TractorBot Update

Things have been progressing with TractorBot II over the past few weeks (sort of). Phil has now coded a menu system via a 2-line LCD screen, which is a significant improvement over last year’s LEDs and buttons. Hopefully this will take the guess work out of what program will run when we press GO. We found the menu very handy last year, we could just boot the Pi and select the program without having to SSH in and run the code. This will be a good improvement for PiWars 2015.

We have been researching better motors, but oh my, motors are so complicated. It’s hard to get a reasonable combination of values for speed, torque, size, cost and current drain. So many variables, our heads hurt, lots. Motor and clampKeith designed a mount for one of the motors we’ve been testing and Phil 3D printed it. We’ve chosen different motors now, so this is redundant, but the renders look very cool though.

Jon is playing about with an I2C distance sensor. It’s been working on an Arduino and he’s converted the code to get it running on a Pi. This will give us an analogue distance, similar to an ultrasonic sensor but without the timing issues associated with a Raspberry Pi. We hope this will stand us in good stead in the proximity challenge.

Oh, we also have some bad news, Andy’s laser cutter has failed and it’s looking like it will cost up to £1000 to fix. If anyone has suggestions on getting an Epilog Mini controller board up and running again we would be interested to hear them. It looks like a voltage regulator has given up the ghost.

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