Senior Project: (Last Day – 1) && (Last Day)

Thursday we mostly worked on the ME’s Fish Bot. There was a problem with the board they used to program the fish. They could write to RAM and run in debug mode and everything would work fine. They could also flash the ROM, but they couldn’t run out of ROM. After a few hours of testing with the scope, it problem was traced to a malformed 3.3 v wave form. Instead of being a constant 3.3 volts, the fish was getting somewhere between 3 and 3.3 volts. The dip in voltage was attributed to a power converter that could only handle 200mA. The fish nominally uses 300mA. So we added another 200mA power converter and the fish worked! Score one for EE.

Friday was just a massive 7 hour coding spree. The code I wrote is working, sort of. But I have a new idea. So I’m going to pretty much start from scratch next week.

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).

Chorus: Well it’s been a long, been a long, been a long, been a long day!

Whew! What a weekend. On Saturday I had the pleasure of waking up at 7am in the morning to film my latest movie, Orion. It’s actually a music video and it’s going to be awesome. Anyways, I filmed until about 5 and then I had to run up to Lynnwood to drop of some equipment. This, and traffic, unfortunately, caused be to be late to the closing night of my musical. I did arrive before the curtain went up, but not before causing mass panic and some chaos.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was a smashing success, to say the least. Quinn remarked, “Quality. It’s worth seeing if you didn’t see it tonight. Lots of good acting and overall a good production. It’s long, but not boring.” Duane remarked that he was “impressed with the high school production.  Better than the drama program was in my high school.” The play was rather long, running in just under three hours. I also cannot give enough praise to the entire cast. Being someone who likes to do whatever I activity I’m engaged in to the best of my ability, I’m often in the company of persons who don’t share that same feeling. This was not the case for this musical. Everybody had something very important invested in this production and everybody wanted the production to succeed…no pun intended. But I digress. Closing night was wonderful. We had a great cast party and later went to IHOP for about an hour. I got back home at 12:30ish and watched some Star Trek until 3am. Gotta’ love the Trek!

On Sunday, I had the esteemed pleasure to give the focus at The Edge. This story actually goes back to Tuesday night. I came home from Dress Rehearsal at about 10 and shortly after I walked in the door, Jeff Towne called me up and asked me to do the focus. I was pretty ecstatic at the time, although I’m not sure if I conveyed that adequately over the phone. Back to Sunday though. I woke up at 1pm and worked on my focus for the rest of the afternoon pretty much.

Monday was a pretty non-eventful.

That brings me to today. I woke up this morning at 6 to help out at the Cascade Land Conservancy. The CLC was having their annual awards banquet at the Westin Hotel in Downtown Seattle and they needed some AV help. I was more than happy to oblige, especially if it meant free food…which it did. Always a sucker for free food. Alec Turnbull was there as well as Nora Johnson. Nora is actually interning CLC for her Senior Project. Alec is interning at a travel agency somewhere Downtown. If you didn’t know, I’m interning at the UW. I should make a Senior Intern page sometime.

The event lasted until about 9am. In addition to breakfast, I also received a bag of coffee from Starbucks, a CLC hat, and, my personal favorite, a name tag with my name on it. The latter part of the morning was filled with more working graduation announcements. This afternoon I went to the Maxillofacialist. For those of you who don’t know what a Maxillofacialist is, they’re the ones responsible for pulling wisdom teeth. Fun stuff. I’m tentatively scscheduled to have surgery on June 10th at 9am.

Daniel Busyhead wanted me to mention him, so now I am. That also reminds me about this so called “Backwards day.” It’s the one where you give an answer to someone they don’t like and then they say, “But today is backwards day so everything you say is just the opposite.” Well, I have news for you. Backwards day cannot logically exist. If one claims that it is backwards day, and it were truly backwards day, that claiming that it was backwards day actually means that it’s not backwards day. If that doesn’t make any sense…well…it shouldn’t make any sense really.

And finally, for those who are wondering what the hell the title of this blog means; it’s a line from one of the songs in How to.

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.

Senior Project: Day 4

I finished building the power supply unit Friday. The UW Engineering Open House was also on Friday, so for the rest of my time, I pretty much just explained what different robots did and how they work. It was pretty fun. I also get free food which is also a major plus.

Today: 5 hrs
This week: 15 hrs 
15 hrs

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