January 15th update

Back after the Christmas break

Spent quite a while diagnosing problems with the 10 inch HDMI monitors we have been given access to . It appears that they do not work with the supplied power adaptors when connected to Raspberry Pi zeros. They only work if we drive them via USB cables from USB ports on the school PCs, Which means that we can’t use them in the workshop as there are no PCS in there.

On a more positive note, we got the line following sensors wired up and talking to the line follower code, but need to do a bit more debugging to get the program working as required. We also managed to drive the pi zero successfully from the Poundland mobile phone backup battery device which gives an adequate 5v USB output from the internal 3.7v LIPO battery. Motor power is currently 6xAA batteries giving 9 volts, but we do have some 2 and 3 cell LIPO batteries available as well.

The chassis team have done some more design for our alternative chassis which will hold the motors more securely. We will build a robot on each chassis and see which works best.

The remote controller team have got most of the buttons on the gamepad being recognised by the program, so we need to link this up with the motor control program now to complete the remote control setup.


Dec 11th Update

Slow progress this week and not so much to report. We have continuing problems with the small HD monitors we have access to. We had 2 of the 10 working last week but none this week.

We did speed trials between the mark1 chassis (2 motors driving 4 wheels) and the mark2 chassis (4 individual motors each driving one wheel) and found that the mark 2 is a lot faster on the same 6 volt supply, so we are likely to go with that for the competition robot.

The space invaders team have fabricated a cartridge to hold and deliver the Nerf gun darts but haven’t finalised the rest of the design yet.

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Dec 4th update

The main items of progress this week are:

1 – We have got the remote control connection from the gamepad controller to the Raspberry pi working and recognising several of the buttons on the controller, using the camjamedikit code

We now need to modify the code we have to drive the motor board that we are using rather than the hat that the software is written for.

2 – We have a second test chassis made which has 4 motors (one for each wheel) rather than the 2 motors on the existing chassis, each driving 2 wheels through gears. We will check out the speed and manoeuvrability of the two chassis so that we can decide which one to go with on the final robot.

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Nov 27th Update

Camera team 1 making progress – been looking at coloured squares

Maze team 2 finally resolved Pi power supply problems and have reviewed the updated maze design to decide on a strategy for getting through the maze. Expect to use obstacle sensors to follow walls.

Line follow team 3 has got line sensors working and has now started putting their chassis together to decide how to mount the line sensors

Pi Noon team 4 got pi working and started downloading camjamedukit3 software for remote control with game pad

Space invaders team 5 still working out drawings of how to fire Nerf gun darts with the  parts of the disassembled Nerf gun we have.

Team 6 have got their chassis moving forwards and backwards at varying speed with both motors connected up to the motor driver board. Ready to start helping other teams get their motor boards wired up next week.

Team 7 still working on chassis version 2 with 4 motors. A few more modifications still needed to hold the motors more firmly

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Nov 20th Update

A productive evening today overall. Progress is moving onward!

This week we managed to laser cut multiple copies of our new chassis to enable each team to have one.  They also started to prototype a variant which will be powered by 4 motors instead of the two on the current chassis.

Group 1 enabled their camera software operating on their Pi, and group 6 managed to mount their pi on the new chassis and get one of their two drive motors working under control of the pi zero.

Team 3 blew up a line sensor by connecting the power leads the wrong way round. But we did establish that with a 5volt power input they give a 3.3volt output signal, so this can be fed directly into the pi.

Power issues were still prominent with 2 teams unable to get their pi zeros booting up reliably, and so new adaptors will be tested and ready for next week.

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Nov 13th update

A mixture of success and problems again this week.

We received a new set of 4 port USB hubs to replace the previous ones which would not work properly with the Pi zeros. These are much better but we are still getting some problems with the OTG USB adaptors that come with the Pi zero essential kit. When we put the  USB leads into them they are loose and only seem to connect properly some of the time which is very frustrating.

A couple of our pi zeros do not seem to want to connect at all on the micro USB port and we may have to contact Pi Hut about that.

We have connected up a TB6612 motor driver board to a pi zero and got that working eventually, once we connected the motor power leads the right way round – I am surprised that the driver board survived that.

We have produced our first prototype chassis – laser cut from thin MDF with mountings for our motors used last year and for the raspberry Pi. We should have a few more cut ready for next Tuesday’s club

The Pi 3B+ that we are using for the camera would not boot up from the micro SD card, but we have established that this is because we weren’t using the latest download of NOOBS which is required for the 3B+. A new download and install after the end of the club session has fixed this.

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Welcome to KES school Robot club Blog

This blog is where we will share information about our entry for Pi Wars March 2019

This year our competition group consists of about 15 boys from years 8 to 10 who will be working in pairs on the different challenges in the competition.

Last year we entered a team of 10 boys and came 17th in the schools competition.

This year we hope to completely upgrade our robot with current Pis, a new chassis and new motor drivers

links to information pages below:

Team activities       KESbot electronics       Pi pin assignments

Using PWM to drive motors         Sensors

Remote Control         Python coding for robots