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Critter Has Returned..... again.
May 21, 2009 23:24
I got the critter fixed and had it running around for the weekend. The two major holdups were the broken wheel and the lack of a battery that would hold a decent charge. I had been holding off on purchasing another battery until I could get down to Tanners, but since that didn't seem to be happening quickly enough, I bit the bullet and spent twice as much for a battery locally. I'll be sure to stock up on batteries the next time I'm near Tanners.
Anyway, I couldn't find the metal adhesive I had used before on the wheels, so I instead just used regular superglue, which for the moment is working fine. If the bond breaks once a year and I have to just reglue it, so be it. This isn't supposed to be permanant anyway. So I had the critter tooling around for the weekend. And then after a couple of bumps, it quit working completely.
I tore into the circuits, replaced the regulators since they were returning funny voltages, and finally isolated the problem with the computer itself. I tried a known good voltage source and it wouldn't light up at all. So I figured the computer was dead. Not a huge deal, I have a spare, and I had completely disassembled it and prepared to perform micro-surgery (micro.. haha) to replace the computer with my spare. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I gave the board a good shake, a small piece of solder fell off. It must have broken loose from the circuit board that sits on top of it. Anyway, the computer powered up just nicely after that, so I put the critter back together, and now it runs nicely.
I have been slowly updating the pages on the site. Not fast enough, mind you, but I'm at least making some progress. So far I have updated the Why page, the howto pages for the webcam, relay, X10 interface, the old RC Car, and the Critter.
I'm also planning on developing a section of the site for ongoing projects of an educational nature. Sure, I can write up a page on the generic nature of wiring a relay to the parallel port... and I've done that already, but a more detailed, ongoing, textbook type educational experience on computer interfacing would likely draw more attention. I'd start with something simple like gettin the LED to flash or the relay to turn a light on and off, and slowly move up to controlling and interfacing with ever more complicated things, all the while building toward a larger project goal. Not only would I perform, photograph, and detail every single step of the way, I would also include detailed parts lists, along with locations to purchase those parts. I might also sell kits, either for individual projecs, or generic kits where the parts can be reused after each stage of the project. Examples of larger projects that I could build up to would be a web capable phone interface, a robot, or some other projects of similar complexity.