Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Operations Manual

The instructuions for the robot in its current state, which might actually work.

  1. The robot has two batteries, one for running the motors and one for running the controller. Make sure that both are charged. Use the motor battery charger to charge the motor battery. The battery may get hot during a charge, so its instructions say to charge it outside the vehicle. The controller may be charged either with the 5V/3.3V FTDI cable plugged into its jack, or with a USB MiniB plugged into the jack on the Loginator. Only do one of these, and don't try to charge with a 3.3V FTDI module.
  2. Make sure that the SD cards are in place. The Loginator card is the 16GB red/gray Sandisk card. It is a good idea to format it (backing up old data first, of course). Make sure that it has the proper CONFIG.TXT for the course. 'make format' will do both of these things. The camera card can be formatted using the menu of the camera.
  3. Set the switches as follows: SW1 (GPS TX->Loginator RX) is ON, SW2 (FTDI TX->Loginator RX) is OFF, SW3 (Boostrap mode) is ON.
  4. Make sure the GPS is in lock. You should see the red PPS light on the GPS interface blink once per second.
  5. Turn on the Loginator. You will see the light blink green or cyan, as the GPS and bootloader try and fail to talk to each other.
  6. Switch SW3 to OFF. This will boot the robot into the main firmware the next time that the controller is reset
  7. Turn on the motor power by sliding the switch forward. The green light on the ESC should blink but then stay off. If the steering is off-center, manually turn the wheels to center.
  8. Take the robot to the starting line. Approach the line from behind, and walk for several seconds in the direction the robot needs to go for the first leg. This sets the GPS heading appropriately.
  9. Set the robot on the line.
  10. Turn on the camera and start recording.
  11. At the starting signal, push the RESET button. This will boot the robot and it will take off within 2-4 seconds.
  12. When the robot comes to a halt, either due to finishing or to hitting an obstacle, turn the motor power off by sliding the switch backwards.
  13. Turn off the Loginator.
  14. Stop recording on the camera and turn it off.
  15. Remove the card, plug it into a computer, and copy the data from the card on to the host computer
  16. Use extractPacket and a spreadsheet to analyze the data. Use the NMEA files produced to drop into Google Earth for map visualization.
  17. Pull the MicroSD card from the camera and copy the results to the host.
The intended startup is slightly different:

  1. Make sure both batteries are charged as above.
  2. Make sure the SD cards are in place as above.
  3. Set the switches to SW1 ON, SW2 OFF, SW3 OFF (changed from above). We will bring the robot up into the main firmware, because it won't go until we push a button.
  4. Make sure the GPS is in lock as above.
  5. Turn on the Loginator as above. The red light for the LED should come on also, which means that the light will blink red/white. This is not an error condition - Those are indicated by a red or blue light blinking out a blink code at one second on, one second off. The robot is now recording GPS and inertial measurements, and actively sending zero throttle and steering commands.
  6. SW3 will already be off.
  7. Turn the motor on as above. It should center the steering automatically, and the drive wheels should not spin. The green light on the ESC should be steady on.
  8. Take the robot to the starting line by any route. The robot will no longer use GPS heading to initialize
  9. Set the robot so that it is pointed as accurately as possible towards the first waypoint. The robot assumes that its initial heading is towards the first waypoint, and uses that as its initial reference.
  10. Turn on the camera and start recording as above. Do this at least 5 seconds before the start of the race. Any jiggling is in principle remembered forever and incorporated int Average G, but in practice is more than 99% forgotten after 2.5 seconds.
  11. At the starting signal, push the STOP button on the Loginator or the green button. Do this quickly, since if the robot is jiggling before half a second before you push the button, the robot will incorporate that jiggling into its average G. We don't want that.
  12. When the robot stops, turn the motor off as above.
  13. Turn off the Loginator as above.
  14. Stop camera recording as above.
  15. Read the log as above.
  16. Use the analysis tools as above.
  17. Copy the camera video as above.
To burn a new program into the robot

  1. Set SW1 to OFF and SW2 to ON. Don't let both SW1 and SW2 be on at the same time.
  2. Set SW3 to ON.
  3. Plug in the FTDI cord to its jack, paying attention to the colors. The black wire is closest to the corner. Make sure there is no USB cord plugged into the Loginator USB jack.
  4. Reset the robot by pushing RESET on the Loginator. The robot should come up in bootloader mode.
  5. Use 'make program' to program the robot.

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