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driving other motor controllers from the Blackfin (Read 34416 times)
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driving other motor controllers from the Blackfin
01/29/08 at 7:38am
 
We just received this support question via email -
 
>My current project it to connect the blackfin board up to my existing
>chasis. It basicly consists of a sabertooth 2x10, higher rpm gearhead
>motors, and the lynxmotion tri-track chasis.
>
>Currently I am driving the sabertooth via an RC receiver using the mixed
>mode, but from looking at things you appear to send PWM in differential
>mode.. Is this true?
>
>Is it possible to send a mixed signal? (IE: S1 on Sabertooth controls Fwd,
>S2 controls rotation)..
 
I checked the specs on the Sabertooth 2x10, and it appears that you can drive it either way (mixed or independent), depending on DIP switch settings.  Our software is set up for differential mode, but there's no fundamental reason why you couldn't change that to mixed mode.  
 
Note that our current software drives the 2 PWM channels for "duty cycle modulation" to control motors via an H-bridge, while the Sabertooth and other R/C controllers require a "pulse position modulation" (PPM) timing pulse to control motor output.  This isn't a problem - the PWM channels can generate the PPM signals, and we're wrapping up a version of firmware that generates PPM, so you just need to define how you want the commands to be converted into control signals.  We will also have the ability to use the 2nd UART instead as an additional pair of PWM or servo channels.
 
This will be a compile-time option, but for users who don't want to modify firmware, we could generate some precompiled versions of firmware with this option.  Let us know your preference.
 
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #1 - 01/29/08 at 10:50am
 
I will check the timings when I get home, but I believe they are as follows:
 
.9mS = Low Side
.15mS = Mid Stop
.25mS = High Side
 
I took this info from:
http://www.lynxmotion.com/images/html/servo01.htm
Servos are controlled with a 5vdc positive-going variable pulse width that repeats every 20mS. The pulse length determines the servo output shaft position but the 20mS frame rate is not position critical. The frame rate does need to repeat at least every 20mS or it will loose power or even stutter. The servo was designed for pulse widths that vary from 1.0mS to 2.0mS, where 1.5mS is centered. In the normal range the servo will move +/- 45 degrees from the centered (neutral) position.

 
Since I am using both RC and Blackfin, I would like to try and match the timings as close to the RC output as possible. The RC and Blackfin outputs would be switched via SPDT switch.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #2 - 01/29/08 at 11:56am
 
Quote from osmogr on 01/29/08 at 10:50am:
I will check the timings when I get home, but I believe they are as follows:

.9mS = Low Side
.15mS = Mid Stop
.25mS = High Side

 
Right - typical range for servos is a 1.0ms - 2.0ms pulse centered at 1.5ms, but sometimes the range is wider.  Only thing to note is that the Blackfin interfaces at 3.3V, though I haven't seen any problem driving 5V servos with a 3.3V timing signal.  The current code has a 50Hz (20ms) cycle.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #3 - 01/29/08 at 12:07pm
 
From past testing you can connect just GND and SIG to drive the servo, and supply 4.8-6V via red wire from a seperate power source. I use this on my RC Stuff to isolate digital servos from the Rx, as they usually more then what the rx can supply..  
 
So using past testing, I have driven the rx off 4.8v and driven servos off 6.0 without any issues.. But these were servos not the sabertooth so we will see. But looks VERY promising..  
 
As for the other PWM outputs, I am working on a PT asmembly for the camera. I have the base made and functional, but need to work on the tilt portion..
 
Ill post some pics tonight..
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #4 - 01/29/08 at 1:12pm
 
Okay - I can generate a version of firmware for you to test when you're ready.  I need to wrap up the servo code anyhow.  Only detail is that my primary PWM signals are driving some brushless motor controllers that need to start with the timing pulses at one limit or the other, so I'll have to remember to change this, unless the Sabertooth has an initialization sequence.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #5 - 01/29/08 at 2:49pm
 
From the sabertooth docs, there are a few different ways to configure its startup, since i'm using the RC Mode, it automagicly centers and finds the min/max values of the pwm signal. I believe this just takes the first known signal width and uses for center, when you startup with trims set, it causes some drift..  
 
 
As soon as I recieve the board I will let you know.. Ordered last week so should be any time..
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #6 - 01/29/08 at 7:09pm
 
Received board and I am now installing hardware.. I was looking at the motor board and it looks pretty blank, I didnt have a chance to check the wlan module but did you remove the h-bridge off this board?
 
Everything else is 100% awesome, great packing and such.. Much thanks!!
 
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #7 - 01/29/08 at 7:27pm
 
The board set you ordered didn't include the motor control (that's not a current option on our shopping cart), but we can swap boards.  Now that I know what you're doing, I expect that you want a board that has a header for the external i/o anyhow.  We'll send another board tomorrow, and you can return the radio board without the Matchport after you receive it.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #8 - 01/29/08 at 10:04pm
 
thanks!! that would be awesome.. I was going to see if my extension for the camera p/t works. hopefully all will go well, I made a extension using a small ribbon cable, and I broke up each cable so it can flex better.. Its about 2.5" long..
 
 
Also, I checked driving a servo using different voltages tonight, with a shared ground, everything worked good at varrying voltages, the servo got mad after 3.5 volts..  
 
The timings I worked out of this rx were very similar to previously mentioned,
.98 low, .15 mid, .25 high. so im guessing your thoughts on the 1, 1.5, 2 for pwm should work..
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #9 - 01/30/08 at 7:47am
 
Here's one of my servo control projects - it's "work in progress", so there are wires all over the place, but hopefully you get the idea.
 

 
I likewise broke out the servo leads and created a 5V power bus for the servos using a standard male two-row header with 0.100" pin spacing (the 5V source is a 7805 5V regulator running off the 8V Lipoly battery).  There's a piece of cardboard separating the 5V lines from the GND lines - I'll clean this up later.
 
The servo control wires are then plugged into the Blackfin header on the bottom of the radio board.  Again, I need to add some shrink-wrap tubing or other insulation to separate the signals.
 

 
Here's the airframe onto which everything is mounted with the rat's nest of wires. There's a pair of motors mounted coaxially to drive the 2 counter-rotating props, and the battery pack is actually mounted on a gimbal controlled by 2 servos - the weight-shifting steers the aircraft.  You can see a video of an earlier prototype that was controlled using R/C.
 
===============
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZmULlkOE3o
 
===============
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #10 - 01/30/08 at 3:04pm
 
Nice.. To control yaw are you using any gyro? I have a 4 bladed heli (Like the X-BL-4D) that uses the blade rotation to correct and change the yaw.. Speed up one motor and slow the other.
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #11 - 01/30/08 at 3:29pm
 
Initially, I have an Analog Devices ADXL202E 2-axis accelerometer for pitch/roll, and will later try the LIS3LV I2C 3-axis accel.  It's easy enough to manually trim the yaw by controlling rotation speed, but stabilizing pitch and roll are not so simple.  In any case, a gyro will eventually be added for yaw control.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #12 - 01/30/08 at 8:51pm
 
Quote from admin on 01/29/08 at 1:12pm:
Okay - I can generate a version of firmware for you to test when you're ready.  I need to wrap up the servo code anyhow.  Only detail is that my primary PWM signals are driving some brushless motor controllers that need to start with the timing pulses at one limit or the other, so I'll have to remember to change this, unless the Sabertooth has an initialization sequence.

 
I am ready for the firmware, could you set the default start points at 1.5. High side at 2 and low side at 1. That should work great..
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #13 - 01/31/08 at 8:40am
 
Quote from osmogr on 01/30/08 at 8:51pm:

I am ready for the firmware, could you set the default start points at 1.5. High side at 2 and low side at 1. That should work great..

 
Bear with me for a bit - the original plan was to use #IFDEF statements in the code, and recompile depending on whether there the drive is an PWM H-bridge or PPM servo.  After looking at the specific code, I now think it would be better to select the device type at the command (SRV_protocol) level, so that a single version of firmware supports PWM or PPM.  
 
At the control loop level, just as we currently have the 'M' command to set PWM power levels, we could add new commands to set PPM timing for each servo pair.  The user could redefine the The code would detect whether the user is requesting PWM or PPM functions, and initialize the timer channels accordingly.  The trick is deciding what to do about the keypad commands ('8' forward, '5' stop, '2' back, etc).
 
Anyhow, let me think this through a bit further - I definitely prefer the idea of supporting a single version of firmware rather than branching versions for different hardware configurations.
 
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #14 - 01/31/08 at 11:59am
 
This works perfectly.. I wont have the new board for a few days so this will give me time to clean things up and test out my charge circuit..
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #15 - 01/31/08 at 9:10pm
 
Some details on how I have wired this up.
 
I took a standard servo wire, and removed the black wire from the plug side, and plugged the red/white into the pins 7-8 of the blackfin 32pin bus. Black pin went to pin2 GND. These were connected to drive S1 (white, pin7 of bf, left side motor), S2 (red, pin8, right side motor). Black wire went to GND of sabertooth.
 
Blackfin____________________Saber Tooth 2x10
Pin2   <--------Black-------------> GND
Pin7   <--------White-------------> S1
Pin8   <--------Red---------------> S2
 
 
I also confirmed that switch 4 of the Sabertooth needs to be in OFF position to support differential (non mixed drive). I configured a "elevon" mix on my RC radio side, and things are happy.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #16 - 02/01/08 at 8:38am
 
Wiring looks fine.
 
I now have a version of firmware that drives 4 servos, and am thinking for control of adding two commands to the SRV_protocol similar in format to the 'M' command for PWM motors, but probably without the time-out parameter
 
'S' (0x53) would control servos 1+2
's' (0x73) would control servos 3+4
 
If we use a full 8-bit scale 0-255 (0x00 - 0xff), then 128 (0x80) is the midpoint, which should correspond to a 1.5ms servo pulse, with 0x00 corresponding to a 1.0ms pulse and 0x255 corresponding to a 2.0ms pulse.  So in hex, the command to set servos 1+2 to mid-range would be
 
0x53 0x80 0x80
 
The first appearance of 'M', 'S' or 's' commands would tell the firmware to initialize the timer channels for PWM or PPM.  We might later add a command for servo range scaling, in case the 1.0ms - 2.0ms range limits need to change.
 
Remaining question - what do we do with the numeric keypad commands ?  they're really useful for testing via a terminal, but also very specific to different robot setups.  I thought about making them configurable, but we would already have precise control with 'M', 'S' and 's'.  Maybe we just leave these available for developers who are modifying the source code for their own purposes.
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #17 - 02/01/08 at 11:20am
 
I would leave em as is.. I can modify the srv.config to use the new commands and that should be fine..
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #18 - 02/01/08 at 12:03pm
 
Okay - I'll leave the keypad commands, but disable them if the controller is in "servo mode".  If someone wants the modify the source to use them, it won't be difficult.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #19 - 02/01/08 at 3:39pm
 
Okay - I've posted a test version of code at  
 
    http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin/srv-blackfin-servo-020108.zip
 
I have added the 'S' and 's' commands to the protocol.  At the moment, the range of supported values is 0-100 (0x00 - 0x64) rather than 0-255, but we can change that later.  So in srv.config, the command
 
     533232
 
would be the equivalent of 'S' 50 50, which generates 1.5ms pulses at 50Hz on timer channels 2 & 3.  An 's' (0x73) command has an equivalent effect on channels 6 & 7.
 
The 'M' commands still work as well.  If the processor first sees an 'M' command, it will initialize the timer channels 2 & 3 in PWM mode for the robot H-bridge, and the keypad commands are activated in this mode after the first 'M' command is issued.  
 
If the processor first sees an 'S' command, it will initialize timer channels 2 & 3 in PPM (servo) mode, and when it first sees the 's' command, it will initialize timer channels 6 & 7 in PPM (servo) mode as well.
 
I tested the same code on an SRV-1 robot and on the coaxial rotor flyer using all 4 channels, and everything seems to be working, but please let me know how things go for you.
 
By the way, you can still drive this from a terminal - here's a link to an ASCII chart
    http://www.cdrummond.qc.ca/cegep/informat/Professeurs/Alain/images/ASCII1.GIF
 
so the sequence "S22" would be the same as 533232 or 'S' 50 50
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #20 - 02/01/08 at 11:35pm
 
We have movement...  
 
Now I need to map out some controls for this..
 
 
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #21 - 02/02/08 at 12:42am
 
I was able to map out a few controls for srv1.config tonight
 
Stop point S22
 
Forward Medium S##
 
Reverse Medium SAA
 
Left Rotate SA#
 
Right Rotate S#A
 
I plan to make a new srv.config and post this tomorrow with the new controls..  
 
I did have an issue with my wifi antenna, I think it was related to the pin, it appears the new pin material has pushed the metal sleeve inside the plug in too far, and doesnt make a good connection now, for now I have butchered an old wireless router that had the same connectors and I am using its antenna and it seems to be better now..  
 
Now I need to map the s channel and make some servo movements for the camera p/t..
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« Last Edit: 02/02/08 at 1:53am by osmogr »  
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #22 - 02/02/08 at 2:08am
 
Here are the settings I used.  
 
Stop Point 533232
 
Slow Forward 532323
Medium Forward 531414
Full Forward 530000
 
Slow reverse 5334141
Medium Reverse 535050
Full Reverse 536464
 
Slow Right Turn 532341
Slow Left Turn 534123
Medium Right Turn 531450
Medium Left Turn 535014
Full Right Turn 530064
Full Left Turn 536400
 
 
I will be making some pretty icons and slapping up a new srv.config tomorrow.. and a VIDEO.. Smiley
 
New wifi is working good..  
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #23 - 02/02/08 at 8:06am
 
Thanks for the update - I'm very glad to hear that the new commands are working for you and look forward to the video, which we'll post in a link from the Surveyor Robotics Journal. Also, thanks for noting the antenna issue - I hadn't heard of problems with the replacement pin before.  
 
My goal today is to get the coaxial flyer airborne with the new firmware.  I will have to modify the keypad controls to produce a useful command set, since I need to be able to continuously adjust throttle and yaw trim as well as the pitch/roll servo settings.  However, since there's now logic to branch depending on whether we're in PWM or PPM mode, I can add this code without breaking anything.  
 
My thought is to use the keypad hits to incrementally adjust the last values sent by the 'S' or 's' functions.  For my application, the '+' and '-' keys would be used to incrementally adjust throttle.  '0' and '.' would be used for yaw trim.  The remaining numbers would be used to incrementally adjust pitch/roll settings.  
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #24 - 02/02/08 at 2:07pm
 
So I took all the values from the previous post, and put them into srv.config.  
 
And I have to say it works pretty well.. I took a video and as soon as I can upload it, a link will be posted.. The first part of the video is great reason why you should have someone running the camera, and someone else running the bot.. Wink  
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #25 - 02/03/08 at 3:32pm
 
I have the 4-channel servo interface working as well.  
 

 
You can find a description and a couple of video clips here -  
 
    http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/show?id=705844%3ABlogPost%3A23537
 
There's still work to be done on the flight controls, but the Blackfin interface is solid.
 
Here's the updated code -  
 
    http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin/srv-blackfin-coax-020308.zip
 
In the PPM (servo) mode, the '+' and '-' keys are intended as throttle controls, increasing or decreasing both speed control channels.  The '<' and '>' keys are used to trim the two channels for yaw or steering control.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #26 - 02/04/08 at 3:05pm
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #27 - 02/04/08 at 4:25pm
 
Very nice !
 
I just posted a brief description of your project here -  
    http://www.surveyor.com/cgi-bin/robot_journal2.cgi/2008/02/04#141
 
We will release the code changes supporting servos with the mainstream SVN code base after a bit more testing, as the same firmware works with the existing SRV-1 base, your Lynxmotion base, and the coaxial rotor flyer described above.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #28 - 02/05/08 at 5:32pm
 
Using the + / - / < > commands I modified my srv.config to include these. They work great for speed controls and such..  
 
Maybe this is something already answered but is it possible to setup like an "autorun on switch setting"? So I can autorun code when a switch is set to ON and skip code if switch is off?
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #29 - 02/05/08 at 6:09pm
 
Quote from osmogr on 02/05/08 at 5:32pm:
Using the + / - / < > commands I modified my srv.config to include these. They work great for speed controls and such..

Maybe this is something already answered but is it possible to setup like an "autorun on switch setting"? So I can autorun code when a switch is set to ON and skip code if switch is off?

 
At some point, I need to document the S, s, +, -, <, >.  I think once more of the sensor code is integrated, we'll freeze code, update the SRV_protocol document, and update the SVN archive.
 
There were requests in the past to enable the processor to jump into the C interpreter with a switch or jumper.  Again, this is something we might want to assign to a GPIO line, though we'd need to add a pullup resistor and jumper to the sensed line.  Maybe that's something to add to the next expansion board revision.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #30 - 03/04/08 at 8:25am
 
Do you recommend current limiting resistors between the Blackfin and motor controllers such as the Sabertooth?  How about between the Blackfin timer channels and servos?
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #31 - 03/04/08 at 8:33am
 
My guess is that the Blackfin already has current limiting resistors on its i/o pins, but I don't know this for a fact.  So it is probably not a bad idea, though honestly, I have never done it and have yet to fry a Blackfin board.  
 
Playing it safe, I would say that you might as well add resistors.  2.7k is probably a good size.
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #32 - 03/20/08 at 12:53am
 
Hello all, I will post this question here as prompted by admin.
 
 
I want to combine the blackfin board with the lynxmotion tri-track which will also have a gripper attached.  
   Thing is in this robot journal page with photos I have seen that someone did exactly that but without a gripper. I had chosen the lynxmotion chassis since it is known to support grippers. My problem is that in that journal I linked above the blackfin was placed exactly where the rotating board of the gripper would be as can be seen in thispicture.
   So ... since I am not an expert about the hardware side of things, I was wondering if anyone could give me a tip or and advice. Is such a thing possible. Could I do it? If so where should I try to put the blackfin.
 
Again I insist that I am not very comfortable with hardware yet, and I want it to mess a lot with the programming side of it, hence the barrage of questions about the placing of the blackfin. Thanks in  
advance for any answers.
So my problem is if I was to get the tritrack chassis with the arm and the rotating thing. where could I put the blackfin board? Do you think there could be space in the back?
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #33 - 03/30/08 at 10:37pm
 
I replied via PM but heres some other ideas..  
 
Right now I current have all my batteries and RC guys inside the tritrack, plenty of room for 2x 2100 lipo and spectrum rx. Originally before I got the blackfin I had a servo in the hole with a small turret.. My current project is to relocate the blackfin board to the inside and run a tether cable between board and camera, and have camera on ptz..
 
 
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #34 - 07/17/08 at 3:28pm
 
I know how I can connect to sabertooth Blackfin thanks roberto
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #35 - 03/05/09 at 11:03pm
 
Can anybody help me on this one?
 
Tried to hook my 2x5 sabertooth as osmogr suggested-
"I took a standard servo wire, and removed the black wire from the plug side, and plugged the red/white into the pins 7-8 of the blackfin 32pin bus. Black pin went to pin2 GND. These were connected to drive S1 (white, pin7 of bf, left side motor), S2 (red, pin8, right side motor). Black wire went to GND of sabertooth.  
 
Blackfin____________________Saber Tooth 2x10  
Pin2   <--------Black-------------> GND  
Pin7   <--------White-------------> S1  
Pin8   <--------Red---------------> S2  
 
 
I also confirmed that switch 4 of the Sabertooth needs to be in OFF position to support differential (non mixed drive). I configured a "elevon" mix on my RC radio side, and things are happy."
 
But had a major board fry somewhere on the matchport or svs green board.  Both camera boards work seperately in the right side but both do not work on the left side. Below are some pictures of how i has them set-up. Black-> 0V, Red ->S1, Yellow ->S2.
Any ideas?
 

 

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« Last Edit: 03/06/09 at 6:53am by admin »  
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #36 - 03/06/09 at 7:25am
 
The document I have for Sabertooth 2x10 has different connections, so I can't tell for certain.
 
Does the left Blackfin start working again if you remove the connections to the Sabertooth ?
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #37 - 03/06/09 at 3:55pm
 
The left blackfin was only showing a dimly lit led with connections removed. However, now it seems to have lossed all power to everything...
 
Is it possible to order the svs board only (minus matchport and camera boards)?
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Re: driving other motor controllers from the Black
Reply #38 - 03/06/09 at 4:07pm
 
Yes - send an email to support@surveyor.com to work out the details.
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