Getting Started With the ArxRobot App and Control Panel

Arxterra Operating Modes

The Arxterra suite has the ability to operate in three modes: Autonomous, Remote Control (RC) and Community modes. The objective of this chapter is to configure your smartphone and PC to communicate with the Bluetooth module on the 3DoT board.

Autonomous: No Bluetooth connectivity is needed to operate the 3DoT in autonomous mode. Simply program as you would an Arduino using a micro USB cable.

Remote Control: In RC mode, the robot is piloted through the ArxRobot application and is not located on the robot. Communication takes place via Bluetooth between the Android or iPhone phone and the 3DoT Board. The Arxterra Control Panel is not present when operating in RC mode.

Community Mode: In community mode, the Android or iPhone phone is carried by the robot and communicates wirelessly via client‐server architecture with the computer.  The phone relays commands and telemetry to and from the 3DoT board while piloting is done through the Arxterra control panel.

The following sections provide step‐by‐step instructions on installing and operating the applications needed to operate the robot in the RC and community modes of operation:

Figure 3.1: Modes of Operation

Getting Access the iOS/Android App (Beta)

While we are in the Beta testing period, to get access to the applications, email info@arxterra.com

  •  In the email state:
    •  Phone model
    • Android OS version or IOS Version
      • For IOS you must provide your phone’s IMEI number
    • If applicable, state enrollment in the EE 400D course and wanting to gain access to the ArxRobot application
  • Please use the Gmail address associated with the Google Play account when sending the email (If using Android)

Will receive an email response containing an invitation to join the Google group “ArxRobot Testers”. Click the “Accept
This Invitation” button in the body of the email as shown in Figure 3.4 (invitation has an expiration date; accept ASAP).

Figure 3.4: Button to join “ArxRobot Testers”.

Download the Axterra App

Android

After accepting the Invitation you will gain access the following Google Play Store links.

Figure 3.5: Screen to access application download.

Method 1: Using Computer (must still be logged into your Gmail account)

After clicking on “Download ArxRobot from the Play Store”, it will direct to the “Apps” tab similar to what is seen below in Figure 3.6 (left image). Click “Install” on this page and the second window shown below in Figure 3.6 (right image) should appear. Choose the device the application will be downloaded to and click “Install”. Once the download is complete, a new window will show, click “OK” and the process is complete.

Figure 3.6: “Apps” window (left) to download the application to selected device (right).

Method 2: Using Android Phone

After clicking on “Download ArxRobot from the Play Store” on the phone’s browser, it will direct to that apps page on the Google play store. On the page shown in Figure 3.7, click “INSTALL”. When the App permissions window appears, shown in Figure 3.8, click “ACCEPT”. The app will then download to the phone.

Figure 3.7: ArxRobot app installation         Figure 3.8: App permissions page

IOS

You will a receive a direct download link to the most current IOS version of the ArxRobot Application after email communication. Then simply connect your IOS phone to a computer with iTunes installed then move the ipa file to your device.

  • Click on the download arrow near the upper right corner of the Google Drive page, and download the app file to your computer.
  • Open iTunes on your computer while your device is connected.
  • With iTunes versions prior to 12.7:
    • Drag the app file icon into the iTunes window to add it to your apps library.
    • Select your device in iTunes and click the “Sync” button.
  • With iTunes version 12.7 or newer:
    • Make sure your device is showing in the iTunes sidebar (under devices).
    • Drag the app file icon onto it (see example image below).

Figure 3.8 Drag the App icon onto your connected device in iTunes

Connecting To Your Robot With the ArxRobot App

Step 1: Ensure the ArxRobot_Basic sketch is uploaded to your robot (see Getting Started – Initial Arduino IDE Setup)

Step 2: Turn on the 3DoT and load up the app

ArxRobot App
goliath with 3DoT on

Step 3: If it hasn’t already popped up automatically, open up the bluetooth menu by tapping the menu icon, and then the Bluetooth icon.

ArxRobot App

Step 4: What you see here will vary. In my case, there are a lot of devices the app can’t connect to. Under “Compatability”, choose “Show All Detected”, and scroll down to find “BT05-A”. This is the 3DoT Bluetooth Module.

ArxRobot App

Step 5: Tap “Test Now” to attempt to connect to the 3DoT.

Please be patient while the app finishes scanning all Bluetooth devices and connects to the 3DoT. You may need to tap “Test Now” again if it fails at first. The less unrelated BLE devices are near you the faster this process will be.

Step 6: Once you successfully connect to the 3DoT, the Bluetooth menu should automatically close and you are ready to control your robot!

Tip: If one of the directions of your motors is reversed, you can easily fix this through the app! Just turn on developer mode:

Tap the gear icon, and choose “Robot Capabilities Configuration”, then scroll down to reverse one of the motor polarities.

Register for an Arxterra Account

First set up an account here on arxterra.com using the register tab under “My Account”.

Figure 3.2: Select “Register” from “My Account” tab.

The username provided on the registration page will be required by the Arxterra application and control panel. Fill in the fields shown in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3: Generation of username and inputting contact information.

Community Mode: Connecting Through the Control Panel

If you have not done so already create an Arxterra Account using the previous section. Using the navigation tab above pan over “Control Panel” and click “Download Control Panel” as shown in Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.9: Select “Download Control Panel” from “Control Panel” tab.

Step 1: Tap the Mode select button in the ArxRobot App and select “Community”.

Figure 3.10: Mode select on the ArxRobot App

Step 2: In the menu, tap the settings gear icon, and select “Community Login Settings”.

Set the Robot name to whatever you like and set the Pilot name to match your Arxterra username exactly.

Figure 3.11: Opening Community Settings

Figure 3.12: Enter robot name and Arxterra username

Step 3: Tap the “Go Online” Button

Figure 3.13: Going Online!

Step 4: Open up the ArxRobot Control Panel on your computer and enter your login info in the top right

Figure 3.14: Login using your Arxterra username and password

Step 5: Find your robot pin on the map and click the green person to beam in!

Use the controls to move your robot. See the advanced guides for info on how to add your own additional controls and telemetry.

Figure 3.14: Here we go!

Figure 3.14: Here we are! Not much telemetry data coming in yet.

Troubleshooting

Common Issues Getting Started

The ArxRobot App won’t load/hangs at startup:

This means the app is struggling to obtain the permissions required to run. Navigate to your phone’s app permission settings and give the ArxRobot app all the permissions you can.

I’m having trouble connecting to the 3DoT

Usually, you just need to wait a bit longer to allow the app to retry connecting to the 3DoT. If you have waited long enough and it still doesn’t work, turn off the 3DoT, close the ArxRobot app completely, turn your phone’s bluetooth off and repeat the connecting process. Other devices may be interfering at first, but eventually you should always be able to connect.

I’m connected but the controls don’t do anything/my robot’s motors stopped

First, let’s make sure the motors you are using are compatible and working by uploading a simple sketch that runs them. Copy and paste the follow sketch to the arduino IDE, upload it and run it.

Show Example

#define PWMA 6
#define AIN2 4
#define AIN1 12
#define PWMB 10
#define BIN1 9
#define BIN2 5
#define STBY 8

void setup(){
pinMode(PWMA, OUTPUT);
pinMode(AIN2, OUTPUT);
pinMode(AIN1, OUTPUT);
pinMode(PWMB, OUTPUT);
pinMode(BIN1, OUTPUT);
pinMode(BIN2, OUTPUT);
pinMode(STBY, OUTPUT);
}

void loop(){
digitalWrite(STBY, HIGH);
digitalWrite(AIN1, LOW);
digitalWrite(AIN2, HIGH);
digitalWrite(BIN1, HIGH);
digitalWrite(BIN2, LOW);
analogWrite(PWMB, 150);
analogWrite(PWMA, 150);
}

Turn your 3DoT on to find out if the motors will run.

Next, make sure you have the ArxRobot_Basic sketch uploaded to your board. If you you are using your own code, upload the ArxRobot_Basic sketch to find whether the issue is your code or the robot.

If your motors run fine and you have the correct code uploaded but the motors won’t run with the app, you likely need to set the right current limit for your motors. To do this, simply add the line:

ArxRobot.setCurrentLimit(N); // set current limit to …

to the setup portion of your code, changing N to a number between 1-128 to set the current limit. Usually a value around 60 is correct. You can experiment with different values or see Programming the 3DoT Current Limiter for more info.