Tag: Robotis

CM-510 firmware for using as multiple sensor item updated

CM-510 firmware and post updated



C++, Bioloid and Raspberry Pi (v0.2)

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Bioloid Workshop

[V.02 updates: AX C++ architecture, core classes diagram and HexaWheels scanning video]

Why C++, Bioloid and Raspberry Pi?

TCPL4thEnglishC++, specially with the great improvements of the last C++11 standard, joins together a great efficiency in performance and a low memory footprint with advanced high level language features, making C++ a great tool for embedding, robotics, programming.

If you want to know how to use C++ very efficiently these two guides will help you:

The JSF air vehicle C++ coding standards ( F-35 fighter aircraft)

– ISO C++ committee’s report on performance



Bioloid Premium

Bioloid Premium

Bioloid Premium is a wonderful kit for creating legged and wheeled robots, including (here full parts list):

– 18 powerful and versatile AX-12 servos

– an ATMega 2561 (CM-510) or, recently, an ARM STM32F103RE 32bits (CM-530), based controller. Also you can control the AX-12 with the USB2Dynamixel straight from your USB with a FTDI driver.

– And a lot of parts to create the structure of the robot




Raspberry Pi is the cheaper and more brilliant conceived SBC (more specifications here):

– Broadcom BCM2835 SoC full HD multimedia applications processor

– 700 MHz Low Power ARM1176JZ-F Applications Processor

– Dual Core VideoCore IV® Multimedia Co-Processor

– 256/512 MB SDRAM

One simple example:

Learning C++


C++ is a very powerful but complex programming language, so I think that the better approach is to start step by step, from the most easy features (yes, C++ could be used in an easy way) to the most advanced features it offers. What is C++? I will quote (I try to not explain anything that already is explained), Stroustrup, “his father”, from his book The C++ programming language 3th Edition:

“C++ is a general-purpose programming language with a bias towards systems programming that
– is a better C,
– supports data abstraction,
– supports object-oriented programming, and
– supports generic programming.”

And wikipedia:

C++ (pronounced “see plus plus”) is a statically typed, free-form, multi-paradigm, compiled, general-purpose programming language. It is regarded as an intermediate-level language, as it comprises a combination of both high-level and low-level language features.[3] Developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in 1979 at Bell Labs, it adds object oriented features, such as classes, and other enhancements to the C programming language.

Web resources:

If you want more C++ links, these found at JUCE will help you.

Programming -- Principles and Practice Using C++Programming -- Principles and Practice Using C++

Programming — Principles and Practice Using C++

Free books and documents:

– Maintain stability and compatibility with C++98 and possibly with C;
– Improve C++ to facilitate systems and library design, rather than to introduce new features useful only to specific applications;
– Increase type safety by providing safer alternatives to earlier unsafe techniques;
– Increase performance and the ability to work directly with hardware



In robotics, and embedded programming in general, we will need some advanced knowledge and practices to reach our goals.

Free books and documents:

  • Concurrent programming, threading Our robots we will need to do several actions simultaneously, like perceiving the world with several sensors, moving and deciding what to do to reach is objectives.
  • Communications, the serial port communications functions are used for wireless and wired connections, and we will need to communicate between controllers and with sensors and servos.


C++ robotics programming

Well, this is really the goal, robotics programming.

As this is a workshop it will follow the creation of the the walker and vehicle Hexapod showed above in the video. This is currently the core architecture and the HexaWheels module (namespace classes):

AX C++ architecture v2

AX C++ architecture v2

And these are the core classes:


The workshop will include:

– Basics

Like communications with serial port and wireless, using Dynamixels, sensors, … Language features for robotics, like asynchronous communications and threads and… delays!.

– Intermediate

Combination of basics features using sensors (like scanning) and servos (walking motions). For example, scanning with a DMS sensor:

As a simple example:

– Advanced

Advanced perception and behaviours

I think this could very funny, using an advanced sensor like Asus Xtion, to detect certain objects to interact, and create configurable and amusing behaviours.

CM-510 mirocontroller programming

– Tools:

PC, Raspberry Pi and Pandaboard, installation and configuration, tool and projects

– GNU C++, Boost
– Eclipse
– QT 5

The contents will come soon, very soon…

Workshop: Dynamixel communications with C#

[Next post: Workshop: USB, serial and remote communications with C#]

As I wrote in the previous post, I am not using Robotis Dynamixel SDK USB2Dynamixelbecause it only works with the  USB2Dynamixel, and I need that it also should work with the serial port and with zigbee or bluetooth (really all 4 use the serial connection). Also I want to query sensors connected to the CM-510.

Zigbee device


Using the CM-510 and computer serial port (or USB to serial) connection you are free to use any wired or wireless device. Really there are a lot of possibilities.

We will start connecting to the Dynamixel bus and sending commands and queries. These classes do the work:




But there are other classes that offer to them some additional services, like Configuration, Utils, Hex and several enumeration types.

I will use the Class-Responsability-Collaboration template to present the classes.

DynamixelCommunicationBioloid DynamixelCommunication class C#

The main responsibility of this class is sending commands and queries to any Dynamixel device, including the sensors, sound and other capabilities of the CM-510 controller.

Collaborator classes:

– SerialPort2Dynamixel,  that offers operations to use the serial port encapsulating .Net SerialPort class

– Three enums for easy use and avoid errors, using an specific type is safer that using simple integers.

    public enum AXS1_IRSensor { Left, Center, Right, None };
    public enum AXS1_SoundNote { LA, LA_, SI, DO, DO_, RE }; //Only the first six 
    public enum DynamixelFunction, with all the Dynamixel protocols codes and some that I added for the CM-510.

Configuration class, that reads a file where are stored basic configuration parameters. like:

        private static string ParameterSerialPortName
        private static string ParameterSerialPortBaudRate
        private static string ParameterWaitTime_ms
        private static string ParameterWaitTimeForSensors_ms

Bioloid communications C#


The public operations are the interface that other classes will use, like:

short readValue(int id, DynamixelFunction address), reads the value of any AX-12 parameter (or other Dynamixels)

bool sendOrder(int id, DynamixelFunction address, int value), send commands, like position, speed or torque.

And the private that do internal work supporting the public interface, like:

–  static int getReadWordCommand(byte[] buffer, byte id, DynamixelFunction address), create the Dynamixel hexadecimal sequence (FF FF 0F 05 03 1E CB 01 FE)

static short getQueryResult(byte[] res), once the query or command is sent it gets the result.

Let’s see readValue and two other called functions:

public short readValue(int id, DynamixelFunction address)
short position = -1;

int size = getReadWordCommand(buffer, (byte)id, address);
byte[] res = serialPort.query(buffer, size, WaitTimeReadSensor);

position = getQueryResult(res);
if (position < 0)
Debug.show("DynamixelCommunication.readValue", position);

catch (Exception e)
Debug.show("DynamixelCommunication.readValue", e.Message);


return position;

private static int getReadWordCommand(byte[] buffer, byte id, DynamixelFunction address)
int pos = 0;

buffer[pos++] = 0xff;
buffer[pos++] = 0xff;
buffer[pos++] = id;

// bodyLength = 4
buffer[pos++] = 4;

//the instruction, read => 2
buffer[pos++] = 2;

// AX12 register
buffer[pos++] = (byte)address;

//bytes to read
buffer[pos++] = 2;

byte checksum = Utils.checkSumatory(buffer, pos);
buffer[pos++] = checksum;

return pos;

private static short getQueryResult(byte[] res)
short value = -1;

if (res != null)
int length = res.Length;
if (res != null && length > 5 && res[4] == 0)
byte l = 0;
byte h = res[5];
if (length > 6)
l = res[6];

value = Hex.fromHexHLConversionToShort(h, l);
return value;


To avoid concurrency problems all the operations that use the Dynamixel bus are protected with a Mutex object that avoids that two or more concurrent objects use DynamixelCommunication simultaneously entering the same operation or using the same resources, like variables, objects or the Dynamixel bus.

All the operations use the same buffer, but being protected with the Mutex object I think that is the better option, although in a previous version I used a very different approach where there were AX12 objects with their own buffer.

[Next post: Workshop: USB, serial and remote communications with C#]

Workshop: Programming a Bioloid robot workbench using C# and C++

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Bioloid Workshop

[Next post: Dynamixel communications with C#]

It would be a workshop using C# .Net and C++ with Qt 5. The code presented here is used in this two different robots and boards, a HP 214 Ipaq with Windows Mobile and a Raspberry Pi, using the Robotis CM-510 as the servo and sensors controller:

These will be the first steps, using C# and .Net , here the code and the exe for the Workbench UI:

Bioloid Workbench

Using this enhaced Toss Mode that adds some new functions.  Some of them:

Read more

HexaWheels: hexapod & 6×6 wheel robot / Hexapodo y ruedas traccion 6×6

A workshop based on this hexapod robot

Programming CM-510 with C: reading values from terminal and moving a Dynamixel AX-12

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Programming CM-5/CM-510

Programming CM-510 with C: reading values from terminal and moving a Dynamixel AX-12

In this post we are going to ask the ID AX-12+ that we want to move and the goal position.

The explanations are in the code as comments, I hope that there are enough comments to understand it, let me know if you can’t understand it.

The main loop is that easy:

int main(void)

while(true) // we'll repeat this looop forever
int id=getId(); // get the ID of the AX-12 that we want to move
int position=getPosition(); // get the goal position
dxl_write_word( id, P_GOAL_POSITION_L, position); // sent the command to the Dynamixel

return 0;

A brief explanation of printf: printf function is much more powerful than it seems at a first sight, it admits many parameters that allow us to display a large amount of data types and formats. In In the following example %i means that in that position the message will include an integer that will be passed as a parameter after the string “AX12 ID:”. The control character “n” means a line break.

Each character in the string is stored in a memory location [A][X][1][2][ ][I][D] strings are a special case of array.

getID and getPosition are also very easy, isn’t?

The next functions asks for the ID of the AX-12 to move, checking that the ID is a value between 1 and 18

int getId()
We define an array enough large, 256 bytes (characters). Probably it's enough with 4 bytes, but if we type more than the defined size we will get an error*/
char buffer[256];

And we define another integer variable, it's very advisable to asign a value in the definition, in this case we assign the minimun value, 1*/
int ax12Id=1;

// puts is very similar to printf, it shows the string that it receives as parameter
puts ("nnMoving a Dynamixel");

{ // starting the loop
puts ("Enter the ID of the AX-12 that you wwant to move, between 1 y 18, ");
ax12Id=readInteger(buffer); // this function will read from what we type in the keyboard
//// exclamation (!) is the NOT logical operator. It will repeat the loop while the value is not valid
}while(!isValid(ax12Id, 1, 18));

// Showing the typed value
printf("AX12 ID: %in", ax12Id);

return ax12Id;

// Now we will repeat almost the same code that above, it should be pretty easy to write a reusable function, isn't?

int getPosition()
char buffer[256];
int position=0;

puts ("Enter a value between 0 and 1023 as the goal position");
}while(!isValid(position, 0, 1023));

printf("nPosition: %in", position);

return position;

The functions used to read the text from the Terminal are quite interesting, showing the use of a string. It also shows how to use the .h file (declaration) and the .c (definitions, the content of the functions):

// Body (content) of the functions that read data

Recibimos una variable que tiene reservado espacio en memoria para almacenar
la cadena introducida

void readString(char bufferParameter[])
int i=0; // We'll use this variable as index of the buffer where we will store data
bufferParameter[i]=getchar(); // it store the read character in the i position of bufferParameter
putchar(bufferParameter[i]); // showing it
if (bufferParameter[i]=='b') // if Backspace was pressed
i--; // it goes to the previous position, rewritting the previoulsy typed character
else //
i++; // it will write in the next position
}while(bufferParameter[i-1]!='n'); // while the last values is not INTRO. The symmbol ! represents the logical operator NOT

bufferParameter[i]=0; // A NULL (0, zero) is necessary in the last position of any string

It read an string, it's converted to integer and returned
int readInteger(char bufferParameter[])
return atoi(bufferParameter);

You can download the sourcecode here

The language C, also C++, has some very interesting features such as the inclusion of code depending on certain conditions. This lets you use the same code for different processors by simply changing one or more parameters.

As an example, this ZIP contains a project for Dev-CPP with a version of the source files for the PC and the CM-510; simply commenting or uncommenting a line in the file “myCM510.h” (for AVR Studio you should create the appropriate project and include the sources files).

Instead of moving AX-12 it displays the text “dxl_write_word” with the parameters received. We can practice C and perform different tests on the PC without connecting any servo.

Bioloid CM-510 programming tutorial: First steps with C

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Programming CM-5/CM-510

Bioloid programming workshop: First steps with C

(En español)

This brief post starts the Bioloid programming workshop, using ​C, C + + and C# languages  and different controllers: ATMega (CM-510), PC, SBC.

The first steps in C programming

C language is a simple, powerful and extremely versatile tool used to develop software for industries as diverse as the automobile , medical equipment or for the software industry itself, from Microsoft Office to operating systems like Windows or Linux.

This will be a very practical programming workshop with Robotis Dynamixel servos, so I will include links tutorials anb books that include broader and deeper explanations, like C introduction (pdf). But there are a lot:

C Language Tutorial (html)
How C Programming Works (html)
Several C programming tutorials (html)

One of the simplest programs in C:

// This line that begins with two slashes is a comment

These others, starting with a slash and an asterisk
are a comment too, ending with another asterisk and a slash.

The comments are very useful for explaining what we do and,
especially, why we do so, because after a few months we will not remember the details.

The includes are useful to announce the compiler that we will use
existing functions from other files, such as stdio.h, in this example,  to get
the printf function to display information on screen.
(This is not exactly true, but more on that later)

This is one way to start a C program,
Creating the main function as the starting point of every C program:
void main ()

// The body or content of the function starts with the following curly bracket

// Guess what does the following function?
printf ("Hello, World");

// And, predictably, the function ends with the closing curly bracket

Now we will write the first program for the CM-510

But previously you should install the software needed to program the CM-510. If you install WinAVR in “C:tools WinAVR-20100110” you can download a zip with everything ready to use.

After loading our program in the CM-510, to use RoboPlus Tasks, Motion RoboPlus Robotis and other programs, we will have to restore Robotis firmware.

# Include stdio.h
# Include "myCM510.h"

executeMovement1 void (int ax12Id)
dxl_write_word (ax12Id, P_GOAL_POSITION_L, 512);

executeMovement2 void (int ax12Id)
dxl_write_word (ax12Id, P_GOAL_POSITION_L, 600);

int main (void)
ax12Id int = 6;

init ();

printf ("\r \n A simple example");

printf ("\r \n Perform movement 1 with the AX-12% i", ax12Id);
executeMovement1 (ax12Id);

printf ("\r \n Pause half a second");
_delay_ms (500); // half-second pause

printf ("\r \n Beep!");
buzzOn (100); // beep

printf ("\r \n Pause for a second");
_delay_ms (1000); // pause for 1 second

printf ("\r \n Perform movement 2 with the AX-12% i", ax12Id);
executeMovement2 (ax12Id);

printf ("\r \n End");

The characters “\r \n” are used to jump to the next line in Windows.

If you have installed the necessary software (WinAVR must be installed in “C:tools WinAVR-20100110”) and unzip this zip file in the root directory (C: ) you have to be ready to modify, compile, or simply load the executable “hello_world.hex” in the CM-510. You will see something similar to:



Some explanations
dxl_write_word (ax12Id, P_GOAL_POSITION_L, 600);

This function is included in the Robotis CM-510 libraries allowing us to send commands to a Dynamixel actuator very easily. We only have to indicate the ID of the AX-12 to move (ax12Id), the code of the order that the AX-12 should execute, in this case go to the goal position (P_GOAL_POSITION_L), and the position in which has to be placed between 0 and 1024 (600 in the example).



Decompose the program into different parts

  •     Having previously created the init () function in myCM510.h/myCM510.c allows us to include it easily in this program.
  •     In addition to simplifying programming we can reuse the same code in different programs. This saves us from having to repeat the same code many times and, especially, have to correct faults or improve in only one point, . Later we will see how to organize directories and even how to create libraries.
  •     It also allows us to encapsulate the details, so that when the program starts growing we can handle them easily without being overwhelmed.

Showing what is doing running the program

Using the printf function we can send text to the screen that lets us know what is doing the program (printf sends to the serial port, “RoboPlus Terminal” read it  and displays it on the screen. We will lear how to read from the serial port when we start programming Bioloid using a PC or SBC)

Can you think of an easy way to avoid having two similar functions such as “void executeMovement1 (int ax12Id)” and “void executeMovement2 (int ax12Id)”?

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