am convinced that your primary issues are related to power (it is always the amps, not the volts - and a wall wart power supply never has enough amps), if you are near another EZ-B user, we could quickly rule out hardware by bringing one of our EZ-B's to you or a good meeting place.   

I personally am in the Maryland suburbs of DC, but I can travel for free on Amtrak anywhere in the Northeast, and would be happy to arrange something (although finding an opening on my calendar can be difficult).

Alan
#23   — Edited
User-inserted image
User-inserted image
User-inserted image


@thetechguru
I'm north of Atlanta in the metro area.  Complete opposite direction of the NE lol


The power supply is adjustable from 6 - 24V, and supports 3A/35W max.  It's a RadioShack 273-1685, which The Internets seem to have forgotten.  Seems strange that a 6v 3A power supply can't power the EZB and a single servo.  The little battery packs that came with the RoboPhilo are the cut down AAA cells in a 5 pack to get 6V, and have ~600mAh (as a pack) IIRC.  There's no way they can sustain much more than 3A.

I'll probably order that PSU DJ Shures recommended since it's like $20-$30

What about using the 5V rail from a PC power supply?  That can usually source 20A - 50A depending.

I used it to power up a yard sale find, which is why it's on 9V in the picture.  I scored a Win CE tablet thingey for $10, but that's another problem for another forum.
Synthiam
#24  
Lol! @allanonmage I was thinking about that this morning and was going to suggest that exact solution.

Yes, you can use an ATX power supply to power robots, the 5V 20A+ rail is more than sufficient.

The radio shack supply should definitely be able to power up the EZ-B and a few servos, unless it is faulty. 

Did you have a chance to change your battery monitor voltage?
#25   — Edited
@allanonmage  It looks like the power supply is set to 9 volts....keep in mind that voltage would probably damage your servos in the robophilo, but I think from your comments you know that, I just wanted to remind you.

You keep mentioning the wattage on the power supply, but look at the amps, its 3amps max.  Back in the day I used to work for Radio Shack, many years ago, and I purchased many Radio Shack power supplies like that one, not that one specifically, but similar to it with my employee discount and the only thing I would say about them is if you connect a meter up to them you'll probably find like I did that their power output fluctuations widely.   And back in the day, I found I could never rely on them to power my Basic Stamp micro controller projects.  Even to control LED circuits, I could not rely on them.  So back in the day I either used a bunch of batteries or eventual I built my own homebrew power supply. 

The power supply you have looks like it was meant as a universal laptop power supply replacement maybe with a bunch of different end connectors you can swap out, so it's probably good for that but perhaps not good for robotics.

I'm not sure what you purchased years ago from EZ-Robot if you just purchased a standalone EZ-Bv4 controller or an Experimenters kit, but if you got the DC adapter that came with it, then you might have also got the 6 AA battery pack holder.  That 6AA battery pack holder would provide 9 volts to power your EZ-Bv4 but again too much power for your robophilo servos which need around 5/6 volts.   If you have a 4 AA battery pack holder you could connect that to the EZ-Bv4 to provide 6volts and power your servos, if you lower that voltage settings as mentioned before.
Synthiam
#26  
If you had that power adapter set for 6 volts and the speaker was disconnected, the battery monitor would activate and that’s why the servos won’t move (as jeremie mentioned earlier). Deactivate the battery monitor and try again with that adapter. Since it’s a switching supply at 3 amps, it might work for a few servos. Although those robophilo servos draw a TON of current. They’re real cheap (sorry) servos and not efficient at all. But, with adequate power you’ll be fine:)

I do recommend hooking up a speaker for notifications like the battery monitor. And... who doesn’t like a robot that speaks:) or dances to music. A speaker on the ezb makes it way cooler!