Senior Project: Day ??

I’ve given up hope of tying to keep track of how many days I have been working at my senior project. Honestly, there really is no good reasons, except to differentiate one day from the next.

In any event, work still continues on the robot. On Monday and Tuesday I worked on converting an old serial port ISA card into a new serial port ISA card. One might ask what I did to make such an astonishing converstion…other than add the word “new.” All computers need 12 volts to run the serial ports. Older computers accomplished this by actually having a 12 volt feed from the PSU (power supply unit) to the MB (motherboard). New computers don’t have the 12 volt feed on the motherboard. Instead, 10 volts is generated by a MAX232 chip. This prevents the board from having both 12 volts and 5 volts on the board at the same time, a potentially fatal issue. So anyways, instead of dragging 12 volts onto the board, I just removed half the chips (1489’s and 1488’s), resistors, and capacitors on the old serial port ISA card and replace them all with a handful of caps on a MAX232 chip dead-bugged on top of the 8250.

Today we finally got the GPS system working. It required a bit of working because the GPS system wants to accept 9 volts to 36 volts, but we only want to give it 5 volts. Since the electronics inside run at 3.3 volts, we knew there had to be a way to directly input power else where on the board. After some figeting, we finally got it to spew some data. And thus, the GPS worked. I’m currently working on integrating the GPS system into Robocart (that’s the new name I’ve given what used to be called R2 or robot two).

Senior Project: Day 11

I’ve been working on some finishing touches to the mechanical design of R2. That includes creating a battery rack to house to the two batteries. One battery provides power to the onboard computer (6 volts). They other battery provides power to the linear actuators that control the steering, accelerating, and braking systems (12 volts). It’s not exactly electrical engineering, it’s more mechanical engineering, but that’s why I like EE: it combines Computer Sciences and Mechanical Engineering, plus some other stuff into a nice little bundle of joy. Woo-hoo!

Senior Project: Day 9 & 10 / Lights, Curtain, Action!

I went into the UW on Saturday after rehersals to work on R2 for a few hours. When I got there, Andy and David were outside playing it. Unfortunatly, just before I had arrived, one of the power relays fried and had to be replaced. I replaced the relay and then called it a day.

Today I’ve been working on finishing up the final safety relays. The next task will be to supply 12volts to the GPS unit. And then hopefully I can start writting code tomorrow.

We start our short four day run of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying today. The show runs the next four days @ 7pm. Tickets for today and tomorrow are not quite sold out yet, so there is still time to come!!

Senior Project: Day 7 & 8

On Thursday I completly finished with the guidence computer. It required rebuilding part of the power unit, but it worked…and it worked on the first attempt…something rare in my usual line of business. Anyways, we plugged the battery in a everything worked just fine. It was rather errie because the computer didn’t make any noise until the floppy check. I also started working on the safety restraints.

Today I worked on finishing up the safety restraints. I also designed two custom fabricate brackets for some tether restraints. Before I left, I was able to wire all of the safety restraints. Tomorrow we plan on running R2 around the lot outside Sieg.

Cinco de Mayo already? / Senior Project: Day 6

*Sigh*, it’s the 5th of May and the year is getting close to be half over…but it feels like it just started. I had a dentist appointment today. Teeth look nice and clean, no cavities; but the wisdom teeth gotta go! So I’m going to schedule an appointment and get that taken care of. How to continues and we started Tech Rehearsals today. ONLY ONE WEEK ‘TILL OPENING NIGHT!! I would highly suggest you get tickets now as seats fill up fast in our small theater. I hope to have pictures from rehearsals up soon!

The Senior Project continues. R2 is getting closer to running status. I finished with the CPU box and began installing some safety cutoff buttons. I also have to create and install some safety restraints/cutoff ropes. I hope to have pictures of my project up soon as well.

Senior Project: Day 5

I started building the next compent of the power unit. It’s a small circuit that reboots the system. Then I moved on to wiring some cables for the visual/audible alert system. That should be installed by Thursday. The R2 should be up and running by Friday. (Re)Becca A. and Caitlin S. stopped by today. They had a break and decided to wonder on over.

Dead Panic / Senior Project: Day 3

So prom is pretty much just 36 hours away…and that has put me into a dead panic. I really have no reason to be in a panic…maybe I’m just excited. Hmm…I’ll have to ponder that one for a little while. In any event, work on the Mexico 2004 slide show continues and it is lookin’ good…in fact, it’s looking excellent! This has to be one of the best mexico videos ever!

Today, er, yesterday (Thursday), I started out by tapping the gas tank on robot 2 and installing a drain. I then reasseblembeled the engine and put some screws into the drive shaft to hold the brake and the gear in place. Then I began work on a new power supply unit. That was acutally really fun. I got to create my own layout and drill some aluminium to mount the 4 power control units and 4 capacitors to. I will probably spend another 2 or 3 hours on that project tomorrow.

Today: 5 hrs
This week: 10 hrs 
10 hrs