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I'm having trouble getting my simulated robot arm to respond to effort commands. I've pretty much done everything according to the ros_control / gazebo tutorials, but whenever I manually publish to <controller_name>/command, nothing happens.

Here's (hopefully) all of the info that is relevant. I've had this working with position control in the past, and I've changed it only slightly to try and get it to work with effort control. (Note, I've replaced the actual robot name with MYROBOT).

I'm using ROS indigo, and I built gazebo_ros_pkgs, ros_control, and ros_controllers from source (checking out the indigo-devel branch each time). I'm using gazebo2, installed from apt-get.

Selected elements from the xacro:

<robot name="MYROBOT" xmlns="...">
<link name="world" />
<joint name="fixed" type="fixed">
  <parent link="world"/>
  <child link="base_link"/>
<transmission name="elbow_trans">
  <joint name="elbow_joint">
  <actuator name="elbow_motor">
  <plugin name="gazebo_ros_control" filename="libgazebo_ros_control.so"> 


    type: joint_state_controller/JointStateController
    publish_rate: 50  

    type: effort_controllers/JointEffortController
    joint: elbow_joint
    pid: {p: 1.0, i: 0.01, d: 0.0}


<include file="$(find gazebo_ros)/launch/empty_world.launch">
    ... (A bunch of <arg>s)

<param name="robot_description"
  command="$(find xacro)/xacro.py '$(find MYROBOT_arm_description)/urdf/arm_geo.xacro'" />

<node name="urdf_spawner" pkg="gazebo_ros" type="spawn_model"
  respawn="false" output="screen" args="-urdf -model MYROBOT -param robot_description"/>

<rosparam file="$(find MYROBOT_ctrl)/config/MYROBOT_control.yaml" command="load"/>

<node name="controller_spawner" pkg="controller_manager" type="spawner" 
  respawn="false" output="screen" ns="/MROBOT" 
  args="joint_state_controller elbow_effort_controller" />

<node name="robot_state_publisher" pkg="robot_state_publisher" type="robot_state_publisher"
  respawn="false" output="screen">
  <remap from="/joint_states" to="/MYROBOT/joint_states" />

Now, if I run this launch file, I don't see any obvious errors in the console; everything looks pretty healthy (No red text, just messages like "Loaded gazebo_ros_control", "Started controllers: joint_state_controller, elbow_effort_controller, ...", etc.). I see Gazebo with the spawned arm, but it sort of just sags and eventually lays flat out on the ground. I tried to publish a command to the elbow controller (for example) using rostopic pub /MYROBOT/elbow_effort_controller/command std_msgs/Float64 2.0, but with no luck -- the model doesn't move. And if I echo /MYROBOT/joint_states, the effort array is all zeros.

Is there something here that I'm doing incorrectly? Am I not using a controller correctly? Any help would be much appreciated!

EDIT 1: what the elbow joint looks like in the xacro

  xyz="-0.314325000000001 0 0"
  rpy="-3.14159265358979 2.77555756156289E-16 1.67208086071471" />
  link="upper_arm" />
  link="lower_arm" />
  xyz="0 0 1" />
  velocity="0" />
<dynamics damping="0.7" />

Originally posted by duffany1 on ROS Answers with karma: 173 on 2015-02-08

Post score: 1


1 Answer 1


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On MYROBOT_control.yaml, your PID gains look really small. Maybe your robot is really lightweight and they're fine for it. If we're talking about an arm here, they're likely just too small to overcome the robot dynamics.

Originally posted by Adolfo Rodriguez T with karma: 3907 on 2015-02-09

This answer was ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 1

Original comments

Comment by duffany1 on 2015-02-09:
Hey Adolfo, thanks for your reply. It doesn't seem that the PID values are problematic; I tried increasing them exponentially, and also publishing huge commands, but to no avail. I updated my question with the xml for the elbow joint; does anything about it look fishy?

Comment by Adolfo Rodriguez T on 2015-02-09:
Consider specifying non-zero effort and velocity limits for your joint. Gazebo does enforce them.

Comment by duffany1 on 2015-02-09:
Ugh, that was indeed the issue! I figured 0 meant "unlimited," otherwise how could position control have been working? But I suppose those limits are on the command, rather than the actual values? Regardless, thanks for your help!

Comment by Adolfo Rodriguez T on 2015-02-09:
Depending on how you were sending position commands, Gazebo has a 'kinematic position control' mode which bypasses the simulation of the joint dynamics altogether. This could explain why you could set positions before.

Comment by zakizadeh on 2017-11-18:
i have same problem but not work for me


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