17th May 2007

Report: Week of 17th May 2007

1) During this week, I worked with Derek, Roshan and Joyce on the actuator subsystem as well as on the robotic arm. We rewired the circuits using multi-thread wires to replace the single stranded ones and improve the reliability. We also fixed some issues with existing circuits (hard-wired portions where the pcb wiring had been damaged, replaced regulators and capacitors) and tested all of them by connecting them to the motors. We also tightened the coupling section of the actuators and used metal pieces to prevent them from slipping during rotation.

I spent some time testing the motors to see if there was a potential heat issue. Using a normal power supply, the motors started to behave in an erratic fashion after 30 seconds. However, using the SMPS resolved this problem. I believe that this will not be an issue in the main system as all power is supplied by the SMPS.

The circuits are controlled through bluetooth (chosen for the convenience of wireless communication, inbuilt flow control and simple serial transfer). All circuits respond correctly (master-slave communication via I2C protocol) and the system initializes itself by lowering all pistons to the 0 position (signalled by a limit switch).

Finally, we also built the circuits for the robotic arm and we are waiting to mount the system to test it fully.

2) I also spent some time looking through the code for the microprocessor master and slave (written in PIC-C). I believe that most of this code can be reused for the robotic arm with only minor adjustments.

3) I perused the game code and have gained an understanding of basic DirectX concepts - particularly the mesh generation for the deformed terrain.

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