1. Computer & I/O Controller
The location of the computer will determine the connection method to the I/O controller (USB or Wi-Fi). Any I/O controller that is compatible with ARC is referred to as an EZB (more information below). When designing a robot from scratch or programming an existing robot, take note of these configuration details.
Embedded PC configurations mounts the computer on-board the robot. The computer can be a laptop, single board computer (SBC) or tablet. Connection to I/O controllers is through USB. Additional USB devices, such as joysticks, cameras and peripherals can be connected directly to the PC on the robot.
In a remote configuration, the computer is off-board and controls the robot wirelessly from your desk. The computer can be a laptop, tablet, or personal computer (PC) with Wi-Fi or an ethernet connection to a Wi-Fi network. Most USB devices that require mounting on the robot cannot be used because the computer is not mounted on the robot.
I/O Controller (EZB) Selection
An I/O controller connects sensors, motors and peripherals to the computer running ARC. When an I/O controller is loaded with firmware that is compatible with ARC, we refer to it as an EZB. Based on the type of computer selection (embedded or remote), I/O controller EZBs will only support specific connection types. For example, an Arduino with EZB firmware uses USB, which requires the computer to be embedded in the robot. An EZ-Robot EZ-B v4 can use both Wi-Fi and USB which supports a remote computer and embedded computer configuration.
Each I/O controller will provide various hardware and custom commands. To identify the capabilities of an I/O controller, ARC provides abstract methods that represent the I/O controller's capabilities. For example, if the connected I/O controller supports a hardware UART, the respective EZB index in ARC will provide hardware UART commands. The capabilities of each I/O controller are determined by the Firmware Capability Manager. An I/O controller loaded with EZ-B firmware will report its capabilities to ARC. If an unsupported command is issued to an I/O controller, ARC will raise an error.
- What is an EZB?
- An EZB is any robot computer or microcontroller that accepts connections from Synthiam's ARC software to control servos, sensors, and more. Below is a list of compatible products that can be programmed as an EZB. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of the I/O controller for operating specifications, documentation and support.
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