Giving A Meccano G15 Ks An Ez Makeover

tezsmith

United Kingdom
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Hi there, my name is Tez, I have just completed EZ-Robotifying my G15 KS. Not a technical term but sounds good anyway. All the servos are now EZ and are controlled by the EZ-B v4 controller. The motors that allow the G15 KS to move around are now powered separately by a Sabertooth 2x12 which in turn is also controlled by the EZ-B v4 controller. A camera is present a shown in the images below. In addition to the camera is a Sharp HC-SR04 that is being used to help the ex-meccanoid now know as Jeeves to avoid objects. The meccabrain still remains within the frame as it may be useful later on in drone mode. I am awaiting my EZ grippers to replace the original plastic static hands. I also have a Revolution JD. Kitted out in a similar fashion to Jeeves (ex-meccanoid). Both robots are being used in conjunction with Emotiv EEG headsets. As my aim is to control them using just thought. I can get both robots to carry out actions by facial movements and eye blinking and winking. Pure thought is proving to be a bit difficult. If it was easy it probably wouldn't be worth while. I hope that the images below will show clearly what I have done so far. There is a long way to go yet.

This is Jeeves.

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This close up shows my modifications to install a camera and distance sensor. I have also changed the arrangement of the neck and head servos to allow Jeeves to nod vertically for yes and horizontally for no.

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Here is a rear view showing the EZ controller and connections and the bracket holding the Meccano battery and the Sabertooth 2x12. The meccano battery means the motors have a separate power supply.

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A close up of the battery and Sabertooth 2x12.

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A close up of the EZ controller and head and neck servo arrangement.

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I have also changed the rear wheel castors for for metal ball bearing castors. These give less resistance than the plastic ones from meccanno

Finally, the best little robot a programmer like myself could own. My Revolution JD.

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This is the first time I have used the forum. I hope I have used your forum correctly.

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United Kingdom
#1  

In my eagerness to get my work onto the forum. I have noticed some typing errors in the first block of text. I apologise.

PRO
Synthiam
#2  

Oh this is great! We have seen a few people attempt the swap - but no one (to my knowledge) had done it yet. I believe someone had changed servos, but haven't seen an ezb connected. Also, the placement of the camera is great and fits very well in that location.

It's nice that the chassis has places to mount those shelves - as it really makes it easy to mount additional components on the back.

Really clean install - I'm impressed! Thank you for sharing.

It will be exciting to see a video one you've taught him a few ez-tricks!

United Kingdom
#3  

Yes, I will make a video when I have taught him some tricks. Thanks for your comments and thanks to you and your team for giving us Revolution JD. I think mine is great.

PRO
Synthiam
#4  

Thanks for the kind words:) looking forward to seeing your meccanoid "ezrobotified"

Singapore
#5  

Hi Tez, fantastic job you've done. I've been modifying Meccanoid slowly for a little while now, and initially went the arduino route, but have been dissatisfied with the result, which led me to EZ-Robot and I'm very glad it did! :)

I'd love to see further details on your mod, and a video when you can! I'm assuming you replaced the servo's for more torque? My preference would be to use the standard servo's to allow selectable control via the EZB4 or the meccabrain, as my daughter still likes playing with him in LIM mode, but I'm more after autonomous behavior.

United Kingdom
#6  

Hi Aceboss, I do plan to produce a video to demonstrate what my meccanoid can do when programmed using ARC. The reason for changing the servos is I wanted everything to be EZ. ARC in my opinion is a fantastic piece of software. The control and ease of use is brilliant. Quite soon I will produce an ordered list of all the steps I took to make my meccanoid completely EZ. I will get it out soon as I can. Thanks for your comments Aceboss

#7  

@tezsmith : fantastic,great mod-job! I like his evil eyes :) Hope to see your video soon...

#8  

Sweet Taz. Nice work. Looking forward to the video. Your plan to use mind control is interesting. To my knowledge this hasn't worked yet and some even call it Voodoo and not possible. Hope you can prove them wrong. Good luck with bringing this concept out of the graveyard. ;)

United Kingdom
#9  

Video is now undergoing creation. I am hoping to show how I can control Jeeves (ex-meccanoid) using my Emotiv headsets. Control through the headsets is done by facial movements such as blinking and winking. This is all the headsets seem to pick up clearly and accurately. From a technical viewpoint this means the headsets are not picking up thought but responding to artefacts produced by muscle movement. I shall keep trying though. You never know I might stumble across an answer.

#10  

Awesome! I cant wait to see some how to videos. Im so glad you posted.

United Kingdom
#11  

Hi there, thanks to all who have shown interest in my meccanoid mod. A video demonstrating it working and a showing in detail all my mods is nearly complete however I have been called away for a few days for work. Will complete as soon as I am back. Thanks once again for your interest.

United Kingdom
#12  

This is my mecanoid now know as Jeeves.

My reason for purchasing G15 KS is simple I wanted to build a much larger robot than my Revolution JD. My Revolution JD as I have stated in the post is a fantastic robot. The Revoluton JD is used 50% of the time to test algorithms which I then try out on Jeeves (ex-meccanoid).

Let's take a look at how the meccanoid became Jeeves.

Step 1: I purchased two developer kits from EZ-Robot through a firm in the UK. I knew this would be more than I needed but I was pretty sure I would make use of most of the components in the kit.

Step 2: I needed to fit a controller onto Jeeves some how. This was accomplished using to small plastic bracket fitted on the back of Jeeves. Another bracket was fitted to hold the lipo batteries. 7.4 volt 1300mah 25C. I then fixed the EZ controller and the batteries to the brackets. The robot is also powered using a Manson EP-925 DC power supply. I cannot keep charging batteries because when testing algorithms I may need him to run for hours. At this point I had decided to remove the meccabrain.

Step 3: This was the step that made me quite nervous. Could I change the meccano servos for EZ. I tried to change one of the lower arm servos. The servo casings were very easy to pull apart. The EZ servo slotted straight in. However, there was one small problem. One of the bolts that hold the servo in the bracket has a nut on the other side that the meccano servo holds in place and the EZ does not. The meccano servo is slightly wider. I overcame this by placing a small piece of blu-tac to hold the nut in place. I then continued to change all the servos. First the three on the left arm. Then the right arm. Then finally the neck and the head. Then using servo extension cables I connected the eight servos to the controllers. Please make sure that each servo can rotate through its complete movement without pulling on the cables. You do not want the movement to pull cables out of the controller. I then fired up ARC and using the Auto Position plug-in and the animator. I tested all the servo movements. Success.

Step 4: While testing I noticed that I could get Jeeves to gesture no, but not yes. So I rearranged the head and neck servos as shown in my original photos. Jeeves can now gesture yes and no. Not really sure why meccano arranged them the way they did but it doesn't matter now. I also changed the orientation of the elbow servos. This allows the arms to be brought in front of the Jeeves. One small point when using the animator or direct programming make the servo move slowly. If you don't it will cause Jeeves (ex-meccanoid) to rock quite a bit. Slowing movement slightly, cured the problem.

Step 5: With all the servos working. Let's look at the motors that make it move. As these motors require quite a bit of power I decided to use the battery setup provided by meccano. All I needed now was a way to control the motors from the EZ controller. This is achieved by installing a Sabertooth 2X12 motor driver. I fixed a bracket like the one shown in the video that was big enough to hold the meccano battery and the Sabertooth. Please remember to place some washers under the sabertooth to raise it up from the plastic surface. This will ensure that heat dispurses better. When this is complete you are ready to wire up. For a step by step guide go to the forum and there you will find a brilliant guide that will take you through all the steps required to wire the sabertooth. The title of the guide is "Sabertooth 2x25 And Ez-b V4 Simply Serial Connection" and was created by Steve G from the UK. Work your way through this. It is exactly what I did, to the letter. The link to his tutorial is shown below.

https://synthiam.com/Community/Questions/8899

The only addtion I made was to include a switch on the power supply and a connector to allow me to disconnect the power to the battery and connect the charger to the meccano battery.

Well that's all I did and as you can see in the video it works.

#13  

@tezsmith : I can't open the youtube film, it's privat also on youtube... ;)

United Kingdom
#14  

Sorry about that my mistake. I was in a bit of a hurry. Forgot to make the video public.

PRO
Synthiam
#15  

Man that's great! Really well done video as well - he responds to your commands and really has a great personality. I was never fond of the look of the meccanoid before but i think that was because the twitchy silliness of the mechano programming. With your ARC programming, he has a much more stable personality. The grippers are a great add-on as well!

#16  

That looks like a fantastic setup for your robot. I'm kind of jealous of the 3 lipos in a row (great idea), I love that setup. And like DJ said, your robot moves very smoothly.

#17  

Very nicely done. Are there two version of the original Meccano G15?

United Kingdom
#18  

Yes there are two versions. One is two feet tall called the G15 . The other is four feet tall called the G15 KS.

#20  

Wow, Nice work. Very well done. Looks like you had fun putting him together. You've got to be proud.

What's next?

United Kingdom
#21  

I plan to use the ex-meccanoid G15 KS and my Revolution JD to test a number of algorithms I am working on. I would also like to build a much stronger version of the ex-meccanoid and have some hip movement included. I keep thinking about how I could add hip movement to the ex-meccanoid. However, that is a task for some time in the future.

#22  

Hi tezsmith, i was wanting to also give hip movement to my ez robotified meccanoid. Since you're braver than i and already upgraded yours, have you looked into a lazy susan? Home depot and lowes here only carry 6'' and up but found a 3" online at amazon. I think by running a strip of aluminum across the center and mounting the hip servo to it might work well. Heres a pic. What do you think? User-inserted image

United Kingdom
#23  

Yes. they look great. I am not quite ready yet to carry out the hip conversion, but I think I will order some now. Thanks very much. I wish you well with your conversion. :)

#24  

@tezsmith Have you done anymore with meccanoid and ez-robot since your last posting? If so, can you give any updates?

United Kingdom
#25  

Yes there are more updates, Mainly programming. I will update as soon as possible. Thanks for your interest. I have seen what you have done with yours. The meccanoid makes for quite a good platform. I may take a while replying because I am away on business. As soon as time allows I will update.

England
#27  

Hi all Meccanoid fans, I have a G15KS crying out for an EZ make over so any further info would be eagerly awaited. Geoff.

Portugal
#28  

Hi westies, check this out:

https://synthiam.com/Community/Questions/9320&page=2

and this:

https://synthiam.com/Community/Questions/7359&page=6

should get you started :)

England
#29  

Thanks for suggestions. I am going to attempt to re model the meccanoid into a "JD" version. Using EZ servo's and extra meccanoid pieces from another set

Portugal
#30  

Just got my G15KS, and the price was a steal (50). Its a very nice build base for EZB. I am not shure if i keep the meccanoid servos or use HDD servos. Will do some testing.

England
#31  

@proteusy

I am also testing EZ servo's. Big advantage I can see so far is metal gears over meccanoid plastic ones. Be interested in your thoughts.

PRO
Belgium
#32  

proteusy

i got one too .xl model.original servo are not good ,you cant pic up a little nut. am changing into HDD.they are quit and stay stil when power on.

does any one know if the horn of original servo mecanoid fit to HDD ? ez servo.

#33  

Ah so im not the only one who had a servo keep moving when powered on?

It was driving me nuts, and so i had to pull my project down and install a new servo to replace it..doesn't move when powered on now thankfully. :)

England
#34  

@proteusy. I am also converting a 4 ft meccanoid to ez control. The meccanoid servo horns will fit Hdd and most other servo's. I would be interested to hear about your progress.

Portugal
#35  

Hi, I am currently using some MG995 servos that I had laying around in my Meccanoid but they suck. They loose position and are not smooth. I am waiting for 8 HDD servos to arrive.

PRO
Belgium
#36  

westies

the horns of mecano are in two pieces.when you screw them on a HDD, only the back will be tight.you have to use wacher to bolt them together, on a servo.

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England
#37  

@ Nomad 6R Thanks for that. I am trying to devise a walking system using the wheels to do a sort of shuffle. I think the weight will be to great to have servo's moving hinged legs. The idea comes from Mindstorms Ev3 robots.

PRO
Belgium
#38  

i need a chuffle too for my baby jd.

England
#39  

@ Nomad 6R Great video, great robots, well done!

PRO
Belgium
#40  

any idea howmany volts the original mecanoid servo's are? can i use them with ezbv4 ?they dont seems to work.

England
#41  

Meccanoid servos are 6v but they will not work with ezbv4. Most ordinary servo's will fit in place of meccano ones.

PRO
Belgium
#42  

westies

i used the HDD ones from ez robot.

thanks

PRO
Belgium
#43  

@tezsmith

hey any progress on your meccanoid tez? and idd slow down the motions is best,even with HDD servo. what i also did,is remove the plate from upper arm.it makes the arm chorter, but stronger.more surprizes later .is it ok that i use your topic for maccanoid?

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United Kingdom
#44  

Yes of course it is. I have not been able to be involved in the discussion. Bit to busy. Good luck with your meccanoid. The meccanoid makes a great platform.

PRO
Belgium
#45  

great then this is THE meccanoid topic come together.

England
#46  

Yes let Meccanoiders swop ez ideas. I am rather poorly at moment but still trying to convert mine to the Ez platform. All ideas wellcome.

PRO
Belgium
#47  

hi westies

what do you need to do then.

England
#48  

@ Nomad 6R Hi. I have converted one arm and trying to make a gripper but so far it works in reverse ie open when it should be closed. If I sort this out will convert other arm. Regards.

PRO
Belgium
#49  

@westies

open the gripper then reposition the gripper.

#50  

Good afternoon, I have a problem with a meccanoid 2.0 xl, the Spanish language is not available, I want to know if the g15 ks software is compatible and if it has the Spanish language available ........ where can I download the software for the g15 ks? Thank you

PRO
Belgium
#51  

hi i found this video.it has info where to choose and download your version

#52  

Instead of using an arduino as a bridge, couldn't the uart port on the mecanno Brian's circuit board be used to connect directly to the ezb? The port is not exposed on the case. You would have to cut a hole to get the wires through.

BTW -toys r us has the dev 6 servos on clearance for 4.99 ea.

#53  

@DJ Sures

Don't you think Tezsmith's Meccano robot looks a lot like ROBERTO from Futurama!? @tezsmith where did you say you got his brain from?

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Just don't go so far as to make ROBERTO 2.0! Then we will have some trouble! User-inserted image

PRO
Canada
#54  

@Bumsteadsean curious what the benefit of talking to meccanoid brain from EZ-B to servos versus an arduino. Sounds like a lot of work and I don't know if there is enough documentation on the MeccaBrain to interface with it. You just need a pull down resistor and you can hang as many servos you want off a $5 arduino, there is an opensource library and there is lots of script examples for EZ-B with Arduino to Meccanoid servo's.

#56   — Edited

@tezsmith  Hi tezsmith, have not seen any up to date information on your Meccano Project.I want to take this time to say thank you for your tutorial and video which has help me very much with my Meccano Project. I noticed that the forearms and their servos in your pictures were mounted/connect differently than in your demo video, any reason? How did you mount/connect the sensor and camera to the black board? I was thinking of using BLU TACK. Can you provide a copy of the EZ-B script used in your demo video? Here are some changes I'm working on:

  1. All shelves and boards are clear plastic
  2. Using EZ-Robot 2.5 Amp HBRidge instead of a Sabertooth (per DJ recommendation)
  3. Adding on/off switches
  4. Alternative hands - made with gloves and foam/paper inserts
  5. Salvage the LED Eyes module.
  6. Use voice recognition/Alexa to get Meccano to perform

You help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.

I will provide my conversion process and a demo video when I have finished my first version.. Lets keep in touch, thanks again.

#57  

I have completed the following mods to my G15KS (aka Talos)

  1. Updated all servos to EZ servos
  2. Reconfigure the head & neck servos to make yes/no gestures
  3. Mounted a camera & sonar sensor
  4. Reconfigured the Meccanoid LED assembly for eyes 5. Using EZ-Robot 2.5 Amp HBRidge instead of a Sabertooth (per DJ recommendation) with existing wheels, battery & charger 6. All shelves and boards are clear plastic 7. Added on/off switches
  5. Have done very limited testing

Once the final testing is completed successful, I will be investigating how to use voice recognition/Alexa to get Talos to perform. I found these suggestions to incorporate Alexa to control the robot  https://synthiam.com/Search/using%20amazon%20Echo.

I would appreciate comments & suggestions, thank you.

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PRO
Australia
#58  

The Meccano Meccanoids keep evolving thanks to posts such as yours. Here are my RUR Meccanoids all ARC controlled. User-inserted image

PRO
Belgium
#59  

PCDoc/afcorson PRO

bolt are great meccanoid robots . i made some wristblock to give the meccanoid a turneble wrist .

meccaSend.zip