March 9th, 2004: Lab Day 7 Semester 2

Where: Jobst 248

What got done:

In lab today we managed to start making some progress. Consulting with our assistant lab director and discussing some ideas we were able to get a main chassis constructed, and the motors and caster wheels mounted. To continue on the hardware trend I was able to research a battery charging circuit that would allow us to power a load while charging a battery if current allows. Interestingly enough it was very difficult to find information on battery chargers, especially for lithium chemistries. I found the information that I was looking for in the data sheets referring to similar batteries produced by panasonic. Using the application notes we were able to construct a charger that seems to work quite well. We also were able to run the voltage regulator and a single motor completely off of battery power. On the software side we now have a stable A/D converter. Previously we had a problem with the A/D when the power was cycled. The A/D would not resume operation after a power failure. A modification to the initialization routine has remedied the problem resulting in a fantastically stable A/D. The other major advancement on the software front was to test the motor control routines. Currently we have six functions to move the bot; forward, backward, turn left, turn right, spin left, spin right. Connecting the microcontroller control lines to LED's the control routines could be sequenced in order showing us if things were happening as we expected them to. The test came out to confirm that all routines worked as expected. Many compliments to Ajax and is ninja assembly skill.

What needs doing:

Although strides were made today we are by no means close to completion. With the student expo rapidly approaching we are under pressure to get things done to make a good showing. Although we have a base built for the bot we still need to get the solar panels mounted. Once they are mounted the regulator, battery systems, and microcontroller need to be mounted on the bug. While that is going on we need to get light sensors, IR components, and contact switches integrated. Once that is done we have expo presentation and a lot of finishing touches.