How to connect?
Connecting the MyRobots Connect is very simple. You simply need to follow these steps:
- Plug the power adapter to the wall and to the MyRobots Connect
- Connect the MyRobots Connect to your router
- There is no step three, it's that easy. Now that you accomplished an important step in getting your robots in the cloud, we suggest you reward yourself by drinking some lemonade for instance.
If you are thinking "Wait, what do I do with a Serial-to-Ethernet gateway now? What is this serial thing anyway?", you are pretty smart!
The answer is simple, you can either use it with the compatible robots such as the DFRobotShop Rover, iRobot Roomba and the Neato XV Series, or you can program your robot or smart device to use the Open Serial Protocol on your own device. See the Arduino sample code in order to get started.
See the list of Compatible Hardware for more information.
The MyRobots Connect is a Serial-to-Ethernet gateway that connects directly to MyRobots.com. You can use it to make your dull, "not-connected" devices "smart" and "connected" with minimum of effort!
- Case dimensions: 90 x 36 x 25 mm
- Based on PIC18F67J60
- Includes an XBee Module
- Relays serial communication packets using the Open Serial Protocol to MyRobots.com
- 3.3V Operation
- 5V to 12V DC power input tolerance
- Programming port and GPIO pins available for Hackers
What does it do?
The MyRobots Connect is an Open-source Hardware (OSHW) module that uses a Microchip PIC18F67J60 to run a TCP-IP stack and communicate directly to the MyRobots.com Data Engine. It relays the serial commands received by an included XBee module using an Open Serial Protocol.
In short, the MyRobots Connect receives serial data and messages using the wireless XBee module and sends them to the MyRobot.com server using a standard internet connection.
The MyRobots Connect uses DHCP so connecting it to a router is a simple matter of plugging a network cable; no configuration required.
Once the MyRobots Connect receives a valid Open Serial Protocol message, it will determine if the message is intended to post the data to a robot feed, or to read the latest data from a feed.
In order to post data, the device forms an HTTP get using the MyRobots API and puts the relevant feeds to the corresponding channel. This operation takes about a second to be completed; during this time, the MyRobots Connect will ignore incoming serial messages.
In order to read data, the device forms an HTTP get using the MyRobots API and retrieved the single latest robot feed values. Once the values are obtained, they are formed into a serial message ans sent back to the robot using the Open Serial Protocol as a write command. This operation takes about 3 seconds to be completed; during this time, the MyRobots Connect will ignore incoming serial messages.
There are no automatic acknowledgements of the HTTP gets being successful. In the case where serial messages collide or are corrupted, they will be ignored.
Should the device have connectivity or any other type of problems that would delay its activities for more than 5 seconds, it will reset itself in order go back to regular operations. On boot, it takes 2 seconds in general in order to obtain an IP address and become operational.
What is included in the package?
- MyRobots Connect main board
- Plastic Enclosure (assembled around the main board)
- Red Cat 6 Network Cable
- XBee module (installed on the MyRobots Connect main board)
- Wall Adapter
If this is open Source, where can I get the source Files?
The MyRobots Connect can be used as a development platform for the PIC18F67J60. You simply need to use an ICSP programmer and add some headers to ease the connection. You can find the board features details and the schematics in the Gallery Section
Once the MyRobots Connect is connected to your network you can access its internal page by typing "myrobots" into your browser address bar, this should map to its IP address.
By clicking in the "Configuration" menu item, you can access the configuration page that will display the network information. This page is password protected under the following credentials:
User Name: admin Password: myrobots
These settings should not need to be changed but you could need to adjust them to your network needs.
What to buy?
There are many ways to get a MyRobots Connect, the easiest (legal) way is to buy it from RobotShop.
Besides the MyRobots Connect, you will need an actual robot or a sensor node. You have several options to get started:
- The DFRobotShop Rover XBee Kit
- An Arduino microcontroller + an IO Expansion Shield (or other microcontroller connected to an XBee Series 1) and as many sensors as you want.