Frequently Asked Questions

*      How do I buy RoboCom or the MVRobot IDE?


*      How do I Install RoboCom or MVRobot?


*      What Version of Windows should I have?


*      Why are RoboCom’s moves relative and MVRobot's absolute?


*      How do I teach postions in MVRobot?


*      How do I use the help system in MVRobot?


*      How do I use the RoboCOM Windows Object?


*      What precautions should I take to protect my robot against programming errors?


*      What causes my Rhino’s axes to ‘run away’ randomly?


How do I buy Robocom or the MVRobot IDE?


Click the ‘Add to Cart' PayPal buttons on the Educational Robotics Web Page


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How Do I install the software?

Both Robocom and MVRobot are distributed as .MSI windows installer programs sent in a compressed (.zip) folder via e-mail. Expand the folder and click on Install.exe. The Robocom Windows component is self-registering.


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What Windows version is required?

RoboCom was developed in native X86 on Windows XP, and should run happily in NT and Win2K. RoboCom doesn’t use .NET so all COM enabled WIN OS’s will support the interface methods.


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Why are RoboCom’s moves relative, and MVRobot’s absolute?

Robocom has internal registers that keep track of each axis’ position away from 0 (home) incrementally, while the Robot Commander IDE, using Robocom, has the math built in to translate absolute positions into relative moves. Notice that RoboCom’s move command syntax is MoveR, (see Win Component View in VBA) While Robot Commander’s move syntax is MoveS (see IDE Screen Shots).


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How do I teach postions in MVRobot?


Follow this link to the Teaching robot locations in the MVRobot IDE page.


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How do I use the MVRobot help system?

Click on the help button on the main menu, or type F1. To view the help system here, follow this link: View the MVRobot IDE Help System


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How do I use the RoboCOM WIndows Object?

For a guide on including RoboCOM in an MS Office (or other COM-aware applications), follow this link: Including RoboCOM in an Excel VBA module


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What Precautions should I take to protect my Robot?


Robocom has extensive ‘stuck’ axes protection, but the Robot should be well anchored to a work surface as large reaches can easily cause the center of gravity to extend beyond the small base and tip the robot, potentially damaging the exposed encoders or other components. In addition, be sure to understand which directions represent ‘up’ for each axis. MVRobot default directions are +++++-++ (finger close, wrist CW, wrist up, elbow up, shoulder up, base CW, G, H) as seen from above and behind the robot.  Not all robots, even from the same manufacturer are wired the same. Use the Teach command to determine if the default directions result in the expected motions before homing the robot. If your robot axes’ motions differ from the default, use the Calibrate command in each of your programs to reset the defaults or change the polarity of the motor wires and invert the encoder disc on the offending axi(e)s.


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What causes my Rhino’s axes to run away randomly?

Older Rhinos’ uncovered encoder wheels are sensitive to stray IR from the surrounding environment.


If the axes stop moving when an encoder wheel is held, but run away when a new move is commanded, then an IR TX/RX pair may be damaged. You can replace the encoder TX/RX pair with LiteOn LTE-4206 (TX) and LTR-4206E (RX) IR LED’s from DigiKey.


Note that the dark LiteOn LED is the receiver, while on early Rhinos the transmitter LED was dark.


Data Sheet IR LED (tx)         Data Sheet Opto Transistor (rx)


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Last revised: 11/8/2009