My name is Chris and I am a second-year student at Bluestamp in San Francisco. This year I started by building the voice changer and for my main project I built a GPS guided model car. The car is a modified RC car from Radioshack in which I installed a new servo, GPS module and an Arduino Uno micro controller. Attending the program for a second year has greatly improved my understanding of circuit design and coding using Arduino. The biggest takeaway I have from this year is that I need to remember to prepare. When I bought my first RC car I had no idea how to mount the servo which forced me to use a makeshift solution using superglue. It was not very precise. I also ordered a few parts I did not need. In the future I will make sure to not skimp on preparation for a project as this will make the building process much less problematic. This year has also helped me further narrow my interests in the field of engineering. I have found that I like circuit design and electrical engineering more than I had thought. Now my interest in EE rivals my interest in mechanical engineering. I am fairly certain I will not want to study computer engineering further although it is a good skill to have. My participation in Bluestamp this year has also helped cement my decision to study engineering in college. Please take a look at my blog and see what I’ve accomplished during this year’s program!
This post is for the completion of my project. My car is currently an “X-Mods” (Radioshack’s store brand) RC car which has been heavily modified to be controlled by an Arduino. My original car from Rite-Aid crashed into a wall and destroyed itself so I ported all of the components from the first car to my new one. The Arduino code works by reading the car’s location from the GPS module, then determining where the destination is in relation to its position and steering the car in that direction. The motors are not controlled by the Arduino so when the car reaches its destination it circles it rather than coming to a stop. Since my third milestone I have added waypoints to my code. This allows the car to have a number of coordinates in the code and it will reach a waypoint before proceeding to the next one. This project was my first real experience coding with Arduino and I think I learned a lot from it. I hope to be able to apply the skills I learned in the program to my life and work going forward.
This milestone represents the first working prototype of my car. Now all of the components as well as the Arduino have been installed in the car and now it works well. There are still some components which may need to be changed or modifications to be done but the car currently works. (*Update–The car has broken and has been swapped out for a new one. This is covered in my final write-up.*) With the car now in a working state I will go forward by testing it more and identifying ways in which it can be improved.
My second project milestone is getting the code logic working correctly. This means that the code works logically with all of the components which will be attached to the Arduino. The GPS now works, knows which direction the car should be moving and operates the servo accordingly. To make this code work I needed to set the bounds in which the servo will operate as well as write the “if” statements stating when a hard left or hard right turn will be made. This completes the coding aspect of my project.
My first milestone of my main GPS robot project was getting the GPS code to deliver the data I needed. After a week of coding I was finally able to write a code which works. Some of my problems stemmed from the fact that my Parallax PMB-688 GPS module had incorrectly labeled wires. Once I identified the wires I was able to write the code and complete the wiring without issue. My Arduino now returns GPS data in the form of latitude and longitude every 5 seconds on the serial monitor. My next step will be writing code for the motors which will respond to the GPS data provided by the module.
My Starter Project: Voice Changer
For my starter project I made a voice changer. The voice changer works by manipulating sound waves recorded from a microphone and playing them through a speaker. The voice changer uses integrated circuits, capacitors, zener diodes, resistors and potentiometers to complete its circuits. I soldered all of the connections and then used speaker wire to connect my speaker to the voice changer. I initially mounted mu IC socket backwards and had to desolder. This was an important skill I learned from this project. Other than mounting the IC socket backwards I finished the project without issue.