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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another lesson in what not to do with robotics

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day tweaking my computer program that controls Robby's functions. Speed and direction of the radar ear posts, speed of the saxton valves and timing of when they all randomly turn on and off.

It was more work than I anticipated to get everything running smoothly. However, in the process of adjusting the motor speeds, I experimented with slowing one of the radar motors down. After downloading the program into my controller, I had to put the project down for a few hours. When I came back to it, I hooked everything up and kind of forgot about the changes I made to the software. I was having trouble with one of the ears earlier so when I fired up the motors, one of the ears just groaned and stopped. I thought that the motor had burned out. So after checking connections a dozen times, I began the difficult task of removing the motor from the ear. After it was removed, I tested it and found the motor was still good. Did I feel foolish for removing it without testing the controller first. My next culprit was the controller. I was suspicious that I burned out the first motor channel on the board because I was unplugging and plugging in the motor while it was running and I had the wires reversed once.

AND THEN IT DAWNED ON ME !!!! After wasting a lot of time, I finally realized the reason the motor just groaned when I turned on the controller. I turned the speed down too low in the software. After turning the speed up a little higher, everything was working again.

Now I have to remount the ear motor which isn't a bad thing since I wasn't happy with the way that side was mounted. My next attempt with give it a little more of an angle so the radar piece won't vibrate out of the axle connector.

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