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Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: November 30th, 2010, 8:29 pm
by Parker
Has anyone interfaced to the Trilobite?

So far I only found a vague reference to some "Trilobite control system" but no details.

In the conclusion of this 2003 Master's thesis it says:
The interface has been built using applets, which are connected
to the “Trilobite” control system via a TCP socket connection.
Someone else has written the Trilobite’s control system earlier. The
interface has four different programs to choose from. Only two of them
are working so far because of a limited number of commands on the
already written Robot’s server.
http://www.nada.kth.se/utbildning/grukt ... _03047.pdf


Would love to get it hooked up!
Parker

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: December 1st, 2010, 6:42 am
by Parker
Here is some more information:
  • The trilobite has a serial interface. It is hidden in the bottom of the unit.
  • To use the interface with a computer requires only a special connector and a level converter.
  • The protocol is not complicated but is not in the public domain.
  • The interface allows access to a variety of details about the unit such as battery status, sonar data
  • It has been used before to develop new navigation algorithms and new control systems

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: February 14th, 2011, 2:52 pm
by labude
Hi,

i'm also very interested in gathering some information about the communcation protocol of the trilobite. So i decided to ask Prof. Henrik I. Christensen, Ph.D. – who is the Chair of Robotics Director – Robotics and Intelligent Machines @ Georgia Tech.
He wrote:
"Interesting that you are working with the Trilobite. I am not aware the protocol for communication is publicly available. We signed a 10 year NDA with Electrolux. While I have a document that details the protocol, I am not allowed to send you a copy. Sorry

Henrik"

This means that there must be somewhere a note about he communication protocol - but not easy to get...

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: April 7th, 2011, 7:03 am
by Parker
Here is a picture of the trilobite interface socket.

Does anyone know what this kind of connector is called?

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: April 7th, 2011, 7:51 am
by Parker
Here are some components found in the ZA1:

Microcontroller: MC68332ACPV16
The MC68332 is a highly-integrated 32 bit microcontroller that combines high-performance data manipulation capabilities with powerful peripheral subsystems.This MCU is built up from standard modules that interface through a common intermodule bus (IMB).

The MCU incorporates a 32 bit CPU (CPU32), a system integration module (SIM), a time processing unit (TPU), a queued serial module (QSM) and a 2 Kbyte static RAM module with TPU emulation capability (TPURAM). http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/sit ... de=MC68332


Flash memory: Am29F040B
4 Megabit (512 K x 8-Bit) CMOS 5.0 Volt-only, Uniform Sector Flash Memory http://www.digchip.com/datasheets/parts ... 9F040B.php


Analog-to-digital converter: MAX192BC
Low-Power, 8-Channel, Serial 10-Bit ADC

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: April 7th, 2011, 3:05 pm
by Link
Very interesting, got an A1Trilobite myself but I don't have the skills for that kind of software homework....

Isn't there a good chance to track down the connections between the red plug and the IC´s?
I just looked at the detail pictures I made from my mainboard the last time I did a trilo maintenance. Probably some are connected to the bootchip and some to the memory / CPU.
Isn't at least the bootchip interface well enough documented?

And that 10 year NDA shouldn't that run down in the foreseeable future?

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: May 6th, 2011, 9:27 am
by Parker
@Link:

NDA: according to Henrik, it'll be "another couple of years", so that's a dead end for now.

Re: Following the connections, yes - would love to hear if you manage that. Besides, I don't think there are many connections for a serial interface, most of the pins will be redundant.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: May 9th, 2011, 6:35 am
by bhylak
How about contacting Electrolux?

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: May 25th, 2011, 12:28 pm
by vespaman
The connector is afaict a amp/tyco Micro-MaTch
Finding the uart signals shouldn't be a problem. But the protocol would probably be a bit tough. At least without a BDM connection. Possibly there's a BDM on the red connector for firmware upgrade. In that case someone with a 5V BDM cable might do some good... ;-)

I used to work with the 68331, which is a sister chip to the '332, but changed employer, so I don't have that stuff anymore.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: May 25th, 2011, 2:53 pm
by Parker
vespaman wrote:The connector is afaict a amp/tyco Micro-MaTch

Thanks. It's good to know the name. So something like this might be useful:
http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/displayProduc ... 2-00001000

vespaman wrote:Finding the uart signals shouldn't be a problem.

I'll do this next time I have to take it apart assuming no-one else has done it before then.

vespaman wrote:Finding the uart signals shouldn't be a problem. But the protocol would probably be a bit tough. At least without a BDM connection. Possibly there's a BDM on the red connector for firmware upgrade. In that case someone with a 5V BDM cable might do some good... ;-)

I have not heard of BDM before, so this is over my head.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: May 26th, 2011, 1:07 pm
by vespaman
Yes, that seams to be the right connector!

I hope I don't have to take mine apart too soon, but if I do, also I will check what's on that connector.

If you (or anyone else) beat me to it, please try to map all signals, not just the uart ones!

BDM is short for Background Debug Mode, which is the "development door" to the unit.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: May 26th, 2011, 3:31 pm
by Parker
vespaman wrote:If you (or anyone else) beat me to it, please try to map all signals, not just the uart ones!

I believe only two pins are connected. I've attached a photo I took a while back and you can see the two tracks under "X11" are the only ones that appear to go to the connector. Does that sound right?

vespaman wrote:BDM is short for Background Debug Mode, which is the "development door" to the unit.


Using BDM requires a gadget like this, right?
http://www.pemicro.com/products/product ... 4B7A6C1274

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 11:53 am
by vespaman
Parker wrote:
vespaman wrote:If you (or anyone else) beat me to it, please try to map all signals, not just the uart ones!

I believe only two pins are connected. I've attached a photo I took a while back and you can see the two tracks under "X11" are the only ones that appear to go to the connector. Does that sound right?


I pretty sure there are more tracks on the other side, because
a) There has to be at least TxD, RxD and Ground for any kind of intelligent protocol
b) The connector would not have been chosen if only 3-4 pins where to be used.
c) I would be very surprised if they would not have any means to update firmware on this device, even if it was at the time where flash was new and not all hardware designs did incorporate it.

I have been wrong before though... ;-)

Parker wrote:
vespaman wrote:BDM is short for Background Debug Mode, which is the "development door" to the unit.


Using BDM requires a gadget like this, right?
http://www.pemicro.com/products/product ... 4B7A6C1274


Yes, but I'm not sure that one works with the 33x. (I'd probably ask pemicro). This one will most likely do the job (have to make sure the cpu is 5V prior to purchase as there where also 3.3V devices. I think the 5V ones where more common at the time, though.
http://www.pemicro.com/products/product ... EBA1FE957E


Edit: Seeing that the device has been specified above, it seams that it is indeed a 5V '332 that is designed in.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 12:06 pm
by vespaman
What would be the idea/goal about hacking it, by the way? A better room awareness? Remote control, or .. ?

I'd personally would love better room knowledge/mapping, but that is far more complicated than interface/protocol hacking.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 12:22 pm
by bhylak
Maybe it would be easier just to bypass the main board...

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 12:38 pm
by vespaman
bhylak wrote:Maybe it would be easier just to bypass the main board...


There's 9 ultrasonic detectors, and 4 IR, and then the motor control logic, and the mechanic sensors. Assuming that one would like to still use ultrasonic/IR, I think bypassing the main board would have a too big impact on the software part. I would not mind doing the hardware, but would fear the software for a hobby project?!

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 3:11 pm
by bhylak
Point taken. It could be done though

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 5:01 pm
by vespaman
Certainly! And it would be nice with a fully open source replacement. If enough people are up for it, I'd be all in. But I am not sure the platform is common enough for such a large undertaking. Having said this, I remember reading something about a more generic solution (not too bound to a particular platform) in another thread here. Not sure if that thread came to any consensus (have to read the thread) on how to best do such a project.

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: June 7th, 2011, 9:19 pm
by bhylak
Go to the wiki. Project: Vacuum Freedom

Re: Hacking the Electrolux Trilobite

PostPosted: July 7th, 2011, 5:19 am
by Parker
I contacted Electrolux to ask if they would consider publishing the protocol. Ulrik Danestad, senior engineer at Electrolux Floor Care got back to me. He replied (7th April 2011):

I will check again if we can be more open now when production is stopped.
Eventually it would gain some students and Electrolux at the same time.


I have not heard back since. Perhaps if others were to enquire and possibly persuade him of the benefit of making the protocol public we could all benefit. May be the more people that enquire the better to show the level of interest. I can't see what Electrolux has to lose since they're not making them anymore and videos of novel applications of the Trilobite is good publicity (think Trilobite with SLAM or mounted with a Kinect!)

> Ulrik Danestad
> Senior Engineer, Lab & Technology Center
> E-mail ulrik.danestad@electrolux.se
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Electrolux Floor Care & Small Appliances AB
> S:t Göransgatan 143
> SE-105 45 Stockholm, Sweden

PM me for his phone number.