gear21 is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Steve Cook
Member since: 2002-03-20 02:22:34
Last Login: 2002-09-18 07:28:11

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I'm a software engineer, QA Manager, and web developer by trade I'm responsible for all the code behind, and I've been working on high-speed (800Mbit->64000Mbit) network switches and NICs for the past 5 years. I took a few EE classes in college, but not enough to get a minor in it...(Digital was cake, analog classes were a bit tougher ;). I'm getting better, and I'm glad I learned early on about the importance of fuses. I've worked on a few small "bots" based on R/C cars, but never really finished them. Decided to work on one completely from scratch, and am having a lot more fun... I can't count the number of times I change designs, but each time, I learn something from it (and it make the robot better too!)

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I just got back from a week and a half of driving through the west. Saw and did many things :). Haven't worked on the robot in a couple of weeks, but plan to this weekend. I did get a chance to install a backlight 'hack' on my gameboy advance though, and it works very well... it's pretty cool.

Well, I have the speed control problem narrowed down to a grounding issue with the logic control... (which is what i thought originally). It's been tough to narrow down exactly what the problem is because there are so many variables - changing just about any of the lines causes different behaviour. So it's some combination that doesn't play well together...

Finally installed the hardware and software for the IR ranger and the servo for sweeping it back and forth. It's working great! Adding the servo and code was amazingly simple and didn't take very long at all. I'll have pics of it up on my site soon.

The only major bug left is a speed control issue... one of the motors goes considerably slower than the other, and I still haven't figured out why... I've swapped controllers, motors, connectors, and more... but it still hasn't made a difference. Once I debug that, it should be ready for some real-world testing, and some development/expansion of it's primary control software.

The "primary control software" is on a laptop right now. It talks via the serial interface, sending commands like "F1", "R1", or "I3", and the OOPic resonds with "ACK FWD SPD1", "ACK REV SPD1", and "ACK IR3 00023" (IR is InfraRed ranger). I will be adding ALR (alert/alarm) messages the OOPic will send to the control software as well. It's getting pretty interesting now :) I could do all that on the OOPic, but I want to keep it as sort of a "reflex" mechanism, and keep most logic and decision making on the laptop/palm/WinCE device.

6 May 2002 (updated 6 May 2002 at 17:01 UTC) »

Spent the weekend tracking down electrical gremlins... everything from a bad cap to a drained battery :)

The PCB from express PCB came in on the 2nd, and I am very happy with the results. They look SOOO much better than all the wires all over. Also received two more servos from acroname, so I can mount the range sensors on them.

I finished adding the OOPic programmer's manual to the site, and it can now accept user comments and additions. I've still got to fix some of the internal links, but I have to wait until the Object documentation is installed.

My printed circuit boards should arrive from ExpressPCB today! My bot hasn't run since I ripped it all apart to redesign a few things, and this is one of the last "major" changes. It will eliminate a huge part of the "rat's nest", as well as make it more modular.

Also, while I was at W@lM@art yesterday, they had a cheap (<$12) "remote control" truck. It's controlled by 4 wires connected to a simple left-right & up-down mechanism (like a really cheap radio transmitter. I ripped it apart, and it looks like it will work great for experimenting with. The control is a very simple mechanical h-bridge, but I'm just going to drop it for one of the H-bridge chips (the motors are pretty small). If you're looking for a cheap base, this one should work for basic projects...

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