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Stand Alone Quick Start Guide

The stand alone quick start guide is intended to help you get your board installed and operational using the stand alone mode software. It assumes that you will be communicating with the board over a serial port. Generally, you will want to use the ARC interaction program to configure and download new software to the vision system. Once the system is configured, it will automatically start transmitting tracking information on startup. You will probably want to write your own program to process this tracking data and use it in a control task. This chapter contains the information needed for you to start using the vision system in this manner.

If your cognachrome vision system came bundled with a Pioneer robot, the interaction will be different and this chapter will not be relevant to you. See section Pioneer Quick Start Guide, for information specific to that system.

After you're up and running, you will probably want to read the other sections of this manual, which explain alternate hardware setups, and give more detail on how to configure and operate the software.

Hooking Up the Board and Cables

Identify the boards
Your vision system consists of two boards (see section Cognachrome Vision System Board Diagram). Notice now which board is the vision board, and which is the processor board. Normally these boards come stacked with the vision board on top, and the processor board on the bottom. If they are already stacked, you do not need to do anything further for this step.

If the boards are not already stacked, you can recognize which is which in the following manner:

Stack the boards together with the vision board on top, and the processor board on the bottom. Verify the orientation is correct by seeing that the mounting holes on the four corners of each board line up. Press the boards together firmly.

Connect power to the vision system
You should see two molex connectors (plasic housings with wires going to them) coming from your power supply. They connect to opposite ends of the top board. The board can potentially be damaged by applying power to one side but not the other, so we recommend connecting these while the power supply is turned off or unplugged. See section Cognachrome Vision System Board Diagram.

Plug the board in now and confirm that all three red LED's light. If none light, you may want to check that the power supply is plugged into an active outlet, then confirm the voltages at the molex connectors with a voltmeter. If the red +5V Digital Power LED does not light, but the other two red LED's do, you may have a blown fuse. If the red +5V Analog Power LED does not light, you may have a bad analog power connector or a bad 5V power regulator. Check that the +5V Analog Power pin of the 6-pin connector has 5V going into it. See section Status Lights and Beeper, for more general troubleshooting information.

Connect the serial cable
Connect a serial cable from your host computer to Port A on the vision system. This is one of the two 3-pin male molex connectors on the processor board. Port A is on the right, and port B is on the left. See section Cognachrome Vision System Board Diagram.

See section Serial Port Troubleshooting, for more in-depth information on the topic of serial ports.

Connect the camera
Connect an NTSC color camera to the white RCA jack (the kind of coaxial connector common on modern VCR's and TV's). If you look closely you will see a small "IN" label next to this jack on the PC board. See section Cognachrome Vision System Board Diagram.
Connect a video monitor
It is not necessary to hook up a video monitor for the system to work, but it is recommended for initially testing the system, and for training the system to track new colors. The vision board outputs standard black and white video--a color monitor is not required. You can use any NTSC (North American video standard) video monitor with an RCA Video In connector. This includes most modern TV's, VCR's, and camcorders.

Once you have located a suitable monitor and RCA video cable, connect the debugging video output from the board (red RCA jack) to the monitor. See section Cognachrome Vision System Board Diagram.

Using ARC with a Stand Alone Vision System

ARC is a serial interaction program which allows you to use a host computer to communicate with the vision system. If you have purchased the full ARC programming environment, you can write software that executes on the vision system processor itself. Even if you have not purchased the full ARC development system, purchase of a vision system entitles you to a Mini-ARC license.

Mini-ARC allows you to interact with the vision system for configuration and allows you to download new software releases, but does not include the libraries or the full compilation and interactive debugging environment. Mini-ARC is sufficient to do everything described in this section. See section Mini-ARC Installation Guide, for installation instructions. In the rest of this manual, ARC is used as the generic term to refer to the serial interaction program in either a full ARC Development System installation, or a Mini-ARC installation.

Before starting ARC, you'll need to know the name of the serial port you intend to use. If you do not know which port to use, see section Serial Port Names.

You should hear a beep from the board, and see a boot message from the board on the ARC window.

If you do not see a boot message from the board, don't be dismayed--usually it is just a problem with the configuration of the serial port, or a simple wiring problem. If any of the three red LED's didn't come on, you have some sort of power problem. If you heard a beep but didn't see anything on the ARC screen, you probably have a problem with the serial connection or gave the wrong serial port name to ARC.

The board will immediately enter Tracking Upload Mode (see section Tracking Upload Mode). If the camera is connected, the board will stay in this mode and immediately start uploading tracking information. If the camera is not connected or not working, the system will print `Aborting vision' and enter TPUVIS Prompt Mode (see section TPUVIS Prompt Mode).

ARC will bring up two windows, one with the title "Stream #3" for TPUVIS interaction, and one with the title "Stream #28" which will display the tracking data.

Trying it Out

Your system should arrive with tracking channel A pre-configured to track a bright orange test beacon.

Please note that even though the system has been pre-trained to track the orange beacon, you'll definitely want to re-train the system to your camera and lighting conditions before doing any serious work (see section Training and Configuring Channels Detail). Hopefully, though, the pre-configured training will be enough to get a reasonable response from your system while you try it out.

To see how well the color thresholding is working in your environment, look at the debugging monitor you hooked up to the board. It shows, in real-time, which regions of the video image match the programmed lookup table for channel A.

If the beacon shows up only spottily, it's most likely that you need to retrain the system (see section Color Training), but you can deal with that later. Also make sure that the lighting conditions around the beacon are reasonable (see section Choosing Lighting), and visually double-check the image coming out of the camera by connecting it directly to a monitor (see section Hooking Up the Board and Cables). Depending on the camera, you might want to focus or adjust the iris.

The data being displayed over the serial port should give the coordinates of the centroid of the largest orange object detected. Move the beacon and observe how the data changes.

Congratulations! You've gotten your system up and running. Please read the other sections of the manual to learn how to configure the system to track multiple colors or several objects of the same color, measure size and orientation of objects, and do frame grabbing and processing.

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