This summer I acquired a small, antique bull-dozer. I didn’t have any use in mind for it, but the prices was too good to pass up. The first day I drove it was quite an education. For one, there are two directional handles rather then a steering wheel, and curiously, this machine had two shifters. [ Continue Reading at http://itfarmersblog.com/?p=2818 ]
When I moved into my new home, I had a half completed project waiting for me in the background. This structure was originally intended to be a horse barn, but I’m not the type who enjoys feeding animals everyday nor do I enjoy making or stacking hay in the hot summer. So, I’ve decided to finish the building for use as [ Continue Reading at: http://itfarmersblog.com/?p=2807 ]
After years of telling myself to cut back, I’ve finally managed to plant a much smaller, much more “normal” sized garden. It’s amazingly simple to maintain, and I only have to move the sprinkler once per watering to cover all of my plants. I’d guess the … [ Continue Reading at: http://itfarmersblog.com/?p=2798 ]
I’ve been starting tomatoes in my greenhouse for several years now, but I’ve just now learned something new: If you start tomatoes too early, it seems to stunt their growth. The tomatoes above were the last that I planted, and yet they … [ Continue Reading at http://itfarmersblog.com/?p=2787 ]
This year I managed to get all of my tomato and pepper seeds started at roughly the same time. I started all of these trays in my home during the germination stage, and they were placed around every available window. A few trays didn’t receive nearly enough light, and when they were [ Continue Reading at http://www.itfarmersblog.com/?p=2779 ]
The winter blues finally got the best of me, and so I gave in, and started planting seeds early. I told myself I was doing a tomato trial of sorts, rounding up seeds from years past and plugging them into the soil. I carefully marked each seed type, from my experimental Cherokee Wine and [ Continue Reading at http://itfarmersblog.com/?p=2763 ]
I’ve been working on Ike, my toy robot project for awhile now, and I’ve made some serious progress. What once started as a concept is starting to really show itself as a reality. The Arduino board I once imagined controlling this bot is now securely fastened to his back. All of the pins that supply output and input to drive this contraption have been mapped, and the real work of putting him back together is beginning.
The Arduino board itself is quite impressive, but it’s not a robot control solution in it’s self. The board still requires the help of some additional circuits, and additional power. The motors that drive Ike’s movements use 9 Volts, and both wires need current at different times. To solve this dilemma, I’ve added H-Bridges, that convert the Arduino’s output into 9 Volts on the required wire. This allows the motors to more forward or back as needed.
Below the H-Bridge cluster is a series of connectors and resistors which will enable some of Ike’s sensors, and under that, the row of resistors is an area dedicated to powering Ike’s new multi-colored eyes. He originally had only blue eyes, but now his eyes can range wildly from blue to red to white. The LEDs are also capable of green, but Ike’s visor filters most of this light out, and it appears a dull gray instead.
In addition to Ike’s new eyes, and control boards, I’m re-wiring every component. In place of the thin wires that didn’t last, I’m putting some seriously thick wire where needed. I found this ridiculously thick speaker wire which was meant to power those thumping stereos in the younger generation’s cars. It should definitely do the trick, and last for quite a while as well.
Here’s an exploded view of sorts, which shows how the two boards will be stacked. The Arduino board will be about an inch below the new motor control board. The second board will be integrated into Ike’s exoskeleton. I’ve had to cut a big chunk out of his backs plastic to mount this board.
I’ve been considering adding a third Raspberry PI board on top of the Motor control board…… but, I better finish this stage first. If I do add this third board, Ike won’t require a USB connection, and I should be able to add in Voice Recognition.
All in all, I’ve made a lot of progress. This robot is more then just a toy, it’s a method to force myself to learn something I’ve always wanted to know: How to wire electronics. I’ve long ago mastered the methodology of computers, but electronics has always eluded me. It was always something I was planning to do in the future.
The future is now, and I’ve learned far more then I thought I would from this project. When I finished soldering Ike’s motor control board, I realized I could use the same methods modified just a bit to build robots that build walls…. Just as a car factory uses robots to build cars.