Updates coming

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vputz
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Updates coming

Postby vputz » January 31 2016, 7:06 AM

It's been some time for the Orbotron, and to my pleasure surprise it is still being of use to many. I have four more of the current run, but when they're gone, that's it for this version!



What's coming is exciting but only moderately necessary, so if you're wanting to resurrect your orb, the old version works just fine and the new version may not be out for a bit, but I wanted to let people know so they could make a choice.



In the last couple of years, the power of the average microcontroller has grown significantly since the AtMega32u4, so while the original Orbotron 9000 was patterned closely after the Arduino Leonardo, I am taking a page from the new M0 series and moving to at ATSAMD21 chip, with much more memory and speed. It's worth noting that this will not affect the orb ONE BIT--it is already working fast enough to get good orb emulation. So if you have purchased an Orbotron 9000, you will gain nothing from the new version (so you have not missed out!) nor will you gain significantly by upgrading.



What the new chip will allow is easier support for more devices, and more flexibility, because the libraries have moved to a modular HID report--in other words, while the Orbotron and its firmware appeared as a keyboard, mouse, and six-axis sixteen-button device, the new device will support "pluggable" outputs, and so can easily appear as other devices... what this means is that software could be written to support pretty much any old serial device, from the Sidewinder-style joysticks to old Wacom tablets and such. In truth, you can get the exact same effect without custom hardware with an Arduino M0 and a serial shield, but having one nice small tight device is just "neater".



As such, the device name is up in the air. It's a generic serial-to-HID device... so I'm not sure what to call it. Any suggestions?



The second major update is the USB connector is probably going back in time to a Mini B. The #1 problem component on these was the USB Micro connector, because I assemble them by hand and it's not only impossible to get the dang thing to line up, it's really hard to fix if it goes wrong. Unfortunately USB Micro connectors don't come in right-angle through-hole versions, but Mini connectors do. I actually tried USB C, but they went from 4 connections to 24 (12 on each side since it's reversible) and it looks like it'll be REALLY hard to do that by hand.



So... it's either USB mini, or a micro connector that sticks up out of the board, which just seems weird and would introduce some odd stresses.



First prototypes are on their way (using USB C, but as mentioned I don't think that's going to work so I'll just kludge a cable coming off it). More updates as they come available. And as mentioned, if you just want it for your orb, I'd stick with the old trusted version; this could take a few months :)

AxiomX
Posts: 6
Joined: February 10 2013, 14:55 PM

Re: Updates coming

Postby AxiomX » February 07 2016, 12:58 PM

Greetings,

Some time ago before you had completed the board I had asked for one.

Life intruded and lost touch.

If a board is still available I do want one, just tell me how ;-)

I will also be interested in the new board when it is complete.

Regards,

DavidS

AxiomX

vputz
Posts: 340
Joined: March 25 2006, 20:21 PM
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » February 07 2016, 16:32 PM

DavidS--



Actually, down to the last few boards here, and the USB connectors are being SUPER flakey... actually, they vary based on the cable; I have one cable for which many of them drop out if you wiggle the connector, and another cable they all work well for.



I have two more boards that seem fairly good, so if you want one, head to store.thingotron.com ... but I will say I'm not happy about the connectors. Unfortunately the next iteration may be a couple of months... the software works but I haven't got the prototype boards in yet and I *know* they'll need modifications (if nothing else, the darn USB connector... I'm definitely switching back to mini, which shouldn't be a problem).



Sorry, wish I had a bit more of this nailed down... unfortunately, this is very much a sideline for me so it goes in fits and starts. Happily, my new wife is very keen on making the whole operation more professional, so with luck we'll see improvements in the whole process soon :)

AxiomX
Posts: 6
Joined: February 10 2013, 14:55 PM

Re: Updates coming

Postby AxiomX » February 07 2016, 23:47 PM

Using Google Chrome trying to Add to cart a popup occurs with "error undefined".

AxiomX
Posts: 6
Joined: February 10 2013, 14:55 PM

Re: Updates coming

Postby AxiomX » February 07 2016, 23:51 PM

Forgot to say.

Good for the wife! :D

vputz
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » February 08 2016, 2:03 AM

Woops! I got a few orders last week so I assumed the store was working--you're right, it's most displeased! Hmm; getting ready for work but maybe I can fix it afterwards.

vputz
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » February 08 2016, 2:18 AM

AxiomX-- sorry, there's a cross-site scripting error if you get to the store via store.thingotron.com ... I'll try to fix it when I get home. If I access the store by www.thingotron.com, it seems to work right. Sorry to give you the wrong url, and thanks for posting the trouble!

AxiomX
Posts: 6
Joined: February 10 2013, 14:55 PM

Re: Updates coming

Postby AxiomX » February 08 2016, 18:18 PM

It is more than that 8)

Went in via www url and was able to add both to cart.

Finished filling out the first part of checkout.

When I clicked the Continue button got another JavaScript error about invalid syntax followed by OK then several lines of data.

The page is dead and will not do anything.

AxiomX
Posts: 6
Joined: February 10 2013, 14:55 PM

Re: Updates coming

Postby AxiomX » February 08 2016, 18:19 PM

oops, meant step 2.

vputz
Posts: 340
Joined: March 25 2006, 20:21 PM
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » February 09 2016, 2:08 AM

Well dang! Looks like I have more work to do. Really odd as it was working last week. Well, let me see what I can do today :(



Edit: Looks like mail is failing, with a "DATA not accepted by server" error, but I'm not sure what's causing it (like I said, it worked earlier...). One problem may be that it's trying to send you an email "from you", which seems really an odd choice for the store to do; could be my mail service thought that looked too much like me spamming.



If you want, you can just PM me and I can exchange emails for an order while I sort the store out (I'm likely going to take it "down" for a bit anyway as I run out of inventory and try to get the next version out the door). Sorry about this!
Last edited by vputz on February 09 2016, 3:09 AM, edited 1 time in total.

vputz
Posts: 340
Joined: March 25 2006, 20:21 PM
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » February 09 2016, 2:40 AM

Yep, pretty mysterious. If I understand it right, the error is "DATA not accepted from server" when the store tries to send email--and that error message is received through AJAX, which then complains about a token. Which is all odd as it was working a while ago. The error logs show an error with trying to send you email.



Not sure quite what's going on. I'll have a look at the provider and see if I can fix whatever it is.



EDIT: Well, I changed a line in the mail.php file to put the right "from" address, and so far it looks promising. Give the store one more go and if that fails PM me!

flauzus
Posts: 9
Joined: December 09 2009, 8:42 AM

Re: Updates coming

Postby flauzus » March 15 2016, 11:04 AM

Hi Victor,



Satisfied Orbduino user here currently using my Orb Shield with a Spaceball 4000 FLX. :D



The 6DOF genre is currently undergoing a Renaissance with the recent release and upcoming release of several 6DOF titles. Most recently was the successful Kickstarter campaigns for Descent:Underground by Descendent Studios and Overload by Revival Productions. The latter, Revival Productions, is comprised by the developers of original Descent franchise (Parallax/Outrage/Volition) . It's a great time to be a 6DOF gamer.



Being both a backer and active member on the forums for these projects, many legacy players are dusting off their SpaceOrbs in anticipation and are seeking a means to use them. I have Spaceballs and a SpaceOrb but don't like to reprogram the Orb Shield every time I switch controllers. I was planning on buying a second device for the SpaceOrb but I see I missed the last run of the Orbotrons. When will the successor be available? I am not the only one asking.



Technical question:



I recently posted the bindings for using the Orbdurino with a [url=https://descendentstudios.com/community/topic/3786-spacetec-spaceorb-360/]SpaceOrb[/url], [url=https://descendentstudios.com/community/topic/3784-3dconnexion-spaceball-4000-flx/]Spaceball 4000[/url] and [url=https://descendentstudios.com/community/topic/3785-3dconnexion-spaceball-5000-flx/]Spaceball 5000[/url] on the Descent:Underground forums. Do you know if the same bindings apply for the Orbotron 9000 and it successor?



Thanks.

vputz
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » March 16 2016, 10:16 AM

Flauzus:



I totally agree about the slight Renaissance of 6dofs! It's an exciting time. Unfortunately unless a miracle happens it's going to be a few more months. The first prototypes came back... The USB c ideas won't be worth it so I'm switching back to ausb micro or mini, but it's looking decent.



The bad news is that I got orders to move (done with this job assignment) in a few months and that's going to be super busy. If the prototypes work, I can probably get you one. The software pretty much works (I need to tweak the keyboard/mouse emulation) so I'm optimistic. If the prototypes work, I may be able to get you one before I move, but a proper production run will be a while until I get a new place to live and unpack my workshop.



As for the bindings, they are mostly the same. Check out the wiki and see if that helps... I'm on a business trip right now so can't really look at much code. Wiki is... Hmm, wiki.thingotron.com and search for "concepts" (sorry no proper link, typing on my phone). I think they're similar and the programming won't change much for the successor if at all.

flauzus
Posts: 9
Joined: December 09 2009, 8:42 AM

Re: Updates coming

Postby flauzus » March 22 2016, 8:31 AM

Victor,



Yes I am interested in acquiring a working prototype (if possible) of the yet to be named successor of the Orbotron 9000. I would like to review the device and post the results on some of the 6DOF forums with the purchasing and configuration information. I will make sure to include any desired disclaimers about it being a prototype and of expected release date for a production run.



I saw the Orbotron 9000 came pre-flashed for the SpaceOrb 360. This is great since most of the interest has been with former SpaceOrb users or gamers who were aware of them and have an interest. There are also those like myself who are CAD specialists and are more familiar with the Spaceball series, as well as gamers who find desktop devices more appealing since it frees up the other hand for other tasks. Also serial Spaceballs are easier to acquire than SpaceOrbs.



Would it be possible to offer the new device pre-flashed for either the SpaceOrb 360, Spaceball 4000 or serial Spaceball 5000 to address these individuals? Many of them may not feel comfortable with Arduino programming and the plug-and-play aspect with the option to reprogram is appealing.



Thanks.

vputz
Posts: 340
Joined: March 25 2006, 20:21 PM
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Re: Updates coming

Postby vputz » March 22 2016, 11:34 AM

Flauzus--



Sounds good; I'm hoping to assemble the first couple in the next few weeks and hopefully we'll have some luck.



As for preflashing, that should be easy enough. I'm also going to experiment in the future with more robust detection (there want much spare memory on the old one). Preflashing would be easy and reliable though, and I still have one of each of the desk models... Hopefully the new house will have room for more of a "shipping station" where I could do a final flash-and-test as they go out... Besides which I'm hoping to expand support to non-spaceball devices as well...


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