21 Nov 2001 Hollister   » (Observer)

I recently picked up a Rug Warrior Pro kit and started putting it together. Had some trouble with the reset circuit on the CPU board to start - I think either the low- voltage protection was kicking in, or the 68HC11 itself was holding reset low because it wasn't getting the clock properly. Was pretty bad to begin with, but it seems to have cleared itself up. I kinda dislike problems like that, as I'm never sure if they'll resurface again. Looks like it's behaving now, tho, and I'm pretty sure I know how to troubleshoot it if it comes up again. (Although it would be a lot easier with the digital scope I used to have a few jobs ago.)

RWP in general seems like a nice kit. The CPU board comes pre-assembled for minimum functionality (Serial port, LCD display, etc). Features are very similar to my old 6.270 board (they should be, the 6.270 is this board's ancestor). Motors, wheels, encoders, etc all look good - the motors come with gear boxes, so that makes things simpler. I also like the expandablilty - you can stack up to 4 little expansion boards on top of the CPU, with (I think) 7 or 8 inputs and outputs each. The built-in testing software for checking out each sensor installation is nice too. If you're fairly comfortable with electronic kit building, this is a nice little robot thus far.

The IR collision detector is pretty sensitive. When I put the housing on, I'll probably shroud each emitter with heat-shring tubing to prevent stray light from hitting the detector. It also looks like one of the IR LEDs might be a tad brighter than the other one, or the IR detector (if it's direction sensitive) might be a little more sensitive in one direction. I'll probably need to tune that in software - no biggie.

I smushed one of the 10-pin connectors putting the ribbon cable together - off to Radio Shack for a replacement...

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