Maxwell Lives!

Or more precisely, Maxwell communicates and walks!

It took about an hour of cable switching and software diddling, but I finally managed to get my desktop computer talking to Maxwell via the serial cable. I could see the serial port at the operating system level, but the Parallax software didn't seem to see it. I decided to brute force it by manually entering port numbers until it saw the Basic Stamp. I entered port 1 as my first input, and like magic everything started working.

From that point on every thing went very smoothly. I built a couple of simple circuits on the BOE breadboard, just to make sure that things were working, then tried to hook up the Parallax servo. At first the servo plug wouldn't fit into the socket. On close inspection I found that there was still a small plastic stub on the servo connector, probably left from the manufacturing process. A little plastic trimming, and the plug went into the socket like a breeze.

I started with the servotest program exactly as it is described in the manual, and it worked fine - which was very encouraging. Then I switched over to the Rogue Robot supplied servos that will be used to drive the wheels. Of course I proceeded very carefully - testing each servo by itself before I developed a confidence level that it was all going to work out okay.

A few minutes later I had both of the wheels going - first just spinning in the air, then later walking on the ground and/or dining table. From that point it was a piece of cake to get Maxwell moving around the desktop. First just one wheel, then both moving together - forward, backward, clockwise, counter clockwise.

Download Maxwell001.wmv (200k)

You might also enjoy:

  1. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back…
  2. Maxwell – A Robot's Genesis
  3. Initial Robot Assembly
  4. Musing about Mazes
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