Sals Hacker Space

Sal's Hacker Space

Monday, December 31, 2012

Quick update: Servo test for wallcrawler

So the servos came in and due to the holidays I could not get much work done but I managed to hook them up with the magnetic wheels and test them out.

I'm using the Arduino servo library so that I can control the servo in both directions. The servos have been modded for continuous rotation.  I'll upload the source code later. I am currently travelling and updating this blog post via the blogger app.
I have lost one set of magnetic wheels during my travels but that's okay. I will work on the rest of the wall crawler while i wait for new ones to arrive.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A wall crawling detour...

So i have been searching for the files and pictures i had about my electronic cricket project but i cant find them. They are in my old laptop which i have to get back from a friend of mine...

Excuses excuses....

Shut up! Anyway... in the mean time lets talk about the other project that im currently working on.

Lets talk about line following robots. Traditionally these lil guys are autonomous robots which follow a line laid out in the form of a track.

Hence the name "Line Follower" ...Duuhhhhh!

Err... right. Most of the line followers I've seen are robots that follow tracks on the ground. Like the one shown in the picture below.

Ive always had an interest in robotics, what if we made a line follower that defied gravity and followed tracks on walls. Make it a wall crawling line follower. Now THAT would be cool.

Lets take a look at the three basic things every line follower needs...

1) DC Motors.
2) MicroController.
3) Sensors.

For our line follower we will use servos. They are easy to operate, heck most of the work is done for you.


Hey, havent you heard the term "Dont re-invent the wheel?"


No. Its just good engineering practice... look it up my alter ego friend.


Go ahead and sulk if you want. We are using Servos.

In order to make the robot crawl on vertical walls lets use magnetized wheels. You can get disc magnets from hobbyist stores. This way you can expect the robot to be able to traverse a vertical wall such as a whiteboard (this guys gonna be crawling all over the whiteboard in my cube at work heh heh).

For a microcontroller i will be using the 3.3V Arduino Pro mini. Awesome little uC. Cheap and easy to work with.

For the sensors we will be using Optical detectors/Photo transistors.

For those of you who want to exactly what ill be using, check out the following list:

1) 2x Servos

2) 8x Magnetic Discs, 4 for each wheel.

3) Arduino Pro Mini 3.3V

4) 2x OptoDetector/Phototransistor QRD1114

5)1x Light weight battery.

Ill probably add more to the list as i work on this dude.
Im visiting my sister over the holidays so it doesn't seem as if ill be getting much work done. However lets see! Ill keep you posted!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Introduction: The beginning


You are about to embark on a journey through time and space.....woops!

Wrong intro.

*ahem ahem* 

HeyLo everyone! 

I will now bore you with a brief introduction about who i am and why this blog spot is created. You know, the usual stuff. But maybe this picture sums it up better.

Yes you guessed it, i am an engineer and this blog will be regarding some of the cool projects i am working on. I did my bachelors from San Jose State University. 

While i was at SJSU I created a program which involved monthly workshops in which students would build cool electronic projects, learn the concepts behind them and then take them home to show off to friends and family

These workshops were so successful that they impacted the curriculum in a way i never imagined. Professors took my workshops as a basis for their in class projects and as a result the whole curriculum became more project based. Students became more exposed to building things and applying the theory they learned in class rather than just, well... learn theory. I hope to do the same on the web, maybe help somebody out or as a result of this meet some like minded people and learn more about my field from them.

Some of the workshop projects at SJSU were

  • Laser Trip Wire Alarm System
  • Musically Inclined Portable LED System
  • A Guitar Amp in an Orbitz Gum Container
  • Portable FM Transmitter
  • An MSP430 Launchpad project using the touchscreen shield.

Now i work full time with some amazing engineers. Not a day goes by that my mentors dont wow me. They are, in part, also my inspiration to write a blog and get more involved with my projects. Hopefully i can be like them someday and inspire others like my mentors have inspired me.

My boss says "There is no excuse for boredom when you can mess around with electronics." I agree with him. I hope you stick around and im sure you will too.  

It'll be fun. :)