Setting Up Ridgeback’s Network¶
By default, Ridgeback’s wireless is in client mode, looking for the wireless network at the Clearpath factory. In
order to set it up to connect to your own network, you’ll have to open up the user bay and connect a network cable to
STATIC port. The other end of this cable should be connected to your laptop, and you should give yourself an IP address in the
192.168.131.x space, such as
192.168.131.50. Then, make the connection to Ridgeback’s default
The default password is
clearpath. You should now be logged into Ridgeback as the administrator user.
Changing the Default Password¶
All Clearpath robots ship from the factory with their login password set to
clearpath. Upon receipt of your
robot we recommend changing the password.
To change the password to log into your robot, run the
command. This will prompt you to enter the current password, followed by the new password twice. While typing the
passwords in the
passwd prompt there will be no visual feedback (e.g. “*” characters).
To further restrict access to your robot you can reconfigure the robot’s SSH service to disallow logging in with a password and require SSH certificates to log in. This tutorial covers how to configure SSH to disable password-based login.
Connecting to Wifi Access Point¶
Ridgeback’s standard wireless network manager is wicd. To connect to an access point in your lab, run:
You should see a browsable list of networks which the robot has detected. Use arrow keys to select the one you
would like to connect to, and then press the right arrow to configure it. You can enter your network’s password
near the bottom of the page, and note that you must select the correct encryption scheme; most modern networks
WPA1/2 Passphrase, so if that’s you, make sure that option is selected. You also likely want to select
the option to automatically reconnect to this network, so that Ridgeback will be there for you on your wireless
automatically in the future.
When you’re finished, press F10 to save, and then C to connect.
Wicd will tell you in the footer what IP address it was given by your lab’s access point, so you can now log out, remove the network cable, and reconnect over wireless. When you’ve confirmed that all this is working as expected, close up Ridgeback’s chassis.
Remote ROS Connection¶
To use ROS desktop tools, you’ll need your computer to be able to connect to Ridgeback’s ROS master. This can be a tricky process, but we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible.
In order for the ROS tools on your computer to talk to Ridgeback, they need to know two things:
How to find the ROS master, which is set in the
ROS_MASTER_URIenvironment variable, and
How processes on the other computer can find your computer, which is the
The suggested pattern is to create a file in your home directory called
remote-ridgeback.sh with the following
export ROS_MASTER_URI=http://cpr-ridgeback-0001:11311 # Ridgeback's hostname export ROS_IP=10.25.0.102 # Your laptop's wireless IP address
If your network doesn’t already resolve Ridgeback’s hostname to its wireless IP address, you may need to add
a corresponding line to your computer’s
Then, when you’re ready to communicate remotely with Ridgeback, you can source that script like so, thus defining those two key environment variables in the present context.
Now, when you run commands like
rosnode list, and others, the output
you see should reflect the activity on Ridgeback’s ROS master, rather than on your own machine. Once you’ve
verified the basics (list, echo) from the prompt, try launching some of the standard visual ROS tools:
roslaunch ridgeback_viz view_robot.launch rosrun rqt_robot_monitor rqt_robot_monitor rosrun rqt_console rqt_console
If there are particular rqt widgets you find yourself using a lot, you may find it an advantage to dock them together and then export this configuration as the default RQT perspective. Then, to bring up your standard GUI, you can simply run:
Configuring Network Bridge¶
Ridgeback is configured to bridge its physical ethernet ports together. This allows any ethernet port to be used as a
connection to the internal
192.168.131.1/24 network – for connecting sensors, diagnostic equipment, or
manipulators – or for connecting the robot to the internet for the purposes of installing updates.
Depending on which version of Clearpath’s OS installer was used to install the OS on the robot, the bridge can be configured in one of two ways:
Netplan is the default network configuration tool for Ubuntu 18.04 onward. Instead of using the
file, as was done in Ubuntu 16.04 and earlier, netplan uses YAML-formatted files located in
default configuration file,
/etc/netplan/50-clearpath-bridge.yaml, is below:
# /etc/netplan/50-clearpath-bridge.yaml network: version: 2 renderer: networkd ethernets: # bridge all wired interfaces together on 192.168.131.x bridge_eth: dhcp4: no dhcp6: no match: name: eth* bridge_en: dhcp4: no dhcp6: no match: name: en* bridges: br0: dhcp4: yes dhcp6: no interfaces: [bridge_eth, bridge_en] addresses: - 192.168.131.1/24
To enable network configuration using netplan you must install the
sudo apt-get install netplan.io
Ifupdown & Interfaces
Upon release, Ridgeback was configured to use the same networking tools on Ubuntu 16.04 running ROS Kinetic. This was done
to ensure compatibility with Clearpath’s other platforms, and to ease the transition to 18.04 and ROS Melodic. As-of
December 2021, configuration using
/etc/network/interfaces on Ubuntu 18.04 should be considered deprecated; the
netplan described above is the preferred method of configuring the network.
For reference, the default
/etc/network/interfaces file for Ridgeback is below:
auto lo br0 br0:0 iface lo inet loopback # Bridge together physical ports on machine, assign standard Clearpath Robot IP. iface br0 inet static bridge_ports regex (eth.*)|(en.*) address 192.168.131.1 netmask 255.255.255.0 bridge_maxwait 0 # Also seek out DHCP IP on those ports, for the sake of easily getting online, # maintenance, ethernet radio support, etc. iface br0:0 inet dhcp
To enable network configuration using
/etc/network/interfaces you must install the
sudo apt-get install ifupdown