The original intent of the system was to allow
ambitious FIRST teams to do effective prototyping in the
off-season, and the folks at CTR have recently debuted the
HERO Development Board to help keep FIRST teams (and
other roboticists) busy around the country.
We like to use Jaguar speed controllers with the 2CAN
and Canipede because they have CAN connections. The
Jaguars themselves have a slightly bigger footprint than the
popular Victor speed controllers. The Agent 390 is a good
sized kit, but would it be able to fit a control system usually
used with 100+ pound FIRST prototypes?
Of course it can! Even though it is a bit of a cozy fit. To
implement the 2CAN and Canipede, we need a few
components: the Canipede RCM; the 2CAN Ethernet to
CAN Gateway; the Jaguar speed controllers; a wireless
router; and a DC-to-DC converter to power the router off of
the robot’s main battery. The 2CAN and Canipede modules
are easy to power since they can take anywhere between
6.5V and 24V. The router, on the other hand, could handle
only 5V. Even so, everything fit comfortably in the
undercarriage of the Agent 390.
The Agent 390 motors are rated for up to 12V, so we
secured a 14.8V lithium polymer (LiPo) battery pack from
our local hobby store to power everything. The compact
and lightweight LiPo pack fit nicely into one of the
aluminum channels. Quite an improvement over the huge
heavy 12V sealed lead acid batteries we first used in our
combat bot, Troublemaker.
It was exceedingly easy to pick up the mounting holes
on all of the 2CAN components on the body plate of the
Agent 390. The last component we wanted to include with
the electronics was a master switch. It was a more elegant
solution for turning the robot on and off than doing that by
plugging in and unplugging the battery. Since this was a
somewhat larger bot, we thought it was important to have
a master switch so we could shut it down quickly, like
Gordon Ramsay pulling the plug on a Hell’s Kitchen dinner
service. The switch fit nicely into one of the aluminum
channels as well, with the handle poking through the large
hole in the servo horn pattern.
State of the IP Address
After wiring up the 2CAN and Canipede, we were
reminded of the most difficult part of implementing a
system that allows for wireless Ethernet control: sorting out
the IP addresses. The key is to ensure that all of the devices
on the network have an IP address on the same subnet so
they can talk to each other. The default setting of the
wireless router is to dynamically set the IP addresses of
some of the network devices. If the addresses conflict or
are in different subnets, they won’t be able to connect.
We emailed the CTR guys for help and CTR co-founder,
Omar Zrien very kindly took the time to help us diagnose
the troubles we were having with our system. Once we set
all of the IP addresses correctly, everything was
The Canipede manuals suggest a bench test where the
robot is controlled through a laptop as a good way to see if
the system is working. The Canipede software allows the
user to map controls to various buttons and sliders on a
graphical interface on a laptop. We mapped the Jaguar
speed controllers to two sliders, and were pleased to see
the motors hum to life as we manipulated them on the
A laptop, however, is not the ideal thing to carry
54 SERVO 04.2016
READY FOR ORDERS.
LAYING OUT THE 2CAN AND CANIPEDE.
FUN WITH PVC.