Software apps and online services
Day one of the project unboxed the parts to the project. I went through the pasts to see what I am working with and to estimate how much time it would take to build the car.
Day 2 didn't start well. Though the instructions were clear, I was blind. I tried to put the motors on but a piece it asked for is not in the kit and so I tried to figure out how to mount it with a substitute only for me to realize that it was in the car chassis. By the end of class, I had put on the motors, wheels, Arduino board and the motor drive module. I would say I'm at a good place.
Its day three and my goal is to be almost done with putting the car. It didn't start well. I had to underdo what I ended with last week which was frustrating because it took more time than I would like. At the end of the day, I'm done with all the parts of my car. All the nuts and screws are in; so are all the sensors including the ultrasonic. It exuberating when most of the work is done ahead of time.
Today is the first day of class back. Unfortunately, I didn't have my kit to work which sucks because I want to go forward but I don't have a ton left to do which is good. I also spent some time thing about where I am going to test all the aspects to the robot and decided that the dining area would be my best bet because there are many obstacles the robot has to avoid.
My stuff has finally arrived. I sent a few minutes going through the car to make sure all the pieces are intact. Since I am done putting the parts together I moved on to the coding aspect. There is a CD inside the kit to help but I realize I need a computer which accepts the disc. This is my next challenge but hopefully, I can find a different was to find the coding guide online. It is different working without the company of others especially Keli but that is something I would have to get used to.
So my CD issue was solved. I had my mom buy an external drive. I spent a solid amount of time trying to get it to run and look through the files on the CD. Going through this I realized my initial plan of printing a protective case wouldn't work which shouldn't be an issue. After examining I saw that there was no major reason to add that as that was just my way of customizing it. I spent class time looking for other ways I could add to it and decided to just leave it as it is for now. Going through the files on the drive was confusing because there were a lot of folders and resources which refused to open on my computer. I ended up going through each one to find some useful information. Hopefully, the next time I work on it I would actually be able to start the programming. By the end of the day, I realized that I would have to code in all the details for the car which will require a lot of deep memory digging into robotics class from last year. the next action was to start with basic tests before putting it all together. I look forward to seeing how far this goes and how smoothly.
Today I began my coding. The first thing I did was check if there were pre-downloaded code on the car. Turns out there isn't which I found weird because the instructions seemed to have implied that it was.
Then after research, I found a basic direction code and tested it out. while trying to upload the code I run into some compiling error which to a while to figure out. I I noticed that the Bluetooth piece wasn't plugged in. when I put it in, It wouldn't stop beeping till I turned it off. It was a good way to test the sound which I have to say was ear-piercing.
Going back to the CD, I found some materials to test the car's functionality. After waiting for several minutes the code refused to upload which was frustrating because I couldn't figure out what the issue was.
Realizing this might take longer than expected I decided to tackle each sense and command separately before I later put it together, started with direction.
Time is flying and I feel like I am barely making progress. I wish I could work more on it outside class time but it seems like teachers in my other class are giving us more work than they usually would, assuming we have a lot of free time on our hands which is not the case at all. Today I began with trying to re-download the comprehensive experiment code with took a while. for some reason, I was having an issue connecting to the board and kept getting errors. At some point, I really wanted to through the RC away because of how stressed I was. This project at this point is a test of my patience and reminds me of the times in robotics where I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my code for hours. At this point, I would say I needed help which I couldn't get as easily because we are not in school. Anyways, I didn't make much progress. I think I just need to calm down before I can be focused enough to continue.
4th April: Started the day off with the same error message, even after searching the web, I could not figure out what the issue was.
I tried uploading other code but the software would not allow me to open them. I am making no progress and it is starting to get to me.
I am bursting with joy. After working with Mr. Brown and Mr. Bell, we discovered that the main reason it was not working was not updated to the most recent version. I redownloaded the code and turned on the car and it worked for like 2 seconds. The next was to go through the code to make sure all is well and try again. I don't know what I did but when I tried to restart it a different error appeared.
I just spent 40 minutes for class working to figure out the issue only for it to work at the last minute. It turns out that a possible issue could be coming from there board connection to the car and not so much the code. After resetting the board I tried to download the ultrasonic avoidance code and it worked only when I unplugged it from the car. For the car to move, I had to reconnect the board and push down on it. I plan to spend some time this weekend finding an easier solution to keep it running.
I also discovered that the only code not working was the comprehensive experiment.
I spent a couple of minutes on the RCC and discovered that the issue with the car was the connection between the remote and the car with the first code. I then decided that I was going to break down each function to test them separately to see whether it works before recompiling them into a new code. I also took some time to out like a course for the car. This was more challenging because I do not have much to set as barriers. I just know that it will be in the garage.
After some thinking, I realized I either have to find tape or could use paper to layout the course.
At this point, it is become more difficult to commit more time into the project. I dedicated this class to coding and going through what I have. I did run into connection issues while downloading but was able to fix them after some time. This might have been the first time I looked at the code in-depth to understand the main aspects of each function. I first went through all the functions(forward, back, turns) and they went well. I then tried the ultrasound code which seemed to work only that after it backed up it kept pushing forward. I didn't really see this as an issue only because I just need to know that it was working. I then tried to separate the three modes that are in the comprehensive code but had a hard time doing so especially with the infrared control. After an hour of working, I decided to take a break and to pick it up later.
21st April: I planned on working this past weekend to further my progress but for some reason, I never got to it. I did discover after playing around a bit that the problem didn't seem to be the code but the connection between the remote and the car. the plan was to find the mobile remote and test it out. So I went back to the manual to find it but there was no specific app mention. After further reading, I realized that I might have been activating the mode wrong and tried to redownload and start again. The remote worked, the problem is that the functions were a bit of which could be tweaked with the code. I then went on to tried the ultrasonic avoidance mode. that one had a few issues: it started by turning but when it sensed an obstacle it went into it head-on. I then went on to try the infrared avoidance mode. That took a bit to figure out because the instructions were more define. I had to adjust the potentiometer to but was not sure which direction made it greater or less than 25 cm. After getting it, I tried to run it but it seemed not to be working. The next mode was the line tracking but since I don't have black tape at the moment I decided to skip for now. With the last mode being the object tracking which I didn't test out, my work for the next session is outlined for me.
Today was dedicated to talking the minor issues such as direction. While going through the code I noticed that the motor speed for the forward and back function and right vs. left functions are very different which is probably why it wasn't going smoothly. When I went to change it new issues arose: the motor reaction was delayed and the moved much slower. this is when I noticed that it might also be because they aren't held too firmly in place.
After I went to the ultrasonic sensor to see what was up with it. that took more time to find as it was at the bottom of the code.
I couldn't figure out the issue for a while but decided to change the delay from 400 to 100 to see if it made a difference.
Today I continued my work from last class. After some assessing, I realized that I am almost done with the most important parts. Most of the issues left are coding and ultrasound sensing. I plan to spend time tonight just like I would have if I was in school. At this point, I would am hoping to be done by the end of this week so that I can begin to work on the presentation portion throughout next week. With these goals in mind, I felt like I was in a good place by the end of class. I ended up spending some time on it but not as much I usually would.
Today was more relaxed mostly because I felt like I was in a good place, My main concern was for the remote control and obstacle avoidance which I do need to spend more time on. I did start thinking about my presentation and decided the outline of it.
Week of 3rd- 10th May
This week was dedicated to getting my self to a good enough place and also working on my presentation for the project. While testing the car on the road I realized that the remote needed to hit the car at a certain angle for it to work which was problematic the beginning but with time, I was able to work around it. Finally being done with this project, for the time being, I am glad it is over. This was a great learning experience especially when you lack the support of others directly around and it is the first project I did on our own.
PS: I would have loved to upload a video of the final results, however, the file type was not allowed.