Week 14 & 15: Spartan Superway Controls

With the final weeks of the Fall semester coming to an end, we started creating our final presentations to show our rapid prototype to the other teams. Overall, we were very successful this semester in creating our prime design, resulting in a working prototype that we are able to test using the motors, RFID tags, and Xbee modules. We acknowledged that our control system works as predicted and the components run as expected. We were able to combine our work with the mechanical bogie team and test everything on a section of the new track and found that everything worked perfectly together. For next semester, we plan to spend more time on the mobile application, Firebase, and the node.js server in order to get a ticket purchase to activate a bogie.

Week 13 - Spartan Superway Controls

For this week, we worked to create a working rapid prototype in order for us to have a good presentation for next week. Once we had all the electronics working, we worked with the 1/12th scale mechanical bogie team and the track team to combine all of our work and ultimately ended up with a working rapid prototype. Overall I am really proud of the work that we have put in this semester and am looking forward to continuing this work once we have a full track and multiple bogies working.

Week 12 - Spartan Superway

This week, I had all the motors and drivers soldered and began testing them. Since we were no longer using the old motors, I decided to also take one of the encoder boards from the rear and soldered it to the new motors. Once this was done, I wired everything up the Arduino and began testing it using a fade function being applied to the input. As you can see in the video below, the motors and drivers work perfectly and are ready to be used in the new bogie design. For next week, I will have both these motors in the previous pod car design so we can see if the extra torque helps with the longevity of the motors. 

Week 11 - Spartan Superway Controls

This week, all of our components arrived and we began programming with what components we could. I started by soldering all the components and making sure that the motors and servos are functioning. Our new motors feature a 100:1 geartrain compared to the 76:1 gear ratio of the previous design. Through this, our pods will run a little bit slower but will have much more torque. We hope that this will help with the problem of motors dying very quickly. Next week, I plan to have all the motors and drivers working so I can begin calculations on the motor speeds, specifically during turns.

Week 10 - Spartan Superway Controls

This week, we began working with the previous pod designs to try to get the Xbee communications working. We were able to put together a working pod and ran in on the track. We noticed that the pod would loop around the full track but then stay in a loop between station 3 and 4. Unfortunately purchasing a ticket did not show to be working with the pod, as no purple LED came on. Through this, we will need to take a deeper look into the communication between the Android app, server, and Firebase. Once we are able to solve this problem, we will be able to continue along with the programming of how the new pods will act depending on the ticket they receive.

Week 9 - Spartan Superway Controls

During this week, we began planning our initial concepts and rapid prototypes. We created a bill of materials for all the components that we will be needing for our prototype. Through this, we found that we will be buying a new Arduino Mega 2560 to ensure that our final prototype code works perfectly with a new board. We decided to order two new Xbee modules to isolate any communication problems we might be having due to faulty Xbees. I also found a servo that is metal geared and has more speed and torque than the current motors. While torque isn’t much of a dependency, the faster speed will help make the switching mechanism work much faster. Lastly, we ordered some breadboards and other small items so that by next week we can begin building our rapid prototype.

Week 8 - Spartan Superway Controls

This week, we presented our current information for Presentation 2. To help smoothen my delivery of information and keep it interesting, I broke up our control system into it’s different parts and introduced them all separately while using animations to help tell what their purpose is. Through this, I believe it helped with my presentation material and significantly improved the overall impactness of it compared to our first presentation. I will continue to learn how to improve my presentation skills and hopefully by next presentation be able to perfectly present my information in a good manner.

The 2nd presentation can be found on our team blog.