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!