Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Programmer's commerce site up, The Common Exchange!

I've been working on this for about a month now, but the site is stable at last, and works. It is not complete, but not much has to be done. The basic "just" of the site is working smoothly.

What it is:
The Common Exchange is a site where programmers can upload their programs for marketing them. They simply register with the site, select "Upload Your Program" from the side menu, and proceed with getting their program on! The site is the first of it's kind for the Parallax line of products, particularly the Propeller Chip, which has it's own paid OBEX (Object Exchange). At last Propeller Programmers have the chance to sell their objects, programs, or apps without having to have their own website or doing patchy selling on the Parallax forums. This isn't just for Propeller programmers, Basic Stamp and SX chip programmers can also upload, and the microcontroller selection is being increased to use Xmos, PIC, and the Arduino.

Click here to go to The Common Exchange website

Click the link above to go to the site. It is currently in working order, although there may be some changes being made as you browse it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What will you do to keep from checking the mail?

If you follow my regular posts on the Parallax forums then you probably know that I have been working on a job for Ken Gracy of Parallax Inc. He has hired me to build him a device that will tell him exactly when the mail has arrived, including the time that it has arrived and to show the current time. This is achieved by having a 2 part system, composing of a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter simply has a pushbutton, 2 LEDs, and an Xbee radio. The receiver is technically more complicated, composing of an LCD, a 5 pos switch, and a board with an Xbee radio, RTC, relay controller for the screen, etc. The circuits have been completed, the devices have been enclosed in nice Mountain King Tech enclosures, and it is all ready to be sent out, exepting the LCD, which has not arrived yet.

Wish me luck on my first "official" job!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Smaller Junkbot a successful project!

During the last 2 months I have built a varity of notable projects. (and a larger varity of not-notable projects!) First of all, the "junkbot" mentioned a while ago has made a great shelf for holding my project parts, if that tells you anything.
However, I have successfully transfered the servos onto another smaller robotics platform that I made out of plywood. I used 2 PING sensors that I got out of the "Traveling Junk box" that has been circulating to members of the Savage Circuits forum to do distace detection, and I used the Xbee transievers to do data extange and control. The robot relays distance data back to the base system that is displayed on a composite TV screen salvaged from an old DVD player. It is controlled with a 4X4 matrix keypad read by a Propeller microcontroller and sent through the Xbee module. The bot itself is a 16X16 inch square of plywood controlled by a Propeller microcontroller and driven by 2 servos. It receives Xbee data and then controls the servos accordingly. If the keypad code is entered, the bot is set to "autopilot mode" and roams around on it's own using the PING sensors for object detection.
This may seem great, and the development did go very well, but there is one error. For some reason the PINGs stop working after the servos are powered up. I don't understand it as the PINGs are controlled by a different power supply, but they still do it. There should be no prossesing problems as the PINGs and the servos are in 2 seperate cogs (Propeller cores).
I will update any progress on this and if the problem is solved then I will put the code on my site. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Microcontrolled Online coming soon!

I have been able to secure a sub-domain and a host (thanks mctrivia!) that will allow me to host my own site. I am coding the site in HTML and designing the buttons with Cool Text. The site for the most part looks good, and I am now adding the other pages to it. I am using IPswitch for the transfer and notepad to write the HTML files. The site will have a link to my blog (of course!), a download page, a store, and a large amount of my Propeller programs I have written over the years. They will be in one large file and I will post other programs as they are made, so anyone can access them. Even though most of what I am doing to the site right now is experimentation, you can still see what I am doing HERE.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project Junk bot!

Yea, I know, another project. Well, this is my Xbee evaluator as well, so I just had to build it. :-) It is about 4 feet tall, 20 lbs., and powered by 2 small Parallax servos. It was originally going to run on a Propeller alone, but the Prop cannnot generate enough servo torque to move this giant thing so I used a BS2/Propeller combo. Each has it's own power source of 1 9V battery and each communicate non-serialy through 2 wires. It is input driven instead of serial because of memory problems on the Prop. The Propeller does all the hard work of reading sensor data, (the only one is GPS right now), reading the Xbee, and displaying results on the screen. It changes between 3 menus selected by the keyboard. One is GPS data, one is a serial terminal (for 2 way message communication between robot user and remote user), and the other is a directory of pre-set rooms that the GPS can navigate to. The data to get to each room is programmed into an SD card. You set the bot on "record" and every turn and stop is loading as data into the SD card allong with the GPS coordinates with which it was in when the turn was made.

This is the Keyboard interface and the display. 


This is the section where the electronics go. There are no electronics in it at the time, but there will be. They are currently at my desk for programming and tweeking. 
Well, that's all I have now! I'll post updates every time a signifficant step is taken in the making of this. Thanks for reading!


P.S. If other Parallax forum fans noticed, the monitor in the background of the first picture has a forum page on it. :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Going wireless with Xbee!!

I've had a number of projects for some time that could be compleated (or made!) if only I had an easy to use, highly supported, Propeller-object connected wireless interface. Then my dream came true and Parallax started supplying Xbee modules!! I've just heard that I should be getting them any day now so I'm getting my projects ready! I've already written code for a tracking device that will utilize the Xbee module! As soon as I get them in I'll have some projects running! :-)

Spreading out: Learning Java and C#

Well, this week I've taken a break from my usual programming and I am finding online resources to learn programming in languages other then the ones Parallax provides. In just mere days I am able to write light programs in Java and C#, although Java more then C#. I did this by watching some video tutorials. The ones on Java were long and tedious, but they taught you what to do and what you shouldn't do. The C# tutorials where fast and to the point, but they didn't go into detail about the programming process as if you were to do it, but more of just what the language keywords where and what they did, vaguely on how to use them. Here are some links.

Java video tutorials

C# Tutorials (includes Java, C++, SCL and other web languages)

Thanks for reading!