A new year, and things are gathering momentum.
Since the last entry, I've been working on the pneumatic compressor controller, and the first of the MCUs which has the task of overseeing the system power/recharge strategy - as well as some smaller functions which I've grouped together as it will have it's own standby PSU - like system clock/standby/hibernation modes, and a few others.
I've been developing using Microchip 16F876 devices and an ICD2 clone under MPLAB/Assembler - and so far this combination is perfectly suited to the lower level MCUs, so I'll probably be staying with this setup for most of the first layer - the pneumatics, drive and steering - and all of the associated encoders and other feedback are all doable, it seems - and importantly, I2C communications to the next layer in the heirarchy are supported also.
Other parts like the card cage/backplane, and battery power distribution are coming together.
In other news, I've also added another robot arm to the menagerie - a UMI RTX just like this one:
I've had it moving and knocking things off shelves using RS232 - and writing some more code that has it doing something a little more constructive is a future project. A nice task for it would be waiting at the recharge outlet for when 48k needs a top-up, and having the arm wake up and plug in the charger sounds like a good challenge in robot cooperation - which is another area of interest.