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Ubtech Alpha 1 Bluetooth

Control UBTech Alpha robot via bluetooth

+ How To Add This Control To Your Project (Click to Expand)
  1. Make sure you have the latest version of ARC installed.
  2. Select the Get button in this page to download the archive file.
  3. Double click the downloaded archive file to execute installer.
  4. The installer will add this control to ARC.
  5. Load ARC and press the Project -> Add Control button from the menu.
  6. Choose the Movement Panels category tab.
  7. Press the Ubtech Alpha 1 Bluetooth icon to add the control to your project.

Manual

Control UBTech Alpha robot via bluetooth and control servos. The Virtual Servos in ARC will control the UBTech Alpha robot servos. Use the configuration button on this skill to configure what servos are to be used. The Vx servos in ARC correspond to the servo IDs of the UBTech Alpha robot.

For example:
- V1 controls servo ID #1
- V2 controls servo ID #2
- V3 controls servo ID #3
- and so on...

Main Window


User-inserted image


1. COM Port Drop-down
Select the Bluetooth COM port that corresponds with the Alpha1 robot connected to your PC.

2. Connect Button
Once the proper COM ports is selected, press the Connect button to connect ARC to the Alpha1

3. Init Button
Initiates communication with the Alpha1 robot.

4. Status Display
Displays text corresponding to what actions are happening with the skill.

Configuration


User-inserted image


1. Virtual servo Checkboxes
Check (enable) each virtual servo that corresponds to the servo ID's you have on your Alpha1. If you would like to control the servo, it will have to be enabled.

How to Use UBtech Alpha1 Bluetooth Skill


1) Connect your PC to the Alpha1 robot via Bluetooth.

2) Add the UBtech Alpha1 Bluetooth skill to your ARC project (Project -> Add Skill -> Movement panels -> UBtech Alpha1 Bluetooth).

3) Select the Bluetooth COM port for the Alpha1 robot and select CONNECT.

4) Use the configuration menu of this skill to select the servos you wish to control. Place a check in the box beside each servo to control.

5) Now that you have the skill configured, you may use any skills in ARC that support servos to move the Alpha1 robot. This includes Auto Position, Camera, Joystick, and more.

*Note: When editing scripts in other skills, use the Cheat Sheet or right-click in the editor to see available ControlCommand of this skill. You may connect, disconnect, and control LEDs.

#45  
Referring to my previous post, can you help providing or suggesting some tool to send (and receive) bluetooth messages for my experiments ?
United Kingdom
#46  
Was this made for Alpha 1s or Alpha 1p?

I have an Alpha 1s and whilst he does connect (flashes lights and plays little tune) I can not make him move. I have read all instructions and all posts here but no joy.

As I have only recently 'adopted' my Alpha, I was hoping to use him as a learning tool before moving up to the EZB and modifying him. I am a mechanical design engineer and was really wanting this to be my first step into robotic programming.
PRO
Synthiam
#47   — Edited
Hey Icy - as far as i know, the skill was created to work with the alpha 1s. Unless a recent firmware update has voided the communication protocol, it should still work. 

You'll need to select the Vx servos that correspond to the servo IDs of the alpha. Then, you can add other robot skills and ensure you select those Vx servos in those skills as well. Specify the min and max of those servos or they will not move.

There's a dozen or so EZB firmwares available for variety of hardware - while the most popular is the EZ-Robot EZ-B v4, which comes pre-installed with the firmware. The list of EZB compatible hardware is here: https://synthiam.com/Support/Hardware/Hardware-Overview

If you're still having trouble and believe a firmware update on the alpha changed some things, we'd be happy to help you out. However, there's limited information available about their communication protocol. It would be a good start for you to contact the manufacturer and request a protocol definition for the bluetooth connection. We can go from there to update the skill appropriately
United Kingdom
#48  
Thanks for the quick response, I've figured it out now and have all his servos set up and moving.
Im slowly getting my head around the software but its a totally new way of thinking for me.

Now I have him moving, I would like to start programming some routines using Roboscratch. I assume I would have to add the Alpha servo skill to be able to do this, is that correct?
PRO
Synthiam
#49  
that’s great to hear. Here’s a real quick browse of ARC overview for ya: https://synthiam.com/Support/ARC-Overview/arc-introduction

the concept is the graphical skills replace large bits of code. Each skill is some sort of function that communicates with one another. In your case the alpha skill is acting as a servo driver. 

Roboscratch uses the configuration of alpha. I think you might be beyond RoboScratch though. It’s made mostly for elementary school children. Not to say it isn’t fun, but it isn’t super exciting. 

id recommend using the Auto Position skill. It lets you design the movements and such. Now, we have heard reports that the alpha had trouble with having the servo positions sent in rapid concession. Be warned of that limitation apparently. Here’s a link to the Auto Position manual: https://synthiam.com/Support/Skills/Movement-Panels/Auto-Positioner-Gait?id=16057
United Kingdom
#50  
Thanks again for your help, its very much appreciated.
I've done a quick test using Auto Position and think I have it straight in my mind as to how it works. I dont appear to be able to control servo speed at the moment, I am tired though so will have another look tomorrow.
PRO
Synthiam
#51  
I do not believe the speed is supported with those servos. But the speed value in Auto Position is kind of redundant. Because the Auto Position takes care of making sure the servos arrive at the destination frame at the same time. It does that regardless of the speed support
United Kingdom
#52  
Been having another play today and to be honest, I'm at the point of giving up. There are just too many unknowns for me to continue. I just cant seem to get any sort of logical response from him.

Am I not understanding the software?
Am i using the software incorrectly?
Does the software function correctly with this robot?
Does my robot function correctly?

I was really hoping for this to be a cheap introduction to robotics and I now think I was wrong. I also dont really want to spend any more money on this as I feel I have already spent enough on what is now effectively scrap.

As I cant answer any of the above questions, I simply cant think how I can continue with him.
PRO
Synthiam
#53  
I feel it is the robot. We have received a number of poor customer experiences with that robot - and many have returned them or sold them. The trouble is the manufacturer is very quiet and does not reply to customers or help with their product.

My advise is to sell the robot and get yourself something more reliable and cheaper. I do recommend the EZ-Robot JD Humanoid if you want to maintain the humanoid form-factor, because it works very well - and has people learning with it all around the world starting from elementary school. EZ-Robot also has a lot of tutorials for their robots. Here's the tutorials for the JD: https://www.ez-robot.com/Tutorials/Lesson/125?courseId=1

Oh, and here's where you can get a JD: https://www.ez-robot.com/Shop/
#54  
@DJ.
I've been working on Alpha 1S until last february using EZB V4.  I couldn't obtain  reliable servo  control. 
I do know that protocol information is missing, but I'm  seeing here a "skill" suggested for that robot  and a "version 19"  (for the plug-in ?) making me hope that some progress has been made since then  . Have  you or  someone else tested with success  these new tools ?
PRO
Synthiam
#55  
You'd have to try and see - with the very minor amount of information available - and the lack of cooperation of the manufacturer, what you get is what you get with the skill until more information is provided
United Kingdom
#56  
I reached out to Ubtech but got no response, which I believe is common for them.
I have managed to obtain their servo callibration tool though. If this is any use to anyone, I would be more than happy to send it to you.
#57  
Please send the calibration tool. I can test it and see what it can do.
I had kind answers from Ubtech whenever I asked  for explanation of their software and hardware problems for the Alpha 1S. I never asked for protocols etc.
United Kingdom
#58  
Leonardo46, let me know your email and I will send it. Its 3.8Mb when zipped so should be ok.
PRO
Synthiam
#59  
Icy, you can attach the file to a message. Press the file button in the editor
#61  
Thank you. I'll try to understad what's for
United Kingdom
#62  
Well the callibrator certainly hellped me getting his initial standing position correct, he was standing with one foot very slightly raised so have sorted that.

Anyway, Im not sure of the information you used to create this plugin but I found the attached file today and thought it might be usefull. It means nothing to me and may even be the info used to create your plugin.Alpha1 Series Bluetooth.pdf
PRO
Synthiam
#63   — Edited
That’s the information (protocol) used to create the robot skill.

Controlling a robot by sending commands is basic effort that we do everyday with tens of thousands of other robots. This causes us to believe that the ubtech alpha robot has a fundamental bug in the protocol design or servo firmware. Because it’s not upgradable, they discontinued the product following these issues. The internet is full of others experiencing the same issues. To the extent that there are people creating replacement PCBs (circuit boards) to make the robot operational by remote commands. 

while the robot somewhat works with the command set they published, it seems to be about the best it does. Contacting the manufacturer for support with their product is the best advice. Otherwise, many other Synthiam users have simply sold their alpha robot and upgraded to more cost effective and powerful robots that include cameras and real robot features.
Netherlands
#64  
@icy8: I have the Alhpa 1s and I replaced the board with the EZ-B v4/2 Wi-Fi Robot Controller and I use the lewansoul servo addon to control it.
I rewired the four connectors arms and legs to one connector and it works!!!
Hope this wil help you if the cost is a problem you can try the EZ-B IoTiny
:D