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ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Discussion about deployment systems including altimeters, timers, air speed flaps, servo systems, and chemical reactions.
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ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby U.S. Water Rockets1 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:29 pm

U.S. Water Rockets proudly presents the first firmware update for their exceptionally popular ServoChron(tm) Servo Timer Parachute Recovery Controller. The new firmware update effectively doubles the functionality of the Original $4.30 ServoChron(tm), and it can all be yours for the incredibly low-low price of FREE!

ServoChron™ 2 Features:
· Dual servo control
· Built on ultra-affordable MSP430 LaunchPad Platform ($4.30)
· Operates on 3.7V-10V DC. You may use various power sources from a single lightweight Lithium Polymer rechargeable cell up to a standard 9V battery.
· User defined servo positions for each servo
· User programmable delay for each servo from 0.000 to 30.000 seconds in 1 millisecond increments
· USB Firmware update (with included cable! No special programming hardware to buy!)
· Edge sensitive trigger input with automatic polarity detect
· Trigger input capable of sensing contact open or close events shorter than 10 nanoseconds
· Innovative 2-button operator interface with easy to remember setup
· 3 Status LEDs
· UART (Serial) diagnostics mode
· Dimensions: 2.0 x 2.6 inches (50.80 x 66.04 mm)
· Weight : 0.635 oz (18 grams)
· Includes testing and arming operational modes
· Fully RoHS compliant. Contains legal levels of lead and hazardous materials
· Revised and improved instructions!

Purchasing information:
The ServoChron™ 2 firmware costs NOTHING including FREE Download. WO:

You will need to purchase your own MSP430 LaunchPad board, servos, and battery. See the assembly
section of the user manual for full parts list and prices. The total Bill of Materials for a complete dual deploy system,
assembled, and ready to fly will be approximately $15US.


To see the ServoChron™ 2 in action, check out the youtube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_C4v0zYUuY


To download the ServoChron™ 2 firmware, click the following link:
http://www.uswaterrockets.com/shared/Se ... _V2.00.zip

To read the newly enhanced and revised ServoChron™ 2 user manual, click the following link:
http://www.uswaterrockets.com/shared/Se ... l_V101.pdf

In closing, we would like to thank everyone in the community for their feedback and suggestions. We believe that this new update will address the comments we have received. Thanks for the feedback! TH:


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby Mike J96 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:30 am

Nice job guys TI: TI: TI:

Did you guys know that with that other timer they make you buy another whole timer if you want to control 2 servos (around $80). BO: BO: BO:

That could really add up to a lot of $$$. DOH: DOH: DOH:

Are you guys going to keep improving this???? :?: :?:

Thanks for producing such a low cost deployment servo controller/timer. TH:

Thanks for producing such easy to follow instructions. TH: TH: TH:

Mike RAT: RAT: RAT: RAT: RAT: RAT: RAT:


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby Tim Chen » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:14 pm

Nice work guys! Thanks for making this available! I look forward to future firmware updates with even more features!


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby dutchwaterrocket » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:10 am

no problem at all ;D
but do you know what can cause this problem i have with my servo's?
or is uswaterrockets2 the technician?
I hope you know a way to get it working for me =)
this is the best and cheapest way of deploying a parachute so far!

Thanks for all the great help so far =D

René


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby U.S. Water Rockets2 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:39 pm

dutchwaterrocket wrote:no problem at all ;D
but do you know what can cause this problem i have with my servo's?
or is uswaterrockets2 the technician?
I hope you know a way to get it working for me =)
this is the best and cheapest way of deploying a parachute so far!

Thanks for all the great help so far =D

René


It sounds like even the corrected wiring still did not correct your problem. We can try and work through it together. Here are some questions:

Have you gone through the process of setting the Home and Deployed position for both servos and setting a time for both servos? If you have not done this yet, then the program does not yet have all the parameters needed to function and it will not try to move the servos until the positions and times have been completely set.

If you have configured all the positions and time delays, then the following tests will help diagnose the problem:

Do your servos move at all or wiggle when you power up?

Try to manually move the servo to the center location with power off and then power it back up and report if it moves to another angle with power applied.

Try this and report what happens.

Thanks!


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby dutchwaterrocket » Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:04 am

U.S. Water Rockets2 wrote:
dutchwaterrocket wrote:no problem at all ;D
but do you know what can cause this problem i have with my servo's?
or is uswaterrockets2 the technician?
I hope you know a way to get it working for me =)
this is the best and cheapest way of deploying a parachute so far!

Thanks for all the great help so far =D

René


It sounds like even the corrected wiring still did not correct your problem. We can try and work through it together. Here are some questions:

Have you gone through the process of setting the Home and Deployed position for both servos and setting a time for both servos? If you have not done this yet, then the program does not yet have all the parameters needed to function and it will not try to move the servos until the positions and times have been completely set.

If you have configured all the positions and time delays, then the following tests will help diagnose the problem:

Do your servos move at all or wiggle when you power up?

Try to manually move the servo to the center location with power off and then power it back up and report if it moves to another angle with power applied.

Try this and report what happens.

Thanks!



hi,

as far i could, i've configured all the positions and delays. But it's just doing something cause i can't see my servos moving.
I powered it up today and again, the servos moved wiggle. But that was it, after that nothing. and that happends only sometimes. most of the time they do nothing.

I have turned the servos to a position but they still do nothing :( but they make a bit buzzing noise. I don't know what it is, but atleast the have power XD

I hope this is what you needed to know =)
today i'm going on vacation. i'm not here for 3 weeks. I might have wifi but it's not sure

Thanks for everything! :D

René


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby U.S. Water Rockets1 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:19 pm

dutchwaterrocket wrote:
U.S. Water Rockets2 wrote:
dutchwaterrocket wrote:no problem at all ;D
but do you know what can cause this problem i have with my servo's?
or is uswaterrockets2 the technician?
I hope you know a way to get it working for me =)
this is the best and cheapest way of deploying a parachute so far!

Thanks for all the great help so far =D

René


It sounds like even the corrected wiring still did not correct your problem. We can try and work through it together. Here are some questions:

Have you gone through the process of setting the Home and Deployed position for both servos and setting a time for both servos? If you have not done this yet, then the program does not yet have all the parameters needed to function and it will not try to move the servos until the positions and times have been completely set.

If you have configured all the positions and time delays, then the following tests will help diagnose the problem:

Do your servos move at all or wiggle when you power up?

Try to manually move the servo to the center location with power off and then power it back up and report if it moves to another angle with power applied.

Try this and report what happens.

Thanks!



hi,

as far i could, i've configured all the positions and delays. But it's just doing something cause i can't see my servos moving.
I powered it up today and again, the servos moved wiggle. But that was it, after that nothing. and that happends only sometimes. most of the time they do nothing.

I have turned the servos to a position but they still do nothing :( but they make a bit buzzing noise. I don't know what it is, but atleast the have power XD

I hope this is what you needed to know =)
today i'm going on vacation. i'm not here for 3 weeks. I might have wifi but it's not sure

Thanks for everything! :D

René



Hello Rene,

The behavior of the servos as you power up the LaunchPad and work through the configuration steps is helpful, but it would still be very helpful to see a photo of your setup or even a video of what it is doing.

You mentioned that you modified your wiring to the 5V compatible setup, but you did not mention what you are using for a battery at this time. The battery needs to have the proper current to power two servos.

You can also try installing one servo and then the other and checking to see if either of them works alone. It may simply be that one of your servos is malfunctioning and drawing too much current. Isolating them and testing with them one at a time will determine if there's a bad one.

With nearly 200 downloads and counting, there must be someone out there using the same type of servo as you, so if anyone is reading this with the same servo motors, perhaps they could help.

Perhaps we should have the administrator set up a topic for troubleshooting so that we can have this topic available for announcements such as the revised wiring diagram and new features. If there are a lot of posts in this topic people might skim over it and not see the new diagram.


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby 86-Z » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:22 pm

Hi Everyone,

My name is Mark and I am an amature storm chaser. I just built my first servochron and whated to complemment the designers on such a great invention. My use for it is to attempt to record HD video from within a tornado. I have designed probes which I am going to drop in the path of a tornado. The circulation will then draw them into the air while a camera inside films. The servochron fit the bill perfectly (low cost and controlling two servos). I constructed it using the youtube vodeo and used the recommended parts list. It works beautifly! WO: . The launch detect activates the fiirst servo (which activates the shutter button on the camera, then after a set time the second servo activates a parachute (thanks to the tutorials on this forum for ideas for that too). I also had looked at the servo controller that someone has for sale in this thread viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1588 and came to the conclusion that the price $39 was too steep and that you would need to daisy chain two of them to do what I needed ($39 X 2). That adds up quickly when I am planning on building 20 probes and expect to "lose a few" in the countryside.

Thank you TH: for designing such a low cost servo controller. I'll make sure I mention you guys and the servochron when my videos get published. PH:


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby U.S. Water Rockets2 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:24 pm

86-Z wrote:Hi Everyone,

My name is Mark and I am an amature storm chaser. I just built my first servochron and whated to complemment the designers on such a great invention. My use for it is to attempt to record HD video from within a tornado. I have designed probes which I am going to drop in the path of a tornado. The circulation will then draw them into the air while a camera inside films. The servochron fit the bill perfectly (low cost and controlling two servos). I constructed it using the youtube vodeo and used the recommended parts list. It works beautifly! WO: . The launch detect activates the fiirst servo (which activates the shutter button on the camera, then after a set time the second servo activates a parachute (thanks to the tutorials on this forum for ideas for that too). I also had looked at the servo controller that someone has for sale in this thread viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1588 and came to the conclusion that the price $39 was too steep and that you would need to daisy chain two of them to do what I needed ($39 X 2). That adds up quickly when I am planning on building 20 probes and expect to "lose a few" in the countryside.

Thank you TH: for designing such a low cost servo controller. I'll make sure I mention you guys and the servochron when my videos get published. PH:



That's really cool!!!!

You're not related to the guys on that "Stornchasers" series? They have probes they launch using an air cannon. We were thinking of contacting them with some ideas for using Water Rockets instead. They were having problems with the air cannon probes getting blown into the ground by the wind and we think that they could get a lot more altitude with a water rocket probe. That should get them over the layer of air that is pushing the air cannon probes into the surface.

Thanks for the feedback and the comments! We love to hear from you!


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby DrossMaker » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:40 pm

USRW:
I want to thank you for making this great product available for us to use. I am really impressed with the quality of the work you have put into this design. The only thing I am confused about is the part where you mention a "UART Diagnostics Mode". I see activity on the TXD pad on the MSP430 Launch Pad so I suspect that I need an adapter to hook it up to an RS232 port. Is there a cable or something I need to get? I couldn't find anything about this in your documentation. Thanks once more for making this fine product!

Regards,
Wally


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby U.S. Water Rockets2 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:01 pm

DrossMaker wrote:USRW:
I want to thank you for making this great product available for us to use. I am really impressed with the quality of the work you have put into this design. The only thing I am confused about is the part where you mention a "UART Diagnostics Mode". I see activity on the TXD pad on the MSP430 Launch Pad so I suspect that I need an adapter to hook it up to an RS232 port. Is there a cable or something I need to get? I couldn't find anything about this in your documentation. Thanks once more for making this fine product!

Regards,
Wally


Thanks for the feedback, Wally! You are a pretty clever detective! We were wondering when someone would inquire about the UART Diagnostics.

The UART Diagnostics mode provides text output of all the various settings and also prints error codes to the UART not present on the MSP430G2231 using a software only UART function. We're documenting the feature and will update here when complete.

We're very happy that you like the ServoChron(tm) project!

Stay Tuned!


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby Team Seneca » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:42 pm

Do you support servo operation at the same time as software UART? If so then much respect to you!

Hopefully, you guys will keep adding features and improving and will avoid the temptation to start selling these things and then strip off features so that you force people to buy more of them from you! That's not very nice.


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Re: ServoChron(tm) Firmware Update (Dual servo control)

Postby U.S. Water Rockets » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:29 am

Team Seneca wrote:Do you support servo operation at the same time as software UART? If so then much respect to you!

Hopefully, you guys will keep adding features and improving and will avoid the temptation to start selling these things and then strip off features so that you force people to buy more of them from you! That's not very nice.


Rest assured, we have no plans to sell the ServoChron(tm) products, but we are intrigued to learn what would prompt you to inquire about it in such a curious manner. :?:


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UART Diagnostics Mode

Postby U.S. Water Rockets1 » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:03 pm

U.S. Water Rockets is pleased to announce the release of the next version of the ServoChron™ 2 User Manual!

This new version includes the instructions for enabling the UART Diagnostics Mode discussed previously in this forum. With this feature, you will be able to get a complete diagnostic printout of all the settings and error codes enever you run your ServoChron™ 2!

The latest documentation can be downloaded from http://www.uswaterrockets.com/shared/Se ... l_V102.pdf

To enable the UART Diagnostics Mode, you will need to download the MSP430 Application UART Drivers from the following link: http://www.uswaterrockets.com/shared/MS ... rivers.zip

We appreciate all of the support and suggestions and are pleased that so many people have come up with so many innovative designs based on the ServoChron™!

Thanks for the support!


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Re: UART Diagnostics Mode

Postby Tim Chen » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:30 am

U.S. Water Rockets1 wrote:U.S. Water Rockets is pleased to announce the release of the next version of the ServoChron™ 2 User Manual!

This new version includes the instructions for enabling the UART Diagnostics Mode discussed previously in this forum. With this feature, you will be able to get a complete diagnostic printout of all the settings and error codes enever you run your ServoChron™ 2!

The latest documentation can be downloaded from http://www.uswaterrockets.com/shared/Se ... l_V102.pdf

To enable the UART Diagnostics Mode, you will need to download the MSP430 Application UART Drivers from the following link: http://www.uswaterrockets.com/shared/MS ... rivers.zip

We appreciate all of the support and suggestions and are pleased that so many people have come up with so many innovative designs based on the ServoChron™!

Thanks for the support!



Your Diagnostics idea is very cool! I bet only professional altimeters for pyro rockets have anything like this! Great concept!

FYI, the instructions for installing the driver worked on my Vista PC, but my laptop has XP and I was able to skip most of the steps and just click "install driver" when selecting the driver with the right button and bringing up the context menu. It just installed completely that way. In Vista I tried the same thing and it said it could not install that way, so I followed the steps in the manual and it installed that way just fine. I don't know the difference.


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