Recent blog entries for phil

2 Jun 2001 (updated 12 Oct 2001 at 22:06 UTC) »

I'm probably getting ahead of myself seeing as I don't have a robot yet, but I started looking for local robotics competitions. To my amazement, I couldn't find any except the SFRSA competition. If I were living anywhere else in the country, I wouldn't be that surprised, but this is Silicon Valley! It's like going to New Orleans and finding out that they don't have any okra to put in your gumbo (if you don't understand that, don't worry, it isn't a very good joke).

Anyway...I'm still in awe of the fact that Silcon Valley doesn't have any robotics competitions. Well, if you know of any competitions I've over looked, please e-mail me at

28 May 2001 (updated 28 May 2001 at 05:06 UTC) »

Well, I guess seeing as this is my first entry, I'll start off with the current status of my latest project.

Obviously, I'm working on a robot (yet to be named). I'm using a BS2SX as the controller. Being an experimental project, I'm giving it all the sensors I can think of: IR proximity,light, touch, sonar (if i can ever get the thing working), and sound (if I can ever understand op amps so that I can make an amplifier). I've also designed myself a carrier board for the BS. I decided that there weren't enough I/O ports for my purposes, so I multiplexed (and demultiplexed) them. I now have (when I make the board - I've only prototyped it) a BS2SX with 8 I/O, 8 inputs, and 8 outputs.

Being my over confident (yet so pessimistic) self, I may have made the project too big for just starting out in robotics. But then again, it's just a group of electronic circuits (or one big one, depending on how you look at it) on wheels. I have plenty of experience with electronics, that's helped me out alot though the course of this project.'s a list of what I've done so far:
-spend a few hours (over a course of a few days) doing research
-design circuits (except the sonar, which I found on the internet, I designed everything from the switch debouncer [no longer has a practical use after choosing not to make wheel encoders] to the IR sensor, to the BS carrier board)
-buy parts
-prototype circuits (sonar still doesn't work)
-design PCBs

Here's what I've learned:
-don't assume, double check pinouts
-moms don't like the table in the dinning room used as a workshop
-how to design PCBs (much, much better than point to point soldering) -other little things that I came across while doing research

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