The bad servo-RF mix

A long while back, I purchased a couple of RF transmitter and receiver pairs. My idea was to make a remote controlled robot. I did do some experimenting with it before but nothing came of it at the time. I tried some more experiments today and, well, I broke more things, but I also confirmed a few other things that will sway where this project goes, if it does go anywhere.IMG_0001For the transmitter, I used an Arduino Uno. At first, I used it for the receiver, just so I could make sure the communication was working fine via the serial monitor. Once that was ready, I swapped the transmitter and receiver on the two systems. Using the transmitter on the Uno allowed me to change what was being sent instead of setting up a hardware circuit with buttons.IMG_0002Here’s the receiver. It uses my ATmega328p Breakout Board (Rev B) and my old AMS1117 voltage regulator board. I used my 16 SMD LED board and an LCD for debugging purposes.IMG_0003Before the servo motors were thrown into the mix, I tested the communication between the two separate systems. I’ve gotten the hang of it. I can edit the transmitter code to send as many characters I want. The only time I need to touch the receiver code is to change what the system does with the received data (the conditional logic).

I accidentally wired the power connections (Vcc and Gnd) to one of the servos backwards. It got really hot at that point and now it doesn’t work. I decided to take it apart for fun and will share those photos in a future post.

And after that, my problems with the servos continued as I realized the servo and virtualwire libraries try to use the same interrupt timer. To get around it, I’m trying to use the ServoTimer2 library which uses another timer. It wasn’t working properly for me so I’ll have to look into it more, but I think I’m just using the library wrong. You can take a look at my code on GitHub. It would make things easier if I just used DC motors instead of servos, but I’d rather use parts I already have. I do have another idea for these RF pairs so, even if this project is lost, you’ll still get to see them in action elsewhere…

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned if you’ve ever been interested in seeing the innards of one of these micro continuous rotation servo motors! That’s coming up next!

Advertisements

Moving on

It’s kind of depressing when you think about it, but my ESP8266 project is held up by two little switches I need that are somewhere in the mail. It’s going to sit off to the side until those switches come, so I thought I’d shift gears and give you a quick preview of what’s coming up.

RF Transmitter and Receiver

IMG_0001I’ve never been much of a communications guy. Protocols and accommodating for noise and interference and all that has always been confusing/boring to me, but I seem to be tip-toeing toward it these days. I received two RF transmitter and receiver pairs in the mail today. I didn’t have a project idea in mind when I ordered them, but they’re so cheap that I figured it would be would be nice to have lying around if I did come up with something one day. I’m still drawing up a plan, though I think it’s only natural that I try to use that temperature sensor that was originally destined for the ESP8266 project. I haven’t done enough research to see what is and what is not doable with this pair so I can’t confirm anything just yet.

bbIn the ESP8266 project, I have three mini-breadboards that each have a main purpose on them: One for my AMS1117 power regulator, one with the sensors, and one with the ESP8266 module. I decided to try and combine two of them so I could free up one so I could use it to play with the RF pair. I managed to cram the AMS1117 and ESP8266 onto one mini-breadboard… As long as it still works, it’s fine. I hope that this project will be on a perfboard soon anyway.

74HC595 Shift Register Boards Rev B / Light Show 7

I hadn’t mentioned it before but I sent the next revision of my 74HC595 boards to get manufactured and they are on their way to me right now. I’m pretty excited to see how they turn out because they are my first manually routed board.

I’m also excited because it’s part of some upgrades I want done to the Light Show Project before I start programming a new show. These new shift register boards break out the Output Enable pin which allows for some PWM control. The backdrop will definitely have that, but I’m also considering having all LEDs in the project controlled by shift registers, including the fountain LEDs which have always been controlled directly from the Arduino. There are advantages and disadvantages to that but, either way, I plan on taking a close look at how everything is wired.

In addition to working on the wiring, I’m still looking for ways to make it even bigger. For every version of the show, I watch the show and pick out things that I want to focus on. What I realized with Light Show 7 is that it’s not designed very well to watch on a widescreen… We’ll see what comes of that.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more!