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Turning on the Platform

To startup your Neobotix platform just turn the key switch at the back/side clockwise. The robot should power up immediately. Check the LCD at the back/side to see the state of the startup process.

After about one minute the display will show "Ready".

"Ready" means that the software has successfully started up and is able to communicate with all hardware components. You can find more information about the LCD here.

The emergency stop buttons might be pressed, caused by the cushion or the transport. If the robot does not move and the display shows “Emergency stop”, release both buttons by turning them clockwise, then turn the key switch clockwise for at least 0.5 sec (but not more than 2 sec) and try again. Further information on the status messages can be found in chapter “The LC-Display”.

Network Connection

WIFI

By default your Neobotix platform will try to connect to the wireless network neo_training .

First power up the Wifi access point included and wait until the network neo_training is available. Optionally connect the access point to your company/home network via ethernet to enable internet access on the platform when needed.

Next you may connect your PC to neo_training too, the password can be found on the access point's exterior. Your PC will receive an IP-Address from the DHCP service.

The IP-Address of your mobile platform is 192.168.0.50 by default for the first one, 192.168.0.51 for the second one, etc. Please see the inspection document for each platform to get a definite answer.

LAN

Depending on the configuration (see the inspection document) the LAN ports are set to a static IP-Address or configured for DHCP.

In case of a static IP your PC/Laptop needs to have it's own static IP on the same subnet, for the direct ethernet connection to work.

In case of DHCP your PC/Laptop would have to run a DHCP server, or alternatively you may connect the platform to your company/home network (which is running a DHCP server).


Recovery via Monitor + Keyboard

In case you cannot access the platform via the network due to incorrect configuration or failure, it is always possible to connect a display and a keyboard to the onboard PC.

Remote Desktop Connection (VNC)

Once the platform has booted and your PC is connected to neo_training you can connect to the platform using the Remmina Remote Desktop Client application.

Remmina should already be installed on most Ubuntu distributions. See https://remmina.org/ for more information.

System Time and Hardware Clock

By default the hardware clock is set to UTC and the time zone is set to Berlin. If you operate the platform in a different time zone it is necessary to change the time zone.

In addition the system time should always be set correctly if possible, since otherwise some functionality may not work correctly (when connecting to the platform from another PC).

Automatic network time synchronization is disabled by default since it can cause the platform to fail during operation.

Adjusting the Clock

In order to adjust the time it is best to first set the system time (which is only temporary) using Xfce Settings → Time and Date and then synchronize the hardware clock to the current system time as follows:

sudo hwclock -w

Starting ROS on the Platform

By default a basic set of ROS nodes are started automatically when the system has booted, see ~/ROS_AUTOSTART.sh for more information.

You can manually start the basic ROS nodes using the "startROS" shortcut on the desktop, or by executing ~/ROS_AUTOSTART.sh in a terminal.


You can modify the ~/ROS_AUTOSTART.sh script to automatically start your own additional ROS nodes too.

Make sure the neo_training wifi is up and running before turning on the platform, otherwise you cannot connect to the ROS master from the outside. Alternatively you can also restart ROS on the platform after neo_training is available.

Connecting your PC to the ROS-Master on the Platform

Configuration

In order to connect to the ROS-Master on the platform (from another PC) you need to set the following environment variables on your PC:

ParameterValueExample
ROS_MASTER_URIIP-Address and Port for the ROS Masterexport ROS_MASTER_URI=http://192.168.0.50:11311/
ROS_IPIP-Address of your PCexport ROS_IP=192.168.0.100
ROS_HOSTNAMEIP-Address of your PCexport ROS_HOSTNAME=192.168.0.100

You can add these to your ~/.bashrc or set them manually for each terminal you open.

Make sure to use the correct IP addresses depending on your setup.

Installation for the Client PC has to be done first, see Client PC Setup.

Testing your connection to ROS-Master

After completing the ROS network configuration your PC should be able to connect to the ROS-Master on the platform. To check the connection you can try to list the available topics:

rostopic list

It should show the topics as follows:

/cmd_vel
/diagnostics
/drives/joint_states
/drives/joint_states_raw
/drives/joint_trajectory
/joint_states
/joy
/joy/set_feedback
/lidar_1/scan
/lidar_1/scan_filtered
/lidar_2/scan
/lidar_2/scan_filtered
/odom
/relayboard_v2/battery_state
/relayboard_v2/emergency_stop_state
/relayboard_v2/state
/rosout
/rosout_agg
/tf
/tf_static

Visualize data with Rviz

A pre-configured visualization can be started via a ROS launch file as follows:

roslaunch neo_mp_400 rviz.launch
roslaunch neo_mp_500 rviz.launch
roslaunch neo_mpo_500 rviz.launch
roslaunch neo_mpo_700 rviz.launch

Please choose the correct package name depending on your platform.

Installation for the Client PC has to be done first, see Client PC Setup.

Connection to the ROS-Master has to be available!

Teleoperation

Using the Joystick

You can use the left stick for movement in X and Y direction and the right stick for rotating. Note: MP-400 and MP-500 cannot move in Y direction.

It is necessary to keep pressing the RB button while driving. RB is the so called "dead man" button.

Make sure the Joystick is in the "D" operating mode, and not in the "X" mode.

Shutdown

To shutdown your Neobotix platform turn and hold the key (at least 3 seconds) in counter-clockwise direction until the LC-Display shows that the shutdown is triggered.

If you hold the key for more than 5 seconds the platform will force shutdown.

Next steps


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