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Archive for February, 2011
Posted by cyberhoops | Feb 19, 2011 @ 01:19 AM | 7,567 Views
As a bit of a distraction that takes me back to my roots as an electrical engineer... I have been working on a robot. I find the whole concept of the Arduino controller and the possibilities for various robot types pretty interesting.

This is my first attempt at an autonomous robot platform. I designed the concept on a CAD system and the result came out pretty close to the design. One major change was to switch from having the caster wheel in front to pulling the caster wheel when going forward.

The hardware is an Arduino UNO SMD board, a standard Futaba servo, the SRF05 ultrasonic sensor, two micro metal gear motors with 30:1 gear reduction, and a 800mah LiPo battery for power. The base is just a 1/8" plywood sheet.

One of the nice things I think is the use of two 14 pin chip sockets as a mini breadboard for connecting up power, ground and signal lines. One of the sockets has been wired so that the 7 pins on each side are connected. These serve as power and ground bus lines. The other socket is wired into pairs and serve as a terminal strip to connect jumpers between the control wires and the Arduino.

To this point I don't have the motor driver yet, so the program just swings the servo and sensor through 180 degrees and pings for distance every degree. It takes just under 2 seconds to complete a sweep. This will let me work on the software for movement ... but just not actually move.

Eventually the goal is to do object avoidance and object tracking tests with this robot.

RobotTest.wmv (1 min 48 sec)

Posted by cyberhoops | Feb 10, 2011 @ 02:18 PM | 7,447 Views
Well, it was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest - sunshine, 60 degrees or so with calm water.

A perfect day for a little boat photography and a couple test runs.

I tested the Circus Circus with a 3 blade prop and I think it is ready for racing, or at least race testing around a course. It gets up on plane, the motor sounds about right, no excess water spray, and the rooster tail looks about right.

We tested the Beacon Plumbing over the weekend, and it needs tuning. The boat was VERY light in the nose and while the water was a tad choppy it was just too light. It will need some strut adjustments along with some battery repositioning.

The American Dream just had a very short test, but it hopped right up on plane and was smooth and fast. It is ready for a race course test as well.

The first race test day is 4 weeks away ... I am excited.