My Wall-e Powered By Ez-b V4

Tony1952

Australia
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After receiving the Ez-B V4 development kit I was able to advance the build of my Wall-E with the insertion of the supplied continuous rotation servos and attachment of the the two tracks to the body.
I'd spent a few months earlier gutting Wall-E and fitting servos for head rotation & tilt, eye twitch and two-way arm movement. I took a shortcut with the head movement by using a tilt/pan servo assembly that I got off ebay - http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/PTZ-Pan-Tilt-Camera-Platform-Anti-Vibration-Camera-Mount-RC-1-2G-2-4G-5-8G-FPV-/161176233437?pt=AU_Toys_Hobbies_Radio_Controlled_Vehicles&hash=item2586da25dd

Once I attached the tracks I could not wait any longer and connected all servos to the Ez-B and powered it up with a 4 x AA power pack to bring Wall-E to life!. I was greeted with the now very familiar "my battery is low" greeting but eventually got around that after connecting Ez Builder via WiFi.

I've been toying with Wall-E & the Ez-B for over a week now, with some success but also faced many frustrating problems. The main ones I think are being caused by power supply. The Ez-B goes into Birko mode for no reason, moving servos to extreme positions & even reversing them. I also get Unhandled Exceptions in the software with a reference to a non-existent D:/directory. This could be Windows 8? I will elaborate more after further testing and list somewhere.

My first aim is to replicate some DJ's Wall-E by studying and adapting scripts from the Legacy Wall-E robots. This will take some time as I'm new to Ez-Builder. I've had success with auto positioning, voice recognition, simple start up scripts and even some face tracking using the camera blue-tacked to the top of Wall-E's head! I've also been able to use the mobile Interface on my Android phone.

I'm having problems slowing down the servos. The worst are the continuous rotation servos supplied in the Development Kit. Their speed is not adjustable by the ARC software, so Wall-E spins his tracks and travels at virtual "break neck" speed making him pretty unmanageable. It's also almost impossible to smooth out the movement of Wall-E's other servos via the software, It's either full speed or very jerky movements.

There are quirks in the software which I would like to list somewhere without getting flamed by the Elite in this forum. One example is the Voice Type. All 3 voices installed in my version of windows get listed in the Speech Settings Panel but the Voice type can't be changed from 'Hazel" even if changed by Windows, ARC insists on using "Hazel"

The Ez-B speaker is very muted inside the Wall-E body. I might try to re-connect the original speaker, although Its ohm rating is not displayed on the case

So, overall, I'm pretty happy and satisfied with the Ez-B V4 and the ARC software. I'm surprised how far I've come in a week of tinkering. If I can do it, anyone can!

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#44  
@Tony1952- I too am a use and re-use kind of guy. People are familiar with DIY but not many are aware of DYK, as in "Do You Know, what that's going to cost?" I commend you good sir.

I once ruined an HD servo and the one I ordered to replace it was defective. They told me to just keep it and refunded my money. I then used it's good parts to fix the servo I ruined. So, I got to fix it for free.:) So, you should be able to get parts for your servo and fix it.:) It was actually really easy. I hope this helps you out some.
Australia
#45  
@Antron007 thank you for your commendation and encouragement! I commend you too mate!
I will have a go at fixing that servo, or keep it for repair of others
I prefer to fix things rather than throw away. If it can't be fixed it is kept for spare parts for future repairs, unless it's bulky and the wife insists on disposal!
I'm sure most people in this forum keep screws, connectors, wires and all sorts of oddities for future use - I've seen it in the background in their videos!
Australia
#46  
@Dave Schulpius, many thanks for your ideas regarding my sound problems and the Amazon links. I have also read through the thread "Breaking Out The Sound From The V4 Ezb" and watched the video tutorial. I did see the original tutorial and find the sound improvement significant (using the ext Amp)

I'll convert all my Wall-E sounds to WAV to check out the difference
Also I'll remove the power base, get the In-line AGC Fuse Holder and direct-wire to the Ez-B board. This will give me the extra room I need inside Wall-E. By the way, the last time I saw one of those in-line fuse holders was when I installed a radio into my first car many decades ago! I did not know they (and the glass tube fuses) still existed till I checked your Amazon link. I also didn't know those tiny amps existed! I've ordered one off ebay as postage from Amazon is highway robbery, but it will take a month to get here.

At this early stage I'm really not that unhappy with the sound output via the external speaker that I installed in Wall-E. I find that the sliding volume control on the Soundboard V4 panel gets distortion at either end, otherwise its good in mid range.

My key issue is the static sound I get when I start the camera. It's always there when the camera is on and gets very annoying. I tell family it's Wall-E thinking. I've tried putting foil shield around the cable, moving the camera, etc etc but nothing stops it except the camera stop button. I will try the external amp to see if that is the cure.

Do you have a V4 camera? Do you get any static sounds when the camera is on?
I've attached a poorly made video (with my phone) demonstrating the sound using Wall-E's original inbuilt speaker and using WAV files with the Soundboard set at mid vol. Not bad
for a Wall-E in my opinion and significantly better than the Ez-B inbuilt speaker muffled by the base and by being inside Wall-E's body. You'll see in the video my inability to give Wall-E a male voice. Also at the end is the static sound I get from the camera


#47  
Humm, Yes, I can hear the static sound in your vid. I sounds like electronic noise. I do have a V4 camera but haven't even hooked it up yet. I'm going to have to give it a try now to see I can hear it in my setup.

I've found that noise like this usually travels through the ground connections. Make sure you don't have any ground loops built into your setup. They are kinda hard to find and understand but simply put you may have two devices at different ground potential fighting over one ground connection. Here's a Youtube vid that explains it:



There are also many internet articles on this problem. Here's a good one to read:

www.epanorama.net/documents/groundloop/

The easiest way I've found to eliminate this problem is to run two different power supplies and keep the noisy electronics on a different power supply then the sound amp. However in the case of a small robot that may be hard to do because of size constraints.
Australia
#48  
@Dave Schulpius, thanks for the video and the web link which I have watched/read. Some is over my head but I do get the drift and it explains what I have heard and experienced in audio and PA systems over many years.
I would not know where to start looking! My setup is very basic - 9 servos & a camera connected to the Ez-B, powered by a 7.4v LiPo battery. I've used a different 7.4v LiPo battery from the one supplied by Ez-Robot. I've unplugged all the servos. I've even put back the original micro speaker. All with no improvement :(.
The Ez-B by itself is dead quiet until you push the volume to the max with scripting - SetVolume(200). I did that before connecting to the external speaker. It was the only way I could hear the std speaker from inside Wall-E (with his back door open). Every sound got distorted and there was crackling at idle.
The culprit definitely is the camera. When started via the camera console the sound is what you heard and gets worse as the volume is turned up.
The only other thing I am capable of doing is check the camera cable by trying to get another one from somewhere
I'd be interested to know if you hear anything from your camera
#49  
Tony, are those mini servos in his arms? I mean for side to side movement? I really like that. Helps give wall-e a more animated look with more degrees of freedom in his arms
#50  
@Tony, Sounds to me like the most likely source of the sound problem is on the EZB or the camera. If everything sounds right until the camera is plugged in then my money is on the camera board having a problem. Have you contacted EZ Robot through their support link? Too bad you don't have another camera to swap out and see if it's the problem.

I'll have a little extra time this weekend so I'll fire up my camera and try it on each of my three EZB V4s to see if I can reproduce this issue.

One last suggestion; Make sure you have the camera's cord fully plugged in. It's may not make any difference but it's worth a try. ;)
Australia
#52  
@Richard R I used GO-TECK GS-9025MG servos in the arms (for horizontal movement) and in the neck for two-way movement. They are high torque for their size and work well in these functions. The arms took me a while to work out how to do as the arms would not come apart after removing the 2 screws. The halves move apart but are held together at the "sleeves". I did not get the answer in this forum. Eventually, after trying many times I used a tiny bit of extra force and they broke away cleanly. Thew screw back together again and you would not know they had been pulled apart!
Australia
#53  
@Dave Schulpius thanks for your help with my camera issue!
I will have another camera to test "at the end of July", hopefully!
I have carefully plugged and unplugged & swapped ends on the camera cable several times with no change:(

Thanks also for the link to those tiny space saving fuses. I'll try to source them locally. Even on ebay they are $10 for a 5 pack plus $50 for postage!

When you say E-Z Robot support link, is that using the "contact us" link on the bottom of this page? I have not contacted them using that as the pull down subject list does not include "problems" as one of the allowable Subjects. On that page they refer you to "Video Tutorials or join our friendly Community Forum". I have only used this forum but I am reluctant to do so as I have had a few other issues with the development kit received and software with things not working as expected, continuous Unhandled Exceptions and messages of ARC having to stop in both Win 7 & 8. Perhaps the software issues have been brought on by me because I'm a stupid newbie? Perhaps it's because some of the software is still Beta version? Whatever the case it's all a bit frustrating for me!
#54  
For the software problems, the forum is a good way to report them. Beat to open a new thread, describe what you were doing when it happened, and either attach your project or make it public in the cloud. DJ usually responds and fixes that kind of thing, and since it would impact everyone, reporting it publicly is best.

For the camera static issue, since no one else (of tje first hundred shipped) has reported similar, it seems you may have a bad board or camera. A cold solder joint could be causing some interference. Using the Contact Us link and asking for an exchange is probably the best course of action, although starting a separate thread on that to make sure there is not a widespread problem won't hurt either.

Although EZ-Robot staff try to read every thread, having the complaints burried several pages in a project thread rather than front and center in a bug report or help request may cause them ti be missed.

Just my two cents....

Alan
PRO
Canada
#55  
Sorry @Tony

I just hadn't had a chance to reply to this thread but I've been following it. Unfortunately, I don't think there is much we can do about the static that the camera seems to cause as it is likely internal to the EZ-B design.

With the speaker that comes with the EZ-B the static is barely noticeable but since you installed a larger speaker it amplifies that noise a little more.

1) I would suggest to try keeping your volume slider below 100 on the sound board control to make sure there isn't any added distortion.

2) Try what @Dave has suggested (breakout the audio input of the onboard amplifier to an external audio amp. board and then run it to your speaker)

I can suggest a couple hobby audio amp boards that run at 3.3V that I have used but I'm sure members of this forum will have some great suggestions to add.

As for the software issues @Techguru's advice would be the best. Find where the errors most commonly happen, document them (with screenshots), and post to the forum, that way it gives everyone a chance to try and solve it:)
#56  
@Tony, That's crazy expensive to ship! Have you checked your local Hardware or building supply store?
#57  
@Tony.... LOL... Had the same trouble with the arms as you did even before reading your post... Anyway... thanks for the tip, bought me some of those GS-9025MG servos....

Cheers
Richard
#58  
I just got the V4 kit and the camera is quite noisy as well.
PRO
Canada
#59  
Hi @jstanley,

What kind of noise are you seeing? Is it static across the entire camera frame, or is it a grey bar at the bottom every once and a while?

What kind of lighting conditions are you in?

Could you post a screenshot if you don't mind? Thanks!
PRO
Canada
#60  
Oops maybe I misunderstood, do you mean that the camera adds noise to the speaker?
Australia
#61  
Yes @Jeremie, I think @jstanley means noise to the speaker (as I mentioned in my post #47 and attached video)

I've been away travelling for a few months but I'm back now, catching up with what's happened/happening on Ez-Robot

I see that noise from the inbuilt amplifier of the Ex-b V4 is now a known an accepted occurance on this forum and the "fix" is fitting an external Amp (as pioneered by Dave S!). I'll eventually get around to doing that

Besides the @jstanley comment I note there is no other mention of the speaker noise being accentuated by turning on the camera. I wonder what others are experiencing now that more Revolution robots have been shipped and built?
#62  
I have a couple EZB V4's and have 5 more on the way. The couple that I have don't have that issue. I will see if any of the coming 5 have the issue and post. I haven't seen any posts about it as if it were a prevalent issue.

it may be something as simple as adjusting how your wiring is in your robot, using a ferrite bead, or breaking out your power differently. I have one in a wall-E that is not much different than your build other than how power is ran. just a thought.
Australia
#63  
Thanks for your feedback @d.cochran. Good to see that you do not have this issue!

I did fiddle with the power extensively including different batteries, connectors and mains power supplies, use of ferrite rings, shielding of power and camer wiring, etc, all with no difference, inside or outside the Wall-E. There is definitley some feedback coming from the camere when switched on.

I have another Ezb-V4 and camera on order. That might help narrow it down? I did get one of the "first 100" hand built development kits