16 Jan 2003 ROB.T.   » (Master)

Life lessons -

Your microcontroller tools will change without warning. (Let me back up) Atmel has two different types of ICE200 emulators - the ICE200 and the tiny ICE, both of which have an ICE200 instruction manual. Who knew? I spent a good couple of hours trying to figure out why the ICE200 was producing random signals on the ports (actually, I might have played a little quake somewhere in there). I switched back to my old emulator (the tiny ICE) on a whim, and all was well. Another problem is the new AVR studio doesn't see my ICE200.

Frankly testing new boards is not the time to find out your tools don't play well together. I'm this close >| |< to finding a friendlier microcontroller...

OK, I'm done venting. Here is an update on my boards -

I'm avoiding programming the controller board as long as possible (really I'm avoiding the learning curve) by operating off the emulator board and the expansion board. Since the whole objective of plugging this brand new stuff together is to test it, you can imagine the problems I'm running into. Problems like placing pass-through connectors incorrectly aligned (damn!), ordering the wrong parts, receiving the wrong parts, not receiving parts until next month, leaving stuff out, etc. My boards are so bad I might be forced to order and populate a new set of ``trial'' boards. This is a huge hit in time and money, but the trade off is I get my boards closer to solid operation before I lay down real money for the Predecessor-platform boards.

One thing I have to keep in mind - once the problems with these boards are smoothed out and I know they work, then the circuitry component of my robotics infrastructure is secured (for the time being) and I can move on to other things.

Other things like welding aluminum parts - which I haven't been doing. I'm waiting on a part for my Sherline Lathe - a 4-jaw self-centering chuck. I think this will make the whole mechanical motor interface thing go a lot smoother because I can center one of the holes so much easier.

On the brighter side - I figured out (for the most part) how I want my legs to extend from the body. It's hella- cool, I'm going to use gear racks (more on this later).

What else? Oh yeah, my last class is tomorrow. I somehow managed to pass all the courses for my CS degree, but I don't have enough credits to graduate from this particular University, so I get to take this last class. Yeah, my life is like that.

Whatever, as long as I get this robot to work.

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