I'm Jay from the UK and have a few questions!
I've been into electronics, Arduino and robots for years. My last robot was the Wowwee Rovio ..... great as it could be controlled over the web and it had vid, but it's no longer supported and after fixing it many times over the years, it has now died ! Unfortunately there isn't a replacement off the shelf robot that does video streaming over the net.
Over the last 6 months I've built a 3D printer and thought well why don't I just build my own? I could program an Arduino and print the robot parts ... maybe buy some other parts that I need to too.
My biggest thing is that I need to be able to connect wirelessy over the net and get video too.
Although I could program servos etc easily from an Arduino, it does present the problem of how I build an interface on a PC or iPhone. I'm really good with electronics, but haven't done PC or iPhone software before.
I surfed the net for ages to find out whether there were any apps or software that would interface with an Arduino, and found one that worked with the WiFly board which could connect to the Arduino. The trouble is, although there is an off the shelf app by Axemblo
Click Here , and it shows an IP camera, and can control a robot (forward backwards etc), I don't think it is easily (if at all) customizable in case I want to add extra buttons etc. I ordered the WiFly board (Roving Networks / Sparkfun RN-XV) so I could have a play and see if I can get it controlling a Mega 2560 I have,
Then I found this site !
Ok so my questions ....
Does the software only work with the EZ-B (I'm guessing it works on bluetooth?). I really do want to use wifi due to range considerations.
What language does the EZ-B use? I'm used to Arduino, but be handy if I don't have to learn a completely new language.
Can the EZ-B use the WiFly that I have just bought (I have no problem buying the EZ-B as it sounds like a great piece of kit). I just don;t want to buy it and then find that I have to do incredibly difficult programing to build some sort of interface / converter.
Sorry if it's loads of questions, but this sounds sooooooo exciting and it seems just what I need!
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EZ-B V4 (currently in pre-order, hopefully shipping will start after the Chinese new year) is WiFi.
The EZ-B can be controlled via ARC (Windows GUI), ARC Mobile (Android only currently and in very early stages) and the EZ-SDK (SDK for C# etc.). To be honest, ARC is the easiest option, the controls are simple but it also has scripting for more complex functions. Start with ARC (download it now, it's free), have a play, see how you get on, ask if you have questions we will answer.
The EZ-B and ARC are stupidly easy to use. As I said, download ARC, add some controls, look at the options, if you can't figure something out just look in the Learn section of the site or ask here and someone will answer. Your biggest problem is going to be funding the hobby, you will end up wanting a whole robot army
Oh, and welcome to the community. It's always nice to see someone else from the UK join up (there are a few of us around). Where in the UK are you?
Thanks for the replies ..... I'm from just outside Taunton in Somerset.
EZ-B V3 uses Bluetooth, EZ-B V4 uses wifi.
The Ez-b can be used wit vb, c++, and c#. ARC is the ez-b software that I use. Its easy and you learn a lot from it. It also has it's own simple code you can code with. I'd recommend using it first.
Using the wifly is possible, though it might take some time. How better to learn ez-script! Although, the v4 has wifi so it wouldnt be necessary.
Welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy the ez-robot experience!
Just realised, the IOS / iPhone app isn't available at the moment *stress* , has anyone got any idea when it will be available? Looks like the V4 board isn't available either for another couple of months either ?(then shipping to the UK). Argh ..... patience never was my strong point LOL.
Have had a look around the software and it looks really good so far. I was hoping that there would be more 3D files, but it doesn't look like there's many at all.
Shipping to the UK isn't long though. Both of my V3 orders arrived within a week which surprised me. Be aware there may be duty and tax to pay on them though (mine was about £20 on each).
More 3D files will be coming but EZ-Robots have been busy. The 3D stuff and the revolution is still pretty new. It's been all go with getting the new V4 boards sorted. Once everything is in place I am sure we will see more 3D stuff from EZ-Robots. There is info available on the EZ-Clip system so you could always make your own bits and share them with the community
This is cool I do love the eyes and head - not sure what these are done with (small lcd screens?).
If I am to wait a couple of months for the electronics, I guess I could start on the body design and printing etc. I was originally thinking that whatever design, that I would use 360 degree servos for the drive rather than motors. Does this sound like a good plan or should I be going down the geared motor route? I just hope that if I commit to this platform, that the IOS interface does come to fruition as it would be a deal breaker for me.
Feel free to steer me and give me suggestions ! I guess if I'm building before I get the electronics, then it's going to need accurate dimensions for everything to make sure it all fits !
If your building a robot that you want some speed to go with, geared motors are the way to go. if you want high torque, the same goes.
As for dimensions, the EZ-B dimensions are on the shop page for it, you can use these and build the robot around it.
As for the iOS app, it's being worked on. You will need the windows version of ARC in order to set up the project and save it to the cloud though.
I have the windows version so can save to the cloud when needed. I don't think I need any kind of mega speed to be honest, it's for indoor use only (restricted to the ground floor the same as Rovio due to stairs - unless anyone has designs for a stair climber which would be wicked lol). We have a cat so not looking to drive at fast speeds lol. I have to set the roombas to clean at different times of the day so she always can have a floor without a robot upsetting her all important and busy life of sleep hehe!
Oh there is one thing probably worth asking - my rovio was perfect because it could return back to its charging base when it foot low on power. I don't expect the robot to navigate back on its own, but how does everyone that uses the robots for remote web use keep their robots charged up? I have been thinking about how to get around the problem and have so far come up with four options:
1) have a socket on the robot and a charge dock with a 1/4" mono audio jack .... Using the camera, u drive onto the jack impaling it in the robots chest (sounds brutal but thought it was the best words to describe lol) - kind of taken from the idea of the remote refuelling mid air of jets - you could even have the socket have a guide channel to locate the plug easier.
2) have a socket on the robot and a large power jack plug that the robot grips. Provided it was correctly gripped you could program the robot to do the pluging action into the socket?
3) place a contact inside of the robots two "hands" - when the two hands grip two charge contacts on the base station, charge passes through hands up cables in arms and on to the battery ?
4) the contacts are below the body of the robot (like rovio) and it drives onto charge contacts
Just a few thoughts, but would love to hear what other people do. I used the robot to keep an eye on the cat and house when away for a few days. She has a robotic food machine that talks to her when it's feeding time so she's happy on her own for a night - but I want to be able to check in on her and would need to get the robot charged remotely.
I wish there were 3D printed parts that I could start on so that I had something to do during the wait !
If I order now is it really 5-7 weeks or would that have reduced now and could it actually closer to completion than the site says? I did say these were daft questions ! It;s just I'm so tempted to order today, but needed to know.
Some of us have been waiting since September, the pre-orders wee a huge hit and the plant making everything couldn't manage the quantity, EZ-Robots had to fly to China on a days notice to find another manufacturer. The whole story is on the forum somewhere.
But put basically, it's a pre-order, they have been delays, there is a huge backlog of orders to sort out hence the long lead times.
I have decided I am definitely going down the EZ Robot route thanks to the advice that you have all given. To be honest the other route I was looking at (Axemblo) sounded really good before, (hence why I bought a Wifly this week), but the promise of a customisable app for IOS and one other important thing has been the decider. That this was the fact that there is this forum whereas on the other site there is no forum and nowhere you can even ask people anything. Forums are ace and it that that has made the final choice.
Now .... My final decision, do I design and build a robot whilst I wait for the V4 to become available, or do I order a complete kit and sit it out? Given that I really need to engineer a charging dock etc I am thinking a custom may be the way to go ..... unless anyone has any ideas on how I could remotely charge one of the Revolution bots?
and thank you all for all your help .... you're legends!
If that's the case, then the electronics that go in the head (camera etc) will that be available as I'm guessing its not the same as the one that's in the shop?
Everything will be available in the shop so you don't need to buy the full robot, the developers kit should do and I expect everything else is available separately too.
Also, I would be happy to order the servos if they had been available now so I could get the robot looking ready for the electronics when they get sent, but the delay and import tax and duties for them make the servos crazy price by the time they get to the uk. The tax alone is the same price as buying them over here. I take it I could use standard Tower Pro 995 servos for the heavy duty ones and but it also uses micro/mini servos? From my count, it looks like 10 heavy duty servos and 4 mini servos .... but the website says there are 16 heavy duty servos in total and no mention of mini ones ... I take it that that's a typo?
Thanks again .... almost ready to place my order once I get this last bit of help so thankyou.
I'm using a RepRapPro Mono Mendel. I've not done loads of printing with it - have two heads set up on it - one 0.3 and one 0.5. I tried the 0.3 head and it was taking years and TBH the support material started drifting allover the place, so have just switched over to the 0.5 head. That seems to be printing really nice so far.
I'm printing the front of the head in PLA at the moment!
ps provided it comes out ok I will try and upload a pic later if I can.
Would you mind posting the print time along with that pic? Thanks.
Just to say thanks for the help everyone has given me .... I have placed my first order with EZ !
Once again thanks for the great advice,
Edit: Maybe not... It's on one of my other PCs, I'll post it when I can. I'm sure I've posted it in the past though as a zip file somewhere if you fancy searching and digging around.
Another edit: It is on this PC too... here you go
Thanks Rich ! Just ordered a load of PLA from Faberdashery so I can get back on with printing JD !
How's it going ? Yep jay is my name lol (the keys part isn't anything dark lol) ....an ex pro keyboard player hence the weird keys ending lol.