e-puck2

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1 Overview


2 Specifications

The e-puck2 robot maintains full compatibility with its predecessor e-puck (e-puck HWRev 1.3 is considered in the following table):

Feature e-puck1.3 e-puck2 Compatibility Additional
Size, weight 70 mm diameter, 55 mm height, 150 g Same form factor: 70 mm diameter, 45 mm, 130 g No e-jumper required
Battery, autonomy LiIPo rechargeable battery (external charger), 1800 mAh.
About 3 hours autonomy. Recharging time about 2-3h.
Same battery; USB charging, recharging time about 2.5h. USB charging
Processor 16-bit dsPIC30F6014A @ 60MHz (15 MIPS), DSP core for signal processing 32-bit STM32F407 @ 168 MHz (210 DMIPS), DSP and FPU, DMA ~10 times faster
Memory RAM: 8 KB; Flash: 144 KB RAM: 192 KB; Flash: 1024 KB RAM: 24x more capable
Flash:~7x more capable
Motors 2 stepper motors with a 50:1 reduction gear; 20 steps per revolution; about 0.13 mm resolution Same motors
Wheels Wheels diamater = 41 mm
Distance between wheels = 53 mm
Same wheels
Speed Max: 1000 steps/s (about 12.9 cm/s) Max: 1200 steps/s (about 15.4 cm/s) 20% faster
Mechanical structure Transparent plastic body supporting PCBs, battery and motors Same mechanics
Distance sensor 8 infra-red sensors measuring ambient light and proximity of objects up to 6 cm Same infra-red sensors
Front real distance sensor, Time of fight (ToF), up to 2 meter.
ToF sensor
IMU 3D accelerometer and 3D gyro 3D accelerometer, 3D gyro, 3D magnetometer 3D magnetometer
Camera VGA color camera; typical use: 52x39 or 480x1 Same camera; typical use: 160x120 Bigger images handling
Audio 3 omni-directional microphones for sound localization
speaker capable of playing WAV or tone sounds
4 omni-directional microhpones (digital) for sound localization
speaker capable of playing WAV or tone sounds
+1 front microphone
LEDs 8 red LEDs around the robot, green body light, 1 strong red LED in front 4 red LEDs and 4 RGB LEDs around the robot, green light, 1 strong red LED in front 4x RGB LEDs
Communication RS232 and Bluetooth 2.0 for connection and programming USB Full-speed, Bluetooth 2.0, BLE, WiFi WiFi, BLE
Storage Not available Micro SD slot Micro SD
Remote Control Infra-red receiver for standard remote control commands Same receiver
Switch / selector 16 position rotating switch Same selector
Extensions Ground sensors, range and bearing, RGB panel, Gumstix extension, omnivision, your own All extension supported
Programming Free C compiler and IDE, Webots simulator, external debugger Free C compiler and IDE, Webots simulator, onboard debugger (GDB) Onboard debugger

This is the overall communication schema:

3 Installation of the e-puck2 environment

Some programs are needed to program the e-puck2.

  1. Eclipse_e-puck2 is a distribution of Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers specially modified to edit and compile e-puck2's projects out of the box. It doesn't require to be installed and everything needed is located in the package given. The only dependency needed to be able to run Eclipse is Java.
  2. Drivers must also be installed for Windows older than Windows 10.

3.1 Installation for Windows

3.1.1 Java 8 32bits

This section can be ignored if Java version 8 32bits is already installed on your computer.
To verify, you can open the Programs and Features panel and search for a Java 8 Update xxx install.

  1. Go to the Java download page and download "Windows offline" This is the 32bits version of Java.
  2. Run the downloaded installer and follow its instructions to proceed with the installation of Java 32bits.
  3. Close the internet browser if it opened at the end of the installation.

Java download page

3.1.2 Eclipse_e-puck2

  1. Download the Eclipse_e-puck2 package for windows.
  2. Unzip the downloaded file to the location you want (can take time). It is strongly recommended for better performance and less extraction time to use 7Zip. You can download it on http://www.7-zip.org.
  3. You can now run the Eclipse_e-puck2.exe to launch Eclipse.
  4. You can create a shortcut to Eclipse_e-puck2.exe and place it anywhere if you want.

Eclipse_e-puck2 folder obtained after extraction

Important things to avoid :

1. The path to the Eclipse_e-puck2 folder must contain zero space.
Example :
C:\epfl_stuff\Eclipse_e-puck2 OK
C:\epfl stuff\Eclipse_e-puck2 NOT OK
2. The file’s structure in the Eclipse_e-puck2 folder must remain the same. It means no file inside this folder must be moved to another place.

3.1.3 Drivers

This part concerns only the users of a Windows version older than Windows 10. The drivers are automatically installed with Windows 10.

  1. Open zadig-2.3.exe located in the Eclipse_e-puck2\Tools\ you installed before.
  2. Connect the e-puck2 with the USB cable and turn it on. Three unknown devices must have appeared in the device list of the program, namely e-puck2 STM32F407, e-puck2 GDB Server (Interface 0) and e-puck2 Serial Monitor (Interface 2).
  3. For each of the three devices mentioned above, select the USB Serial (CDC) driver and click on the "Install Driver" button to install it. Accept the different prompts which may appear during the process. After that you can simply quit the program and the drivers are installed. These steps are illustrated on Figure 3 below.
Note : The drivers installed are located in C:\Users\"your_user_name"\usb_driver

Example of driver installation for e-puck2 STM32F407

3.2 Installation for Linux

3.2.1 Java 8

This section can be ignored if Java is already installed on your computer.
To verify you can type the following command into a terminal window.

update-java-alternatives -l

If java is installed, you will get some information about the java installed, otherwise the command will not be known.
You need to have Java 1.8.xxxx listed to be able to run Eclipse_e-puck2.

  1. Type the following commands in a terminal session to install Java SDK
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openjdk-r/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre 

3.2.2 Eclipse_e-puck2

  1. Download the Eclipse_e-puck2 package for Linux 32bits / 64bits. Pay attention to the 32bits or 64bits version.
  2. Extract the downloaded file to the location you want (can take time).
  3. You can now run the Eclipse_e-puck2 executable to launch Eclipse.

Eclipse_e-puck2 folder obtained after extraction

Note : The icon of the Eclipse_e-puck2 executable will appear after the first launch of the program.

Important things to avoid :

1. You cannot create a Link to the Eclipse_e-puck2 executable because otherwise the program will think its location is where the Link is and it will not find the resource located in the Eclipse_e-puck2 folder.
2. The path to the Eclipse_e-puck2 folder must contain zero space.
Example :
/home/student/epfl_stuff/Eclipse_e-puck2 OK
/home/student/epfl stuff/Eclipse_e-puck2 NOT OK
3. The file’s structure in the Eclipse_e-puck2 folder must remain the same. It means no file inside this folder must be moved to another place.

3.2.3 Serial Port

In order to let Eclipse, or any program ran by you to access the serial ports, a little configuration is needed.

Type the following command in a terminal session. Once done, you need to log off to let the change take effect.

sudo adduser $USER dialout

3.3 Installation for Mac

3.3.1 Java 8

This section can be ignored if Java is already installed on your computer.

To verify you can type the following command into a terminal window. It will list all the Java runtimes installed on your Mac.

/usr/libexec/java_home -V

You need to have "Java SE 8" listed to be able to run Eclipse_e-puck2.

1. Go to the Java download page and download the Mac OS X Java 8 SE Development Kit. It is the .dmg file without the Demos and Samples.
For example : jdk-8uXXX-macosx-x64.dmg
2. Open the .dmg file downloaded, run the installer and follow the instructions to proceed with the installation of Java SDK.

Java download page

3.3.2 Eclipse_e-puck2

1. Download the Eclipse_e-puck2 package for Mac.
2. Open the .dmg file downloaded and DragAndDrop the Eclipse_e-puck2.app into the Applications folder
Note : You can place the Eclipse_e-puck2.app anywhere, as long as the full path to it doesn’t contain any space, if you don’t want it to be in Applications.
3. You can create an Alias to Eclipse_e-puck2.app and place it anywhere if you want.

3.3.3 First launch and Gatekeeper

It’s very likely that Gatekeeper (one of the protections of Mac OS) will prevent you to launch Eclipse_e-puck2.app because it isn’t signed from a known developer.
If you can’t run the program because of a warning of the system. Press OK and try to launch it by right clicking on it and choosing "open" in the contextual menu (may be slow to open the first time).
If « Unable to open "Eclipse_e-puck2.app" because this app comes from an unidentified developer. » or if « "Eclipse.app" is corrupted and cannot be opened. You should place this item in the Trash. »
appears after executing the app the first time, it is needed to disable temporarily Gatekeeper.

To do so :

1. Go to System Preferences->security and privacy->General and authorize downloaded application from Anywhere.

Security settings of Mac OS
If you are on Mac OS Sierra or greater (greater or equal to Mac OS 10.12), you must type the following command on the terminal to make the option above appear.
sudo spctl --master-disable
2. Now you can try to run the application and it should work.
3. If Eclipse opened successfully, it is time to reactivate Gatekeeper. Simply set back the setting of gatekeeper.
For the ones who needed to type a command to disable Gatekeeper, here is the command to reactivate it.
sudo spctl --master-enable

This procedure is only needed the first time. After that Gatekeeper will remember your choice to let run this application and will not bother you anymore, as long as you use this application. If you re-download it, you will have to redo the procedure for Gatekeeper.

Important things to avoid :

1. The path to the Eclipse_e-puck2.app must contain zero space.
Example :
/home/student/epfl_stuff/Eclipse_e-puck2 OK
/home/student/epfl stuff/Eclipse_e-puck2 NOT OK
2. The file’s structure in the Eclipse_e-puck2.app must remain the same. It means no file inside this app must be moved to another place.

4 Getting Started

4.1 Finding the serial port used

At least two ports are used by the e-puck2's programmer.

Another one can be used by the e-puck2's microcontroller, depending on the code inside.

4.1.1 Windows

  1. Open the Device Manager
  2. Under Ports (COM & LPT) you can see the virtual ports connected to your computer.
  3. Do a Right-click -> properties on the COM port you want to identify.
  4. Go under the details tab and select Bus reported device description in the properties list.
  5. The name of the port should be written in the text box below.
  6. Once you found the desired device, you can simply look at its port number (COMX).

4.1.2 Linux

1. Open a terminal window (ctrl+alt+t) and enter the following command.
ls /dev/ttyACM*
2. Look for ttyACM0 and ttyACM1 in the generated list, which are respectively e-puck2 GDB Server and e-puck2 Serial Monitor.

Note : Virtual serial port numbering on Linux is made by the connections order, thus it can be different if another device using virtual serial ports is already connected to your computer.

4.1.3 Mac

1. Open a terminal window and enter the following command.
ls /dev/cu.usbmodem*
2. Look for two cu.usbmodemXXXX, where XXXX is the number attributed by your computer. You should find two names, more or less following in the numbering, which are respectively e-puck2 GDB Server and e-puck2 Serial Monitor.

Note : Virtual serial port numbering on Mac depends on the physical USB port used and the device. If you want to keep the same names, you must connect to the same USB port each time.

4.2 First configuration of Eclipse_e-puck2

Eclipse_e-puck2 contains everything needed to compile, program and debug the e-puck2.
The only settings to configure with a new project are located under the Debug configurations tab of Eclipse.


Once in the settings, select Blackmagic Probe preset on the left panel. Then you need to configure two things :

  1. Under the main tab, you need to select which project to debug and the path to the compiled file. If the project has already been compiled, Eclipse must have indexed the binaries and you can list the project and the compiled files using respectively the Browse... and Search Project... buttons.
  2. Under the Startup tab, you need to replace the path to the serial port written on the first line of the text box by the one used by the GDB Server of your e-puck. See how to find it.
  • For Windows, it will be \\.\COMX, X being the port number.
  • For Linux, it will be /dev/ttyACMX, X being the port number
  • For Mac, it will be /dev/cu.usbmodemXXXXX, XXXXX being the port number.

If you want to debug another project, you can change the settings of the Blackmagic Probe preset or copy it into another preset and configure this one in order to have one preset by project. Now you should be able to use the debugger with Eclipse.

4.3 Using the DFU

To put the e-puck2 into DFU, it is needed to turn it on while keeping pressed the "407 boot" button located under the electronic card on the left side of the robot.
The robot will appear as "STM32 BOOTLOADER" in the USB devices.

Once in DFU, you can program it with dfu-util using the following command :

dfu-util -d 0483:df11 -a 0 -s 0x08000000 -D your_firmware.bin

See the manual page of dfu-util for further information on how to use it.

Note : For windows, it is needed to install a libusbK driver for the DFU device.
You can use the Zadig program located in the Eclipse_e-puck2\Tools\ (if you installed Eclipse_e-puck2 package) to install it.
Follow the same procedure as explained above under the Installation drivers section using libusbK driver instead of USB Serial (CDC).