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Author: johnreed

Open Water Remote Control Test

Open Water Remote Control Test

Selected a hobby grade remote control boat as a suitable platform in the next step for my quest to build an autonomous watercraft.  Picked up a AquaCraft Wildcat Brushless Catamaran and took it out to Lake Berryessa to test under remote control.  Got a feel for the speed, turn rate, and battery life.  The boat is much faster than I need it to be as an autonomous robot.  At its slowest speed, turning is still very responsive.  I estimate I’ll only…

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Speed Run Number 2

Speed Run Number 2

Alright, after two years in this hobby I finally got my first Lipo battery.  Gee, what took me so long anyways?  Decided to skip 2S and go straight to 3S,  at 50C. Kept the same gears as the prior run to test how the battery change alone would compare, everything else being equal. Traxxas 2wd Slash Velineon VXL-3s ESC Lipo 3S 50C Battery 5000 mAh 27T 48P pinion 76T 48P spur     Conclusion:  Switching from NIMH to 3S 50C…

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Getting in to RC Car Speed Running

Getting in to RC Car Speed Running

    My first foray in to speed running.  These are my notes for posterity. I want to baseline my vehicle first, as I’ve been driving it for this last year, without any modifications for speed: Traxxas 2wd Slash Velineon VXL-3s ESC NiMH Battery 3000 mAh 23T 48P pinion 90T 48P spur Baseline Run:  30mph Experiment #1: Replace the pinion and spur to 27/76 and measure the speed. Result : 33mph Wow, interesting!  That was a huge bump in gearing…

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Programmable Headlights on an RC Car

Programmable Headlights on an RC Car

Experimenting with smart LEDs on an RC Car… These are Adafruit Pixie Chainable Smart LEDs and an Arduino Uno.  On the car I replaced both channel’s servo cables with Y-harnesses.   Plugging one end of each harness back in to the servo/ESC, the other end is used to connect to Arduino PWM input pins.  Reading those values and using that information to  control the LEDs.  Adafruit Pixie LEDs are chained together but individually assignable to any color by the program.  This…

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Autonomous Long Distance Test

Autonomous Long Distance Test

  Took Bitzero out today on the UC Davis campus during the early morning hours for a long distance autonomous test drive.  It was a success.  A total of 1.1 miles driven.     The most valuable observation was around waypoint resolution.  The further away a GPS waypoint was, the more likely it would brush against the sidewalk on the way.  I believe this is happening because the calculated heading angle is much smaller at longer distance, and the less…

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Problem Connecting DJI Drone to Android

Problem Connecting DJI Drone to Android

Connecting my DJI Phantom 3 Standard to my Android(v7) phone has always been painful.  You connect to the drone’s Wi-Fi, and nothing happens.  You load up your DJI app and still nothing happens, you don’t get the usual Camera mode. I’ve finally figured out how to do it reliably, and I’m writing it down because I did not find the answer online.  And right now, you’re standing in a field somewhere, looking for this information. The key is to forget…

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Open Water Test Three – Final Conclusion

Open Water Test Three – Final Conclusion

  Today marks the conclusion of testing the airboat platform.  And the result is:  I will stop prototyping with it. The wind was a little higher today and the boat was unable to steer autonomously at the speed I intend to build a rover.   The rudders attempted to steer the craft, but the wind kept it from making the turn.  It appeared to be incorrectly sailing the wrong GPS point, but really it was in a state of balance with…

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Open Water Test Results – 1/20/18

Open Water Test Results – 1/20/18

Today I took AquaBitsTwo out for its second test in open water.  These are the results, notes, and lessons I learned… Wind.  I was unaffected by this during the first test and didn’t need to deal with it.  Today there was some wind.  Not very much, just a few miles per hour.  But my motor mount and rudder acted like sails and the boat wanted to align with the wind.  Boat bottom is flat.  I guess that’s what fins and…

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Project Update: AquaBitsTwo

Project Update: AquaBitsTwo

After the lessons learned building and launching AquaBitsOne, I’ve begun to scope out ideas for the next version, hereby named AquaBitsTwo.  Rather than custom build something out of foam or wood, I ended up deciding to just try out a body board.  Found this at Leslie’s Pool Supply:  a Big Lizard 24/26 Inch Small.   It was only nine dollars. Size comparison photo shows it’s a near identical replacement. Except that it will lack one critical flaw of the previous…

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Lessons on the First Open Water Test

Lessons on the First Open Water Test

Just returned from Lake Berryessa for my first ever autonomous boat test on open water.  Some notes so I don’t forget the lessons learned. I managed to get three test runs in for trimming and adjusting the turn rates.  Unfortunately,  it turned out the boat leaks and that was all I could do.  I did test it in a tub and in a creek, but I should have let it soak for a long time to determine if any issues…

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