Older blog entries for sashi_ono (starting at number 10)

27 Aug 2002 (updated 16 Mar 2004 at 20:08 UTC) »

My newest goal is to include a wireless networking into my tinybot project. The idea is to allow several tinybots to communicate with each other using Ad Hoc Routing to form a network of bots. I am reading on the uLunar ad hoc routing system

btw: The final choice for microcontrollers is the pic18f252. I will begin coding as soon as i get my order from digikey.

19 Aug 2002 (updated 7 Jan 2003 at 05:37 UTC) »

Well, I haven't posted for a while. So time for an update. I have put together the Mark III kit no problem. I have to give it to them for putting together a very easy to assemble kit. Took me only a few hours to get it driving around. i would recommend it to any first time robot builders. And for the price it isn't that bad, although they raised prices to 92.

I saw that the 18f series have been released and are being sold now. I may need to pick one of these up soon and see if i like them. I need to really start with Tinybot, now that I got all the parts together. I guess I should start coding and assembling it together. Anyways back to work.

7 Jun 2002 (updated 7 Jan 2003 at 05:34 UTC) »

I'm happy to state that I have won 4 1st place awards for my micromouse that I built for independent project class at UCSB. This last competition really blew my mind because I got the best time ever for my mouse. I ran a speed run in 14 seconds flat. that's without bonuses and such, just raw time. When I was putting together the micromouse I never really designed it to run that fast, but a few months ago I did some slight tweaking of the code to do straight aways and did some tweaking on the PID control loops to handle higher speed and I guess the result was evident. I think this was the last competition for this mouse and it time for it to retire. Only to come out for demo's and show and tells. Time for the next generation of mice to take rise and show their glory as this one has had its time. I really want others to build good mice as well. This year I was slightly disappointed in what I saw, I never saw any mice this year make it to the center. I think people are not getting enough guidance. So this is an invitation to anyone who is building a micromouse to get a hold of me or many of the other builders for some help. There is an IEEE micromouse help session coming up that hopefully be able to attend and contribute anything I can.

7 Jun 2002 (updated 7 Jan 2003 at 05:35 UTC) »

I just got a hold of a Mark III robot kit. I plan on putting it together soon. The reason i got it was to get started programming on a pic 16f877. I need to pick up some pic assembly and I figured the best way is to put together a bot that uses the microcontroller that I want to learn. I'm thinking of using the 16f876 to use in my tinybot project. It should be small enough and use low enough power. The reason I haven't done it yet is because there is really no good (free) ide besides the microchip assembler. And I really hate writing code in assembly, I'd much rather use C. I mean I can always get a hold of a C compiler but then debugging and simulating won't be too fun because I haven't seen any good C debuggers that are free. So I'm back to learning pic assembly as convoluted as it is. I just really hate dealing with old backwards compatible technology, you know with all this paging crap. I'd wish they would start selling the 18f series soon. I just saw that they released it on their website but I haven't found a place to buy them. Well Anyways, hopefully the mark III kit goes together smoothly and I'll be on my way to pic assembly world.

I don't really like the pic all that much I'm thinking now of switching to an AVR. But i'm still not quite happy with that either. CAll me picky. I guess I am waiting for a good microcontroller to come out. I am placing on my wishlist a ARM7 microcontroller with flash, memory and all in a tiny package maybe 16 pins. i'd like a built in usb controller and serial I/O lines. blue tooth wouldn't be bad either. ALso a nice simple standard programming interface. JTAG? Anyone want to make one for me, or do i have to do it myself. Oh ya, and i want to pay less than 20$ a chip. Thanks to the first person to get it to me.

7 Sep 2001 (updated 7 Jan 2003 at 05:40 UTC) »

I think I've settled on a microcontroller for TinyBot. 16f876. It seems to provide everything I need in on package. it is also low power, has a/d , cheap :) and lots of previous code written for them. I will burn a bootloader onto it and use the serial port to do the code downloading and debugging. I just got a hold of an rs232 driver to do the downloading of the code. I also have access to a PIC programmer to download the bootloader. I downloaded the demo Hi_tech C compiler and got it compiling with MPLAB. seems like a good choice. hopefully I can keep my code small enough other wise the demo won't work. I could always break down and do it in asm but I'd rather not. Now the only thing left is to order them. looks like $8 from digikey. anyone know a good place to get them from aka cheap. let me know

I got hold of a Domino2 microcontroller. ANYONE knows anything about these things let me know. I got the spec sheets off the web and have been trying to connect to it via the serial port but no luck. If you havent seen one of these guys before, they are quite cool. they have a 80C52, 32k of sram, 32k eeprom 16I/O. built in regulator. And the best thing is that it is in a 1.5 cubic inch box. 1.5"x2"x.5". If anyone is interested they are made by micromint. The only thing is that they are costly like 150.

6 Jun 2001 (updated 4 Jan 2002 at 01:43 UTC) »

Words of wisdom from Sashi Ono.
How to build a robot

Step 1: Design
Outline your goals and write them down. Do not start anything until you have figured out what you want to accomplish. Then come up with your working design for your project. If you haven't done something similar before don't go too wild, keep it simple yet effective.

Step 2: Planning
Come up with a timeline of your project. Think carefully, as missing deadlines (contests) can mess up all your goals. Work in Parallel, that is do not waste time. If you are waiting for parts to come you should be doing something else. A simple breakup consists of Chassis, Hardware, and Software. I would recommend breaking up your progress into weekly steps to ensure constant progress. Make sure you get something big done once a week otherwise you will be crunched for time later on which is not good for your health.

Step 3: Ordering and Gathering Parts
This needs to be done as early as possible. Do not wait. Without parts your chassis and hardware will not progress. Do not waste your time here, pick something that works and go with it.

Step 4: Building
Hopefully you have gotten all your parts so you can start building and putting together your design. If you have planed well this step should be relatively simple just follow through with your design. My suggestion is to start with the Chassis as this determines the flow for the rest of the project.

Step 5: Debugging
This is where your engineering skills come out. You will run into problems. Expect it and plan for it. You may realize that your design doesn't work and may need to start over. The second time you do anything is faster. You will often need to come up with unique fixes and solutions.

Step 6: Optimizing
Once you get something working kind of the way you want you will probability want to optimize it. Feel free to do so but do not move far away from your initial goals and plans. An important skill is to keep you design constantly working. Do not give into the urge to dismantle your project for improving it. You are better off starting off new project and keeping your current design working as a fall back plan. Also know when to stop. Constant tweaking often creates problems and makes things messy and harder to debug when problems do happen.

Step 7: Show Off
After you have a working project feel free to show off. You have accomplished something big here and put a lot of time into it you have the right to. Encourage others to undertake what you have done if you feel that it was a worthwhile project. Do not bash others with similar projects as they have probability worked just as hard as you and you wouldn't want others to bash on you. Release documentation of your project to help others learn and gain from your project.

Ok figured out the best way to get the counter weights off. I crushed them with a vise. I put them in sideways and cranked it till the counter weights crumbled. I put together a motor solar panel assembley just to see how the solor panels handle a motor. Looks like i may be only able to power one motor at a time. I could put on some more panels. I'm also thinking of maybe putting on one AAA battery and using the solar cells to charge, that way i don't have to put more cells on. Still looking for a good cpu. Maybe a pic or something with builtin flash and ram and is somewhat fast.

I got my order from all electronics in. I was tring to remove the couterweights off the vibrator motors. I ended up destroying one of the motors, lucky i got spares. I read on the web that using a vise grip works. Anyone have any good sugestions to get rid of the counter weights.

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