A cool way to control & record up to 12 servos and 3 seperate switchable outputs!

The SSB or Serial Servo Board from Botbuilder is a servo board with a few differences. Not only can you control 12 servos, you have power over 3 switchable outputs, but the best bit... You can record all this information and play it back without a host computer attached! This opens up endless possibilities for robotics, animatronics, retail displays, art projetcs, toy hacking, model making the list is endless!

Along side these great features you can initiate playback via the on board button, or an external trigger. This can be another computer, a micro controller such as an Arduino or any thing else that can act as a switch. You could have a display that plays back a sequence of movements when the user presses a button or activates a sensor, great for education and entertainment applications.

The Board also interfaces to a comuter over a serial port (USB optional or Dsub), plus you can control it from any other TTL serial device such as an Arduino. Control 12 servos and 3 outputs from one pin!

One last thing, it is easy to use - no tricky protocols to decypher. Plus there is a comprehensive software suite available if you don't fancy writing your own code. Keep reading to find out more...

Availabe as a kit or pre-assembled.

Board overview

The Board in action!

Here are a few videos showing the kind of cool things you can do with it.

iPhone interfaced to a Dalek

   RoboRealm object tracking with camera

iPhone interfaced to a Labyrinth game

   iPhone accelerometer control of a wheeled robot

Connection options

Out of the box the board interfaces to a computer over serial, or microprocessor over TTL. The board has a dSub rs232 port (legacy com serial port) as standard. A USB - Serial cable is available as an option, if your computer or host device does not support the legacy com port.

Go wireless!

Available as an optional accessory you can easily access, control and program your board over a bluetooth connection. This is useful if the board is inside an enclosure, and you don't have easy access to it. Also a great option for controliing things with wheels that roam about.

Wireless features:
  • Bluetooth Class 1 - 100m range in free space
  • On Board Antenna
  • Available with nano host Bluetooth USB adapter
  • Powered from the board, no need for extra PSU

Failsafe system monitor

An intellegent failsafe system that monitors the serial communications. In the event of a lost signal for a time you specify in microseconds results in the board defaulting all servo and output channels to their startup positions. If the failsafe has been triggered, you can easily regain control by sending a serial command when communications are resorted. Start and stop the failsafe watchdog at any time during your control session. You can rest assured that when the comms are lost, your robot is not!

No more spiralling out of control because of a glitch in the serial data stream, this is an invaluable feature for wirelessly controlled projects!

Failsafe features:
  • User specified TTF (Time to failure), specify this in microseconds to match your data stream.
  • TTF values stored in memory, no need to set them at each resart.
  • Program the board's default or startup servo positions, these are the positions the board will goto when the failsafe is triggered.
  • Enable or disable the failsafe at any point during your data communications.
  • When a failsafe has occured, easily initiate servo movements again over the data stream when it has been restored.
  • Invaluable for fast or remote robots, that can cause damage to themselfs or objects when out of control.

Talk to it as easy as "123a"

An easy to use protocol for talking to the board has been developed so you can easily write your own control software if needed. Here is a brief example of how to move a servo to a position:

123a This will move the servo on channel A 123 degrees.

To Program a sequence of movements to the on board RAM, you send: p123a56b34c# This initiates the programming, sends the sequence and then ends the program. The board is even polite enough to tell you the programming is finished, with "program done"

You can also move servos in uS, just append the position with a '$' eg b$1500 will move the servo on channel b 1500uS which is center.

Other features include setting the serial port speed, usefull for older hardware, fancy controlling servos with a commodore Amiga 500?

A full protocol instruction set is documented with each board. If you don't want to write your own control software and just want to control servos, then there is a software suite available.

Software suite

If you just want to jump straight in and create your own sequences without being exposed to any code, then the software suite is just right for you. You have total control over all 12 servos, 3 switchable outputs and all the program & playback functions.

Software features:
  • Control all 12 channels and 3 outputs from one screen using position sliders
  • Use a standard Joystick or joypad to control 6 servos and 3 outputs
  • Mouse control over 2 channels and 3 outputs
  • Direction drive control for 360 continuous rotation servos using the keyboard or on screen controls
  • All channels reversible and limits can be set for travel
  • Record movements from any control method
  • Test board playback with one click download to board RAM feature
  • Load and save configurations.
  • Load and save sequence routines.

Software screenshots:


Send a mail to bot@botbuilder.co.uk for further information.