13 December 2018

I was pretty quiet over the summer, however, I made some videos showing what I’ve been up to. There has been a robotics book, some smaller makes, some stuff I needed while working on the book.

The book

For the majority of summer, I was working on my book, Learn Robotics Programming: Build and control autonomous robots using Raspberry Pi 3 and Python. This involved writing, robot building, electronics, coding and research. The research led to a couple of spin off videos, like getting LED’s and line followers combined:

Also comparing distance sensor types:

USB Footswitch

I make lots of video and photos. There were many picture sequences made for the book, to help explain and demonstrate things. When doing shots of making/assembling parts, I kept finding I needed an extra hand to trigger the camera, or start/stop video recordings, while holding parts in place.

Sometimes Helena was able to press buttons for me, but this as pretty dull for her, so she only volunteered a few times. I needed a next plan.

My next solution was horrid, I put my beloved trackman marble wheel (kind of a vintage device now) on the floor adn started using it’s button as a footswitch. It worked, but I didn’t like it, because it led to possibly damaging a favourite input device, and besides, if I jogged the mouse, it no longer lined up with buttons.

So I thought breifly about making a foot pedal, and decided to see what I could buy. There were actually a few of these USB foot switches on Amazon so I took a plunge and bought one. I had a couple of reservations about the security of the device initially, but it worked out well.

Other problems solved

So I had a bunch of smaller problems I solved throughout, and made a video compiling them together.

The first was cables - in the robot build in my book, I used a lot of dupont cables to connect between the Raspberry Pi, the breadboard and sensors/outputs. It was getting harder to find the male-female type cables. I knew I had some. But they were all mixed up in a box, all the types, along with other junk. So I made some separators for a box with them.

I had some questions about all the tape seen on my tool rack behind my desk, so I address all the types of tape I use in my lab in the video.

Also, with this robot (and a PiWars robot) I’ve been chewing through a lot of Metal Hydride AA batteries. I was finding some no longer charged. I had a big bunch of them, but didn’t know their state, so I went through them all finding out which still had a charge, which needed a charge, and then which still would charge. A few were recycled as they were no good, the rest labelled with a testing date. Metal Hydrides do degrade over time.