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Onboard Computers

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Earlier revision Versalogic Cobra EBX-12 Computer with green board (CPU and cooling fan omitted in this photo)
Later revision Versalogic Cobra EBX-12 Computer with red board (RAM omitted in this photo)
Versalogic Mamba EBX-37 Computer (RAM omitted in this photo)


General Information

Most onboard computers on Pioneers, PeopleBots, PatrolBots, GuiaBot, Seekurs and Seekur Jr.s, are a Versalogic industrial EBX-size board. Newer Pioneer 3 and Seekur Jr. robots have mini-ITX-sized boards. Current Pioneer 3 and Seekur Jr. robots have a Corvalent Q87 mini-ITX single board computer. Previous Pioneers contained Versalogic "Mamba" EBX-37, "Cobra" EBX-12, VSBC-8 VSBC-7, VSBC-6, or other computers. PowerBots have full size ATX Corvalent 965AT computers, previously a Phoenix ATX-G computer was used.

Pioneer LX has an embedded computer integrated with other electronics inside its control/compute "core".

A short run of experimental AmigoBots, called "Centibots", was also produced, with top-mounted VIA computers. All other Amigobots have no onboard computer.

Most robots have hard-disk drives, varying widely in size in pace with storage technology. Starting with the Mamba onboard computers, SSD (solid state disks) are now used instead. Select models may optionally have had a solid state flash disk instead and EBX-12s can be fitted with a CF-form factor SSD in one of its primary IDE-channels.

Manuals for the computer motherboards containing specifications, details of the BIOS, components and connectors, etc. can be found in the Manuals page in the "Onboard Computers" section. All robots with onboard computers have a side or top panel providing connectors for the monitor, mouse and keyboard. See your robot operations manual for instructions on opening the robot and accessing the computer for repair or access to other ports.

As of February 2017, 64-bit operating systems (Linux or Windows) are installed on Corvalent Q87 or LX Core computers. On the Versalogic EBX-37 "Mamba" and on all previous computers, a 32-bit operating system (Linux or Windows) was used on all computers. 64-bit builds of most current MobileRobots software packages are now available; for some applications, the 32-bit version may be easily installed and used on a 64-bit OS with no problems.

See Onboard Computer Operating Systems for more about the different onboard computer operating systems.

See Drivers to download any special drivers that may be required for some onboard computer integrated devices.


If your robot's onboard computer is running an old version of an operating system, you may upgrade. For incremental upgrades, you can use the operating system's upgrade tools. Sometimes a complete reinstallation is neccesary however.

Some more information on upgrading or reinstalling the OS:

On some robots it may be possible to replace the computer with a newer computer. Contact Sales for more information.

If you replace the onboard computer with your own computer, you can turn off power to the old computer, or remove it entirely. Use the HOST serial port for software connection to the robot controller. See robot manual and other pages on this website for information about using robot's available power supplies.




Setup Notes

All mainboards hold certain setup and practices in common.

Isolate resource intensive device IRQs

Your robot computer was thoroughly configured and tested upon shipping, but adding and removing devices or changing BIOS or OS settings can often cause headaches. Whether using APIC or not, it helps to manually verify your data-intensive devices aren't being overlapped on single interrupt(real or virtual) lines. See the FAQ Why is my PC104 or PCI device not functioning or unusable?, and Computer Serial Port Configuration

Adding Custom Hardware

Potential uses for the onboard PCs are too numerous to list them all. When adding your own custom device, verify compatibility with the specific mainboard. Also note that some robots have restrictions on voltages provided to the mainboard due to design constraints which may affect various peripherals. (Robots bought without onboard computers may not meet power-requirements for instantly dropping in your own.) Although we cannot necessarily support any given device, make sure to verify power requirements, OS-support, and physical-spacing requirements for your specific device. Contact Support with any questions.

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