Robots

WGM Consulting for microcontroller system design

8051 Microcontroller Software

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Some useful software for the 87C151SA  (or 87C51FA) microcontroller. Math8051 is  a library of 8-, 16- and 32-bit maths subroutines. The subroutines will work on any microcontroller with an 8051 core.
Robot Monitor/Loader source code MOUSEMON34 ASM 68 kb
Manual for MOUSEMON 3.4 Manual PDF 12 kb
Maths subroutines Math8051 ASM 37 kb
Manual for Maths subroutines Manual PDF 15 kb
PID control code fragment PID Code ASM 2 kb
George II

Mobile Robot (MicroMouse)

Click for a bigger image George II MicroMouse

Hardware and software for a small mobile robot. Control Model provides some simulation information.
MicroMouse robot control modelling Control Model PDF 48 kb
PID control for George II: a summary of a presentation given at MINOS '02 PID Control PDF 34 kb
IR Wall-Sensing Array for George II Front Sensor Board Sensor Array PDF 22 kb
Test software for wall-sensing array Sensor Software ASM 4 kb
RealRobots Cybot Projects
Improvements and add-ons for the URR Cybot Robot
Measuring distance/speed Cybot Odometry PDF 22 kb
Cy-Q - Replacement electronics board

A new single board to replace all the small Cybot boards has been designed is now at the prototype stage. It will be a 'plug-in replacement' taking Cybot from a toy to a serious research tool. An SMBus (I2C) connector to match that on the original Cybot processor boards is included. This should allow RR expansion boards to be plugged in if desired. These are the main features beyond those already on Cybot.

 

Click for a bigger imageCy-Q Prototype

*  A single powerful microcontroller chip, a Cygnal 8051F015 running a customised version of Forth programming language. The chip can also be programmed in 8051 assembler language allowing access to a large library of code. It has 32 kbytes of Flash program memory and 2.5 kbytes of data RAM. Peak throughput will be over 18 MIPs.

*  2 x extra Sonar channels

*  4 x short-range Infra-Red distance measuring channels. Can also be used for passive IR detection of the ball in Junior RoboCup football.

*  2 x wheel tachometer (odometry) interfaces.

*  2 x general purpose digital input/output lines.

*  2 x interrupt lines (e.g. for 'bumper' switches).

*  1 x analogue output. This could be used, for example, to drive an audio amplifier and loudspeaker providing sounds other than just 'beeps'.

*  Enhanced light detection (able to take level measurements).

*  Enhanced line following capability. Can now also be used for position sensing on a Junior RoboCup greyscale marked football pitch.

*  Motor speed variable in 256 steps.

*  Rechargeable batteries can be used.

 

Preliminary schematic for Cy-Q Vsn 1.7 Cy-Q PDF 88 kb
Cy-Q Progress

A light following function has been implemented so far to test out main functions such as motor control. The green board is the Cygnal development board containing only the processor. The length of stripboard mounted above it contains all the other chips and connectors for motors, sensors, etc. Sonar is now working using new transducers which provide much sharper beamwidth. The ribbon cable hanging out of the back in the picture is the JTAG link to the MCU chip from the PC-based development system. Programs are downloaded and debugged via this cable. Cybot's IR communications board has been interfaced and provides for remote control using a LEGO Mindstorms remote unit.

 

Click for a bigger imageCy-Q Prototype

Light Following Function

If Cybot senses no light above a programmed threshold, it does a 360o sweep on the spot until it finds a source. Once found it will head towards the source. The sensor outputs are subtracted to provide a proportional error signal: the sign indicates left or right turn and the magnitude determines how much the appropriate motor is slowed down to bring about the turn. Hence a light source dead ahead yields zero error and both motors go full speed forward. A light nearly sideways on will produce a large error and the motor on that side will almost stop, causing Cybot to slew round fast. Smaller errors produce smaller steering effects. If the light disappears, Cybot returns to sweep mode. Cybot uses its wheel tachometer to determine when it has turned a full circle.

Sonar

The sonar system is now working. The receiver circuit has been changed to give it extra sensitivity (See revised schematic Vsn 1.7 above). I had a big problem with the RR transducers: the beamwidth is so wide the transmitted pulse was being picked up by the receiver directly. I now use the HY12 type as sold by Maplin. They're bigger, but fit nicely on the outside of the front shield. The beamwidth is much narrower now, giving greater resolution. For instance a broomstick can be resolved at 1m range. The transmitter is just 'kicked' with a single 50 microsecond pulse. The transducer is a highly tuned device so it just responds by resonating at its natural frequency of 40 kHz for a few cycles.

Click for a bigger image Cy-Q New Sonar

The no-signal output of the second receiver transistor stage is about 2.7 volts. This signal is fed into the + side of a comparator on the MCU chip. The - input is connected to the 2.4 volt reference provided by the MCU. Hence an incoming signal needs to be greater than 300 mV at this point to trip the comparator. This provides some noise immunity. These odd voltages were chosen because both the MCU and the logic work off a 3.3 volt power supply. The sonar design could be used with a different MCU with the addition of a separate comparator chip and voltage reference.

 

IR Communications

The Cybot IR comms board plugs into a 5-way socket, and remote control using a LEGO handheld unit has been established. I used the LEGO unit because the RCX comms protocol is well documented and it didn't take long to figure out the significance of each of the 11 bytes transmitted when a button is pressed! Baud rate is 2400 with 8 data bits, odd parity bit and 1 stop bit. Like Cybot the motors can be driven forward and back by pressing buttons. Unlike Cybot however, these manual controls will overide any automatic program running. So if the robot gets stuck it can be driven out of trouble. Releasing the motor button returns Cy-Q to the original program.

 

NovaBot & NovaBot Junior

A Versatile Modular Mobile Robot

NovaBot is my latest project based on my experience with Cy-Q. This robot is very modular, sensor-rich and up to five can be chained together to give you anything from a 4WD articulated planet explorer to a caterpillar. It is based on a disc of perspex 17.6cm in diameter to keep it within the regulation size for RoboCup Junior football, and uses a pair of widely available plastic gearbox and motor sets, but with an 8-hole tachometer wheel added to each motor shaft.  It is completely symmetrical front-to-back with a castor at each end. These castors are detached when two or more are linked together. The main processor board follows the same symmetry with sensor/expansion 'stations' at each end and in the middle. The photo of the prototype (right) shows the IR comms board in the centre station and an LDR sensor board at the front.

Click for a bigger imageNovaBot prototype 1

NovaBot Junior has a less powerful MCU - a PIC 16F877 - but it can be wired up on stripboard as all the chips have DIP packages.
NovaBot Junior Part 1 NBJ Part 1 PDF 423 kb
NovaBot Junior base -  full-size template NBJBase Word 27 kb