For awhile ago I got lucky and won a TRC contest. Due to some production issues the prize became very delayed. Making a long story short I finally got the prize at January this year. It was worth the waiting though, since TR was kind enough to send me a 18x AX-18A based PhantomX hexapod robot!
To be honest, my first impression of how it performed using the standard code was not good. The overall performance couldn’t match the Phoenix hexapod. Especially when it comes to smooth movement.
Luckily, my friend Kurt Eckhardt had just bought a PhantomX. Since we both have a lot of experience of working with Jeroen Janssen’s (aka Xan) Phoenix code written for Basic Atom Pro microcontroller, it became more natural to continue using this code. When it comes to programming, my skills are very far from either Kurt or Jeroen’s skills, but I love to play along! So it was a great relief that Kurt decided to port the original Phoenix code over to C for making it work on the ArbotiX board. You can read about Kurt’s work in this thread. I’ve had a lot of fun playing along!
Oh, one thing. I can’t say this enough. If there is one person who really deserve lots of credit, my friend Jeroen Janssen is the man! For me this hobby got a lot more interesting from the day he released the Phoenix code.
In Kurt’s thread I posted about some hardware modifications like giving the tibia more freedom and making it easier to replace the LiPo battery. Being able the to replace the battery is very convenient since the AX-18′s drain the battery pretty fast.
One of the first thing that struck my mind when I saw the PhantomX hexapod is that it is 100% symmetric. That combined with the servos 300 deg of travel range made it a perfect for upside down walking. By adding a sensor (accelerometer) it became a relative easy task.
A few days ago I managed to fix the balance mode. While doing this I was visiting my parents who live in the wilderness (more or less.. LOL). You see, the balance mode combined with tripple 16 gait (a modified tripod gait) make the robot very capable for crawling outdoor without the need for any sensors on the legs. So I decide to take the hex into the forest for some pics:
PhantomX together with the XBee based DIY remote:
After playing in the forest for a little while I decided to shoot a new video. (Official youtube video).