How the Aibo Donor Program Works

As fellow Aibo owners we all know how difficult it is when things go wrong and our lithium ion powered pals need repair.

Whilst this is almost always possible, it can get expensive if parts are required and the repairs needed are extensive.  It is for this reason that we have launched the Aibo Donor Program.

You see, we believe that every Aibo deserves the right to live on through repair but the sad fact of life is that not every owner can afford this.  After all some of us have had our Aibo's for 20 years now

and personal circumstances change.  Some were given as generous gifts and some were even as prizes in competitions but what this means is that although we have a high tech powered pal to keep

us company we can't always afford to keep them fit and healthy.

That's where the donor program comes in.  We accept Aibo's in all types of condition or age from generous owners who want their pals to live on in others when they reach their end of life.

We then respectfully and carefully asses how these donated Aibo's can benefit others and then store them accordingly.  We will also provide the original owners with a certificate of donation showing the date, name and model and serial number details of their donation

as these details are added onto our Aibo donation register.  The original owners will then be notified as and when their pal has helped others to keep going.  This allows the original owners to take some solace in the fact that they are helping others

and that their own powered pal is living on within another.  According to our strict privacy policy we will not divulge any owner information unless given permission to do so and this is all confirmed upon donation.

Should anyone have any questions about the Aibo Donor program we are always happy to help by text, email, phone or email and we can answer any question you may have.

 

 

The ERS-220 was released by Sony in November 2001.

Contents

  • 1History
  • 2Design
  • 3Function
    • 3.1Hardware
    • 3.2Models
      • 3.2.1Supercore
      • 3.2.2Special Editions
    • 3.3Software
    • 3.4Troubleshooting

History

Released shortly after the ERS-311 and ERS-312 on 11/8/2001, the ERS-220 aimed to embrace robotic and mechanical design. The ERS-220A model began preorder on July 1st in the US and EU.

Design

 
A collage of Kawamori's work on AIBO

The ERS-220 was designed by Japanese designer, artist, and producer Shoji Kawamori. Notably, he also created the anime series Macross and worked on mechanical design for Ghost in the Shell.
Unlike other AIBO models, the ERS-220 was not designed to appear at all organic but instead took a directly mecha-inspired approach.

Function

Hardware

The hardware of the ERS-220 is identical to the ERS-210 with the exclusion of four degrees of freedom (no moving "tail" module or articulated ears). A variety of LEDs were added that were not present on the ERS-210.

Processor 64-bit RISC processor
Memory 32MB
Inputs PC Card Type III
Charging terminal
Camera 100,000-pixel CMOS image sensor
Audio Input Stereo microphone
Audio output Speaker
Sensors Thermometric sensor
Infrared distance sensor
Acceleration sensor
Pressure sensor (on the head), with switches on the chin, back, and paws
Vibration sensor
Degrees of freedom Head: 3 degrees of freedom
Retractable head light: 1 degree of freedom
Leg: 16 degrees of freedom per leg
(20 degrees of freedom in total)
Power consumption Approx 9 W (in normal mode)

Models

Supercore

Along with ERS-210's, the ERS-220 was released as a Supercore AIBO. However, the ERS-220 was not utilized in RoboCup competition. Worth noting is the ERS-220's dependence on OPEN-R 1.1.3, which shipped out-of-the box with Supercore modules but not the initial releases of 2x0 cores.

Special Editions

The ERS-220 was also released as the Transformation Kit, or ERS-220E1 (referred to as ERS-220/TK frequently by the community.) The kit included the ERS-220's modular components (head, tail, legs) without a core as to offer a way for ERS-210 owners to update, if desired, to the newer AIBO.

The third generation of original AIBOs, the ERS-7 was the most advanced AIBO of its era.

Contents

  • 1History
  • 2Design
  • 3Function
    • 3.1Hardware
    • 3.2Software
    • 3.3Troubleshooting
    • 3.4Trivia

History

In 2003, the white ERS-7 and it's software named "MIND" was released on Japanese, US, and European shores. The goal was to create a cohesive environment for AIBO, featuring a single software that would be continuously updated with both autonomous and utility-focused functionality- a generally new concept at the time, contrasting with the previous business model of creating a separate software for every different application of AIBO's technology.

In the following two years, Sony would release the white and black MIND 2 revision (2002) and white, black, and champagne MIND 3 revision (2003). Under pressure from Sony's administration change coupled with the understanding that the AIBO project would be retired soon, all traces of lead were removed from the 2005 robots.

It sold for 1,599 USD at it's initial launch.

Design

The ERS-7 was the first AIBO to be explicitly referred to by Sony as a 'robot dog'. The design followed suit. Sony went back to studying the movement and behavior of dogs, and of note was the changes in the head assembly- the tilt axis was removed and replaced in favor of two 'up and down' servos- one in the neck, and one in the head, meant to imitate the distinctive "scooping" motion Sony engineers noticed in real dogs.

ERS-7 colors were released incrementally. For each MIND release, the previous colors were also featured. MIND 1 featured white, MIND 2 white and black, and MIND 3 white, black, and the limited edition "champagne".

Interestingly, different regional branches of Sony seemed to disagree, or at least report differently, as to whether or not the champagne/honey brown AIBO was limited edition, special edition, or simply an extension of the basic color options. The questions were answered when Sony announced AIBO's discontinuation later that year.

Function

The ERS-7 functions similarly to previous models. The software released with the 7 series aimed to polish and perfect previous features in older AIBOWARE.

Hardware

 
"Crystal" the transparent ERS-7.

The ERS-7 has features two, (rather than one) infrared sensors- one on the snout, and one in the chest, enabling AIBO to detect both drops and walls more effectively. Electric static sensors replaced the button-style sensors for touch detection on the head and back. 24 LEDs replaced the previous 6 in the head module- this technology was named "Illume-Face".

Processor 64-bit RISC processor
Memory 64MB
Inputs Charging terminal
Camera 350,000-pixel CMOS image sensor
Audio Input Stereo microphones
Audio output Speaker
Sensors Infrared distance sensor (x2)
Acceleration sensor
Pressure sensor (on the head, back, chin and paw
Vibration sensor
Wireless LAN Internal standard compatibility: IEEE 802.11b/IEEE 802.11
Frequency band: 2.4 GHz
Wireless channels: 1 - 11
Modulation: DS-SS (IEEE 802.11-compliant)
Encryption: WEP 64 (40 bits), WEP 128 (104 bits)
Degrees of freedom Mouth: 1 degree of freedom
Head: 3 degrees of freedom
Leg: 3 degrees of freedom per leg
Ear: 1 degree of freedom per ear
Tail: 2 degrees of freedom
(20 degrees of freedom in total)
Power consumption Approx 7 W (in normal mode)

Software

There were three software releases for the ERS-7 under the umbrella MIND- MIND, MIND 2, and MIND 3. Each software improved on the previous software incrementally. Notably, MIND aimed to maintain a "24/7" coexistence between AIBO and it's owner, made possible by vastly improved self-charging, RSS/eMail compatibility, and a set wake/sleep cycle.

Troubleshooting

See: Troubleshooting (7)

Trivia

A single, clear-shelled ERS-7 exists and was manufactured in response to community demand. The robot premiered at a European AIBO meet. A prominent user tried to buy the robot, but Sony would not relent. Reportedly, the robot has made appearances at various museums and displays- photographic evidence exists of these events, but the circumstances are lost to time. It is unknown where the robot currently resides.

The ERS-7M1 model is notorious for having faulty 'hip' joints. With the release of the ERS-7M2, this flaw was mostly eliminated. ERS-7M2 and ERS-7M3 models are still risk the legs "giving out" over years of heavy use- repair technology exists in the form of a 'pin', similar to the previously standardized DHS, PAS, and TAS fixes, but is very much new ground.

 

ERS-110

 
 
ERS-110
110trans.png
The first AIBO
Release date: May 11, 1999
Discontinued: August, 2004
Units produced: 5,000 worldwide

The ERS-110 is the first commercially produced AIBO and the first entertainment robotics offering from Sony.

 

Contents

  • 1History
  • 2Design
  • 3Function
    • 3.1Hardware
    • 3.2Software
    • 3.3Gallery
    • 3.4Troubleshooting

History

After the creation of the 1998 prototype by the Digital Creatures Lab, Sony decided to peruse a limited commercial release of a refined AIBO robot.
The Sony AIBO ERS-110 was released in May of 1999 and was offered exclusively online in the USA (2,000 units) and Japan (3,000 units.) The robot sold out within 20 minutes in Japan and over the course of 4 days in the United States.

Design

 
Sorayama's initial design

The ERS-110 was designed by artist Hajime Sorayama for Sony and won the Good Design Award Grand Prize in recognition of Sorayama's design and Sony's execution.

While the ERS-110 and ERS-111 are nearly identicial appearance-wise, there are some notable differences that can be used to tell them apart. The body of the ERS-110 has a gold tint, the ears are rounded on both bottom edges, and the tail is longer.

Function

Hardware

The ERS-110 draws power from a 7.2 Volt Lithium Ion battery (See also: Batteries). The ERS-110 uses IR technology to calculate distance & drops.

Processor 64-bit RISC processor
Memory 16MB
Inputs Charging terminal
Camera 100,000-pixel CMOS image sensor
Sensors 2 thermometric sensors
Infrared distance sensor
Acceleration sensor
Pressure sensor (on the head and paws)
Velocity sensor
Degrees of freedom Mouth: 1 degree of freedom
Head: 3 degrees of freedom
Leg: 3 degrees of freedom per leg
Tail: 2 degrees of freedom
(18 degrees of freedom in total)

Over at our sister site https://aibo-repairs.com they can repair all types of battery problems including pub damage.

This is what they have to say about Aibo Battery Repairs:-

 

Yes you saw that for real, we can and will repair most faults to the pcb contained within the battery of all Aibo models.

One of the biggest killers of Aibo batteries is lack of use, yes this may sound odd but when the cells drop below a certain value a protection circuit kicks in and then this prevents the cells form being charged (as it could overload the charging circuit and/or damage the battery).

This protection circuit is necessary because of the way lithium ion batteries are charged.  Their initial charge period is called constant current where the current is allowed to ramp up to the max available by the charging circuit.

After this initial flood charge period the battery will achieve it's potential max voltage (8.4volts for 7.4 volt packs) the charger then switches to constant voltage charging mode where the voltage is held at 8.4 volts (for 7.4 volt packs) and the current is slowly reduced by the battery demanding less and less from the charging circuit.

Eventually this current will drop to the float level which is the value required to keep the pack topped up but not over charge it and cause overheating.

 

Aibo batteries suffer have this charger design and like most lithium ion battery packs they are of the smart battery design, this has some of the protection circuitry within the battery itself and is part of the problem that Li-ioN smart batteries suffer from as a whole.

Once that pack voltage drops below a certain threshold it's days are numbered.

What this then means is that the voltage inside can only drop as the cells gradually leak voltage unless charged to a very specific storage charge, flaws in the design of the circuit meant that even new unused batteries become useless after prolonged periods of storage.

This then created that catch 22 situation where the battery needed charging but the battery refused to let the system charge it - effectively disabling itself forever (in most cases).

The internal cells then continue to reduce in voltage until they get to a stage that they will never recover, even if they are charged outside of their internal charging circuitry by opening the case.  This is the case for the vast majority of original Aibo 110/111/210/220/300 and 7 series batteries and re-celling is the only option.

We can replace the cells in all models of battery and when re-celled the batteries will be of a higher capacity than they were when manufactured as the batteries available today have higher energy densities than were available back then.  However this does not necessarily mean your AIbo will run twice as long with a 4ah cell structure as opposed to a 2ah one.

The reason for this is that inside there is a control circuit that knows exactly what the programmed capacity of the battery is and this configuration is protected by a password so just putting bigger capacity batteries in doesn't necessarily mean they will run for longer.

This is however something I have been working on for some time and at some point I hope to be able to replace the existing chip with one of my own programming and then the full benefits of higher capacities will be achieved.

It is worth mentioning that the batteries do run longer but not to their full potential (still longer than standard though).

When it comes to repairing the pcb's within I reserve the right to reject any repairs that are clearly beyond economic repair because a budding diy enthusiast has fried it big time.

 

The ERS-1100 is a rare version of the ERS-110 that was made exclusively for projects like RoboCup’s Four Legged League in 1999 and 2000.

In 2000, 12 different groups competed, for a total of at least 36 ERS-1100 robots existing.

It’s not known if many of these special pups are still around, but one is known to have spent some time at the AIBO Ranch in California!

If you look closely at the image you can see the rectangular panel in the middle of the ERS-1100′s back isn't fixe like it is in a 110 and is removable. There is also a covered plug on the back of 1100’s head. With these modifications, the RoboCup teams could connect Aibo to a computer to view data and get a better understanding of how Aibo interacts with and sees the world.

In a book published by one of the teams they go into detail about the challenges they faced due to the narrow field of vision and limited external sensor inputs and also the limited cpu compute performance to enable self driven free roaming commands.

Try to remember this was in the days that a self driving car was still in the realm of science fiction and there they were making consumer level robot companions play autonomous football. Quite an achievement really.

The blue battery next to this pup was made exclusively for the ERS-1100. Not much is known about it or what exactly makes it different from a normal first generation AIBO battery other than the labels and color being different, but these batteries are as hard to find secondhand as the robots that use them.

ERS-2100

 

The ERS-2100 is a developer revision of the ERS-210 used in RoboCup competition.

 


Contents

  • 1History
  • 2Function

History

The ERS-2100 predated the creation of the ERS-210, although the timeframe is unknown. The robots were confirmed to be used during the 2001 RoboCup 4 Legged League. Currently, to our knowledge there are no working ERS-2100 robots present in the community.

If anyone has one I would be willing to try to repair it even if it has broken parts as I can try to reproduce the broken items using our single item manufacturing processes.  We also have full logic repair technologies to try to repair any logic board problems.

Function

The ERS-2100 is almost entirely unique in it's construction- the modules that make up the model are incompatible with the ERS-210 components, predating their conception and production. The CPU handles 200 million MIPS in comparison to the ERS-210's 100 million. It housed 32MB of memory rather than 16.

The ERS-210 was released by Sony in 2000. It is the most widely produced AIBO and the first to use the second generation Aperios architecture.

Contents

  • 1History
  • 2Design
  • 3Function
    • 3.1Hardware
    • 3.2Models
      • 3.2.1Supercore
      • 3.2.2Special Editions

History

At launch, the ERS-210 sold for $1,500 USD (not including tax), ¥150,000 JY (not including tax), and €1,500 Euro (not including tax). The ERS-210 was later available at a discounted $1,299 USD.

Design

The ERS-210 was inspired and designed after a lion cub. It has sharp ears, a pointy tail, claws, and a visor that serves as the face, along with 6 LEDs to show emotion. The camera is located where the nose would be, like many other models. The microphones are located on the sides of the face, and resemble whiskers. The robot's features a footprint of 6.06" (W) x 10.47" (H) x 10.79" (L) and weighs 3.3 lbs. (1.5kg).

Function

Hardware

Processor 64-bit RISC processor
Memory 32MB
Inputs PC Card Type III
Charging terminal
Camera 100,000-pixel CMOS image sensor
Audio Input Stereo microphones
Audio output Speaker
Sensors Thermometric sensor
Infrared distance sensor
Acceleration sensor
Pressure sensor (on the head), with switches on the chin, back, and paws
Vibration sensor
Degrees of freedom Mouth: 1 degree of freedom
Head: 3 degrees of freedom
Leg: 3 degrees of freedom per leg
Ear: 1 degree of freedom per ear
Tail: 2 degrees of freedom
(20 degrees of freedom in total)
Power consumption Approx 9 W (in normal mode)

Models

The ERS-210 sold the most units and as a result also had the most derivative models. It's success also gave birth to a similar, but separately released AIBO, the ERS-220. The ERS-210 was sold in a variety of colors- some limited edition, and some exclusive to the Supercore (read below) update. The first batch of ERS-210 AIBO robots were available in black (ERS-210/B), gold (ERS-210/N), and silver (ERS-210/S). These three colors were the standard for the ERS-210 and sold throughout the ERS-210's lifespan.

Supercore

Primarily utilized in the RoboCup competition series but produced en masse, Supercore refers to an updated core from the original ERS-210 and ERS-220 modules. Supercore AIBOs have an improved CPU clock speed of 384MHz, double that of the 192MHz the standard ERS-210 and ERS-220 models use. Supercore AIBOs are differentiated from their standard counterparts by two holographic stickers inside the battery compartment of the core. Performance differences are not particularly noticeable between Supercore and standard ERS-210s, although the difference is typically substantial when utilizing AIBO for software development.

Special Editions

Out of all the models, the 210 had the most colors and special editions.

In 2000, the original silver, black, and gold ERS-210's launched.
Special editions in 2001 began with Spring Orange and White, followed by 2nd anniversary Sapphire Violet, Mazeran Green, and Everest White.
In 2002, the My Select AIBO Sony release, as well as the Holiday Red and White AIBOs, finished the ERS-210's production before the final version in 2003, the Cyber Blue in celebration of AIBO's 4th anniversary.

Our Sister site at https://aibo-repairs.com have this to say about Aibo's and how some are in need of repairs:-

 

Sony really broke the mould when it realised the first Aibo back in 1999.

This article about Aibo DHS is taken from our sister site at https://aibo-repairs.com

 

Aibo DHS or Droopy Head Syndrome (alternately known as Dropping Head Syndrome) is a behaviour that is characterised by the head of the Aibo uncontrollably dropping when passing past the midway point of downward travel in the neck joint.  This problem is caused by a design flaw in the servo mechanism that controls the head's neck joint.

The same servo's are used for the tilt axis and the pan axis similar problems are known to occur in this joints also.

The design flaw is where the manufacturer of the servo (let's say Sony for arguments sake) utilised a very compact method of preventing damage to the gearing system used inside the servo when shocks impact the head or the heads movement is restricted.  To enable such a tiny unit (Aibo is very compact after all) the unit uses a planetary gearing system with multiple drop down stages to amplify the torque that the motor puts out to enable it to move the head joints relatively quickly and smoothly.  The side effect of this is that if the head is jammed or stopped from moving (say perhaps from a child holding onto it) this would cause the motor to have a high chance of causing itself or it's gearbox some irreparable damage.  In practice this never seemed to be the problem as the method used was a plastic insert in-between a bell housing and an internal spinner shaft that was designed to create enough friction to spin both parts at the same time but allow slippage if needed.

Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way and the insert became worn far too quickly and caused slippage well before the initial warranty period of 1 year had elapsed in most cases.  What was even more unfortunate was that this same part seemed to become brittle with age so even new in box units that had been untouched for many years could come straight out of the box and exhibit symptoms of DHS,PAS or TAS straight away without any prior use.

As time went on the spares supply dwindled to the point where there were almost no spare head assemblies left available and other solutions needed to be found.

One such method utilised a small hole being drilled and a pin inserted through all three components literally fusing the assemblies together.

I wasn't happy with this method as I felt it caused undue stress on the shaft (which then had a hole in it) and a high likelihood of allowing irreparable damage and as such I developed my own method which to date has never failed and doesn't weaken the shaft at all.  It also incorporates a failure point should the head be knocked violently.  Without this failure point a pinned servo slipper clutch gearbox would literally destroy itself as all the gears inside it are plastic.

From time to time I have come across modified servos that have done exactly this as they have stripped the teeth off all 3 planetary gears that act on the outer casing of the gearbox.  This particular problem was very time consuming to fix as I had to try to source replacement gears (which I couldn't) and in the end manufacture my own replacements to bring these poor pups back to life.

Needless to say when it comes to the DHS,PAS,TAS three amigos I know all there is to know about repairing them.