BAD Meccanoid BAD

April -3 2017

A couple days ago I mentioned that the Meccanoid G15 firmware update was available and said that “Set Alarm” hidden function wasn’t available.
Yesterday if you believe the Post Date. Ha.

booboooo

I found it.

To my dismay.

Is still under settings but responds under the voice function “Adjust Volume”.

Meccanoid responds “Set Alarm”.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SET ALARM.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SET A L.I.M FOR THE ALARM.

Attempting to set alarm will result in all kinds of craziness.
Setting an L.I.M for alarm will put a non-erasable L.I.M. in your library.
The only way to get rid of it is to download new 2.7 firmware again and do a full wipe.
A negative side to the new “Robot Updater” is that it won’t allow you to load the last firmware. Maybe it’s because the older one is no longer available on-site. I don’t know.

Sarcasm mode ACTIVATED:

NICE ONE GUYS!!!! Just FREAKIN awesome.

Sarcasm mode partially END.

Oh the shame.

In case your wondering:
“SET ALARM” voice command does nothing.
You’ll be stuck at whatever volume you set until this is fixed.
I have TWO G15 Meccabrain and they both have this new problem.
I didn’t try the G15KS version firmware mainly because I’m not set up for KS.

If you do manage to set the alarm it will stay there and Meccanoid will not allow you to remove it. NOT even after re-flash firmware.

>>> Loud Sigh <<<<<

outtahere

Laters.

G15 Dino

IMG_20170326_031832April -01 2017
Finally got around to building the Meccanoid G15 Dino variant.
The plans are on Meccano site under instructions .

It is at least as cute as humanoid version. Roughly same build time. Maybe a little less.
Noteworthy if Building Dino from already constructed G15 is that it’s not needed to completely disassemble servos. ONLY down to the Yellow rotating bracket. Servo motor, motor mount and white cylinder case stay together. Legs can stay together too.

If your clever you can keep the legs attached feet motors and just remove cross brace.  Saves some time.

IMG_20170320_034357

Tricky points are back bone/carrying handle and left/right head servo wire. Instructions may be a little vague on backbone. Takes a little bit of force to push into place then put a screw in it on the “tail” servo box and there will be some stress on the LED plate up front. Once in place stiffens Dino up and makes for great Dino Carrying Handle.

IMG_20170320_034339
The left/right head servo wire is too tight if you try to route it as shown; though it will fit.  Find the easier and less stressed path.

IMG_20170326_032428
Wired by instructions.
IMG_20170320_034408
What?

Dino has limited functionality without Meccanoid App. Meccabrain must be switched to ‘Drone Mode’ for Dino. Same for any of your own creations. This will limit voice commands but not L.I.M. Meccanoid App Rag_Doll and Avatar don’t work but Slider and Behavior modes do.
Meccabrain looks for the Robot Mode configuration of servos but only in Robot Mode.. If not available then Meccanoid will respond with ” Module_Name is disconnected” if not where it should be or “That’s not where that Goes” if it’s not in the slot it should be in. Module_Name being servo or LED out of place or missing. Is coolest part of assembling Robot. Hard to mess up routing of wire. Dino and any other creations using Drone Mode presently don’t have this feature.
In Robot mode the cables can be connected and disconnected with power on and Meccanoid will update telling you if wiring is not right.
This excludes the foot motors and of course if you disconnect the battery nothing is going to happen. You can also change back and forth from Drone Mode to Robot mode without shutting Meccabrain power off.

IMG_20170320_034820
My that’s a tasty looking battery you got there.

HINT and HELP: If you rename your robot and it doesn’t respond to name you can press any of the Meccabrain buttons to get the robot to listen mode. It’s eyes change color indicating Menu selection and not listening for it’s name.
Then you Change the name again and/or try another name. This might help get Meccanoid’s attention in noisy environments as well.
RAnTinG:
Big butt battery pack problem persists. Worstened in G15 Dino’s instance. Weight on caster wheels instead of drive wheels. Teeter -tottering due to weight being in back and some up front Slips wheels excessively especially in left turn and right turn. Go forward only and your good. Not really No. Not as much. Going slow in behavior mode works.
I used my version of a 5S pack attached cross bar between legs . Removed but pack and clears up most of problem. A better place for C cell pack would be between the legs but need longer screws or possibly duct tape. Quack.

IMG_20170320_034249-m

Apparently the site (Meccano) has undergone some revision towards the newer Meccanoid 2.0. Including the availability of Meccabrain 2.0. Listing about 50$USD. Allowing G15 owners an upgrade path.
I guess. Other than a revised voice control menu-ing system and a few more games and Trivia. I don’t see it. 2.0 Meccabrain has more SPI memory and so can store more data. How much more is useable by the end user? Don’t know yet. In theory should allow more L.I.M. storage. Most likely taken up by extended vocabulary and new Games, Trivia. Unfounded theory and speculation. Don’t have 2.0 yet. G15 has more servo slots that are not present on 2.0 AKA G16.

The G15and KS building plans are still available however the G15 and KS are no longer on their own pages and have been moved to a comparison chart. You’ll need to go to : http://www.meccano.com/instructions select keyword search and enter “G15” in Reference box. Dino plans and original G15/KS Robot plans should show up.

The newest version firmware is 2.7. Get it. It has a few extras including voice commands:
What Time is It
Play A Game
Dance With Me
Hug Me
and the battery Level display is back on App start up.
Hidden command “set alarm” seems to have gone.

Tangent sort of:
Meccasaur coolness. Toddler walker linkage bar setup. Doesn’t really stomp around.   More like a graceless shuffle. Does roar good. Uses a light sensor to detect movement in guard mode. Not exactly a trip point setup. Need to set light source on side opposite Meccasaur across pathway you plan to monitor. Works best in darkened room with single light source.
That is: Meccasuar== > Pathway <=== Light Bulb
In other words: a shadow must be cast over the sensor to activate.

IMG_20170326_032303

Anyhow I like the brow ridge and eyes on Meccasaur better.  Lose the Dino big eyes.

Later.

End for Now.

Meccanoid G15 Brain Surgery

Oh the Horror

Not exactly Brain Surgery.  It is a brain of sorts.

Having trouble with the clock not holding time since day one I knew I’d have to replace the clock battery sooner or later, or so I thought.  Ha.

After updating the firmware flash and downloading the new App; the clock not functioning is now an issue because the drag and drop “behavior” programming has a use for it.  There’s also a hidden function in ‘settings’ menu that allows setting an alarm.  Woo hoo.  I was thinking that would be a nice function about a year ago.  Scary.

I had it apart once before but only for cursory examination  to check the board to see if it was indeed the one that had a clock battery and not a third farad capacitor.  Sure enough it had a battery hard soldered.  Not having an extra one of that type or any other suitable replacement to be soldered in I quickly slapped it back together without much further examination.

Oooops.   Ya.   Assumptions and all that.  Take a look.  Nice solder job.  NOT.

g15-controller-4

Can you see it?  Just above the clock chip.  No?  Look closer to battery to the right of “C24”.

g15-controller-5-1
Somethings aren’t better at higher res just uglier.

How about now?

g15-controller-7-1
Magic.  All purty like.

You know when you give a people a bowl a rice a day and work for 14 or more hours this happens.  I’m just saying.  I could be wrong, but given that the vast majority of chips on this board are China Mart , probably not.

There were some other nice pieces of solder slag laying on the board.  I’ve become accustomed to checking boards from overseas manufacturers.  Not only China.  Please don’t think I’m picking on China.  Many manufacturers produce quality products cheaply.  This is not one of those.  Lots of nice cold solder joints too.

g15-controller-6
Short waiting to happen.

Here’s one the larger pieces for example.  Doesn’t look like much but was laying across traces next to the blob.  The black blob is the CPU/MCU.  It didn’t appear to be attached by anything other green protectant paint layer.  Most were like that and smaller.  Not cool.

Checked the clock battery at 2.85VDC,  not great but good enough for a while.  Not worthy of a replace.    Cleaned up what I thought I should and put it back together.  FWIW that solder slab was shorting to clock crystal to one of the clock IC pins.  The clock does work now.  However the Firmware /ROM has issues.  More on that laters.  ONE Down.  Pencil in another dozen problems.  Sigh.    A few more pics for ya:

g15-controller-3g15-controller-2g15-controller-1

 

New Meccanoid App

Well there’s a new App out for Meccano Meccanoid.  Yeah!!!!

It looks like we finally get to do some real programming on the cell/tablet directed at Meccanoid. Not only VCR style but actually have decision, timer,  input and loops.  No desktop version yet.  If App didn’t run on your device before it probably still won’t.  Sincerest sympathies.

I haven’t got to play with new programming section yet but be sure the whining and criticism will arrive.  Already got some stored up. Where’s that devil emoticon?

Any who…

Best of all it appears to work on the old G15 and new 2.0 series.  I was starting to believe the only way to get anything cool out of G15 was by Arduino only.  I know I’m not the only one feeling the high possibility of being abandoned when the 2.0 series was out and the G15 was discontinued.

So dust off your antiquidated G15, charge up your batteries (or get new ones) and hopefully having not lost usb micro cable, go load up the new firmware.  Yes there is one : G15-2.4.  For G15.

Did you forget how?

Go here and get the updater:

Meccanoid Updater

Load it up and run it.  Meccanoid needs to be plugged in to it’s micro usb port and ur computers USB port.  Use the pulldowns to select your robot.  Select  preferred language. Select the new fangled rom 2.0 and click the down arrow to send it to anxiously awaiting robot.

Don’t get all flustered if the downloading fails the first time.  It failed on me.  Click out and start program again.  Takes a while even on an excessively fast computer.  Meccanoid’s memory is a lot slower than personal computer.  About 3 to 4 minutes.  Seemingly forever because of how long a wait for this has been.  Some have been waiting a year.

When the updater is done it will tell of its’ success.  Unplug USB from Meccanoid and turn him on.  I turned mine off and on again.  Is habbit from other flash memory device updates.  Clears RAM and cold boots processor.

Haven’t got to play ragdoll to see if it improved either.  I’d like to hear your opinions on the new programming section too.

A  LOT less Meccannoyed.  Smiles a little.

Lest I forget:

About !$%^”‘^_-#] Time!  sheesh.  and Thanks.