Camera and Sensor Installation

There are two versions of Magni. The Silver version comes with a sonar short range obstacle avoidance system, and the Gold version (not yet available) adds an IR long range obstacle avoidance package. Both versions come with a Raspberry Pi Camera. The camera is needed for fiducial follow, partybot and waypoint navigation, and other apps you may write.

Sonar Board Cable And Camera Assembled

The picture below shows the Raspberry Pi camera in the forward orientation and the cable to the Sonar board included with Magni Silver. This is a very popular configuration for Magni.

Magni Sonar To Mcb With Camera

Camera Installation

Camera Installation The Raspberry Pi camera can be mounted and configured to work in different orientations. From the start of the Magni robot there have been 2 popular orientations. The forward camera mounting points forward but also tilts up about 20 degrees. This enables Magni to view things in front such as fiducials in the Fiducial Follow application. When the robot is to be navigating in a space with fiducial patterns on the ceiling the upward mounting is used.

Magni Camera Forward And Upward Mounting


Notice that in both orientations that the cable was routed through the slots in the metal bracket. The camera is screwed to fixed standoffs using M2 screws 3 or 4mm in length. The white side of the flat cable is towards the top of the board and below there is a blue piece of tape on the cable. The cable must be inserted as shown in order to properly connect the camera.

The Magni software must be configured to set usage of any camera mounting other than the forward configuration. If you for example use the upward facing camera you must before edit the /etc/ubiquity/robot.yaml file as root user to have a line for the raspicam orientation. The line would be as shown below and a reboot of the robot is required.


Take care when removing the pi to gently rock it back and forth after unscrewing it's screw that goes into a standoff on the main board. BE CAREFUL TO AVOID application of ANY PRESSURE to the very thin Micro SD card inserted in the right side of the Pi because it sticks out. It is very easy to break the SD card in this process if your fingers push on the SD card.

Next attach the cable to the Pi; the ‘blue’ part of the cable faces toward the USB ports.

Raspberry Pi with Camera Cable

Next reinstall the Pi, making sure the pins are aligned correctly as in the picture below. (Misaligned pins will cause permanent failure!)

Magni Raspberry Pi Mounting

Sonar Board Attachment To The Robot

Below is a picture of the Sonar board included with Magni Silver configuration. This section will show how the Sonar Board is mounted on tall standoffs and a 50-pin ribbon cable is then attached. The sonar board is included in the large box for a Magni Silver but is not attached to the robot prior to shipment. Be careful to avoid the need to often re-bend the sonars if they bump something because the pins can only be bent and re-bent a limited number of times.

Magni Sonar Board

The Sonar board is mounted to the chassis using 4 standoffs that screw into 4 fixed 3mm standoffs on the chassis. This description will show the 2 standoffs on the right but two other standoffs on the left also at the 45 degree angle are used as well. The standoffs and the M3 screws are shown below for reference.

Magni Standoff Reference

The standoffs screw into the fixed nuts on the chassis. Here we show the 2 on the right.

Magni Sonar Board Standoffs

Below is shown the right side of the sonar board fully mounted using the M3 standoffs and M3 screws from the top.

Magni Sonar Board Mounted On Standoffs

The ribbon cable is then inserted into the main Magni board as shown in the picture below where it will be plugged into the Sonar board as the final step.

Magni Sonar Board Cable From Main Pc Ready

Lastly attach the cover plate with 6 M6 screws using an M4 Allen wrench. You are done, hooray!

Testing the camera.

If you find that fiducial follow or waypoint navigation aren’t working, you need a quick way to test the camera. If you can open an ssh session to the robot, try the following command:

raspistill -o test.jpg

If you don’t get an error message, you have a good camera. An (mmal) error message indicates the camera is not being detected by the Raspberry Pi, this is usually due to a poor cable connection or less likely a bad camera.