Sunday, October 24, 2010

Now remotely controlled via IP

After some hobby time spenditure, the result meets the expectations. While it is a functional and simple (and a good fallback solution), controlling the car via a regular RC radio is not the most interesting scenario. Having a device that is mostly digital, being controlled by an analog receiver isn't quite the nicest thing one would want to showcase. With that in mind, and taking into account that all the necessary hardware was already there and working, I have decided to take a little bit of time implementing the necessary components to be able to control the car from a remote peer in a wifi network. As such all I had was to:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Booster circuitry up and running

Running digital equipment has the drawback of requiring tight voltage ranges in order to operate. In the case of my robot, I had the need for powering the Fonera 2100 from a pack of 4 AA batteries. While the batteries can deliver 4.8 Volts once fully charged (which is barely sufficient to power this wireless appliance directly), once the voltage drops further, the Fonera ceasses to operate. In this situation the batteries still have remaining energy that is not possible to use.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Drastic Improvement: new Mobile Platform

After a lot of stress tests with the original platform, it was time for something better. The original platform was no more than a toy RC car (entirely made of plastic) with some hobby RC parts on top of if, such as refurbished steering system (with a real servo) and a home made ESC (Electronic Speed Controller) for the original toy car motor. During a demonstration with my 4 year old nephew, showing him how fast the roving robot would go in an open area, suddenly something happened: it started running full speed, totally out of control, both forward and backward (in my mind I immediately tought one of the ESC FET's had fried). I rushed to grab it, and suddenly smoke started coming out of the motor. Worried about the LiPo battery, with the motor still running and smoking, I centered all effort in disconnecting the battery. My nephew started to cry with the stange situation. After making sure no fire would occur, I had a confused infant to comfort.