Saturday, July 9, 2011

Arduino micocontroller powered logic displays are working!

Rather than type, here's the video blog update I posted on YouTube...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lightweight aluminum utility arms arrive

A fantastic parcel arrived from the UK today. did a limited production run on these pieces for the club and to further reduce weight, holes were drilled to remove additional material.  


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Second front logic display built

Having learned how to properly solder the resistors from the previous logic display, I was ready to get the second one assembled.

One thing I decided to change was how to maintain the tip.  I stopped by my local electronics shop, ICC North and picked up some Tip Tinner at their suggestion.  Much like a wax, you heat up the soldering iron, dip it in and them wipe with a rag.  BE CAREFUL, the tip will be HOT (just stating the obvious).  When done soldering for the day, do the same again.  This prevents oxidation on the tip.

This time, everything went together very smoothly with the better soldering iron (hotter) and knowing the proper polarity the resistors need to be on the PCB!

Next up was installing the LEDs.  Using nail clippers to remove the flange in the legs (too wide to fit the hole in the PCB), I trimmed and tested each LED before placing them into the board.  If you are wondering the pattern or white and blue to put in, there is a reference picture available that shows what color goes where.  I simply printed it out and used a magic marker to cross them off as I did it.

My partner in crime, "Momma Cat", sat along and kept me company while putting everything together.

After getting all the LEDs installed and attaching the power and data leads to the Arduino UNO, it was time to test!

I will resume work on these tomorrow to get them working together.  I am missing a cable and will have to make one.  Then it is on to the rear logic display!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Continuing work on the Arduino powered Front Logic Display

Tonight I settled in to get one of the Front Logic Displays (FLD) pieced together.  I brought my laptop and plugged in a second monitor, fired up a Star Wars movie and stayed in touch with the world on Facebook...

One suggestion another builder made was to snip the LED prongs with a nail clipper instead of the ...ahem...Radio Shack clipper made for the role.  The nail clipper makes a very clean cut while the other one does not, making it difficult to get the prongs to fit into the PCB board.

I found cutting them at an angle, right where the tab is, works best.  It sure is a lot easier to get them to fit in the PCB with a pointed tip.  I got more done in 45 minutes than last time, that was for sure.

Notice the LEDs all look a bit, well, unorganized.  I'll work on making them more orderly when it is time to line them up with the bezel piece.  For now, they are all in and ready for testing.

Next up was to get the Arduino UNO ready to go.  With the Arduino software for Windows downloaded and installed, I just had to get the LED Library.  All of these steps are detailed on this link 

Following the instructions, I had power wires going from the FLD to the Arduino.  If you have jumper leads, this is a lot easier!  Servo wire is extremely thin and hard to keep secured into the power connector on the FLD.

With everything done, we had blinking lights!

So far so good....on to the next one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More work on the Front Logic Displays

Today I made a trip to my local electronics shop, ICC North in Brewer.
I picked up a MUCH better soldering iron that allows me to crank the output power from 25 watts on up to 65.  Another thing ICC had was an LED tester.  This little device made quick work of testing the LEDs and sort them out by color (they are all clear).

I had to correct a resister which I installed in reverse.  Once I corrected that, it was on to referring to the layout of the front logic display, clip the correct LED and slide it into the board.  Its an extremely tight fit and slow work...but I made some progress tonight.

Of course, I had company while doing this work...Pudgey decided to take up the chair next to be and took great interest in the LED legs being snipped off...

Here's where I left off tonight, I got 19 LEDs installed.  Pictures show the front and back.  No soldering until later, after we test power them and make sure they fit the template piece.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Small steps...soldering together the first front logic display...

I decided to dive in and follow the instructions ( provided to me.  Here's a series of pictures detailing my progress tonight...


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Front and Rear logic display lighting with Arduino!

The lighting system used on my first R2-D2 is the JEDI lighting setup.  The lighting is outstanding and I have wanted to get another set for this second droid.  

However, there aren't any active runs going on.  But, some of the builders have started on a project making their own setup that uses the Ardiuno microcontroller.  One builder offers the circuit board, another makes the templates and you just have to find the LEDs and other parts to make it all work.  I've never done anything like this before but the results I have seen are impressive.  The other big thing is the price....the JEDI lights are beautiful, assembled but run around $300.  For what you see in the picture below...under $100.  

 I have a fair amount of learning to do.  Soldering, testing, programming the Arduino and who knows what next!  Should be fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

300mm dome for droid #2 arrives!

I was so impressed with the 300mm dome I bought for my first droid, I promised myself to purchase one for the second droid if they did another run.

Well, they did!

It arrived double-boxed and no damage.  Droid #2 is on track to be quite the improved droid!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

JAG Foot Drives have arrived

We haven't had anything to post in a while but things are going to start changing!

Yesterday the JAG foot drives showed up.  These are designed to work with the popular NPC 2212 motor sold by NPC robotics.  Generating 1/4 horsepower, this drive system bolts right into the steel feet Jerry Green produces.

Both R2's have a lot of work planned for the next few weeks....keep checking in !