Greetings! My name is Runjia. I am a rising Junior at Lowell High School in San Francisco as in summer 2015. My starter project is the Exploding Star Color Organ Kit. This electronic project kit is a very good introduction into DIYing, little projects that can make life more exciting. My main project is the RC robot tank. The concepts involved in building this robot tank involves electronics, firmware, and mechanics. Construction of the robot tank is challenging, but still appropriate for high school students. I am very excited about building these projects.
MAIN PROJECT-RC ROBOT TANK
I built a remote-controlled robot tank for my main project. This project involves both physical build and software build.
I build the main frame of the tank using Tamiya plastic components. First, I assembled the gearbox from scratch with a gear ratio of 114.7:1. My goal is to give the tank the ability to run as fast as possible, but also produces enough power to run over obstacles. Next, I assembled the wheels and the treads to make the two tracks of the tank. In overall, the physical build is pretty straightforward.
The software build is difficult and challenging for me. At first, my computer can not even upload the codes to the arduino board. Therefore, I have to spend a couple days just to solve the compatibility issue. After that, I have to look around on the internet to find how to connect the PS2 wireless receiver to the arduino board with the correct pins. I use the codes from instructable on paulbleisch.com to test out the wireless controlling. However, the codes does not work out for me. To troubleshoot this problem, I put in a lot of effort. Basically, I have to write my own code from scratch using the codes from the instructable for reference. First, I write the codes that only has outputs, in other words, it only tells the arduino what to do without the wireless controller sending in inputs. I test the code, and the arduino board executes the code correctly. Next, I write the codes that only takes the inputs from the wireless controller. If the arduino board detects the inputs from the controller, it prints out the values on the serial monitor. The codes also works well during testing. At last, I merge the part with the input functions with the part with the output functions. The final piece of code works really well.
In the final part of the construction, I just need to put everything together and fine tune the details. The arduino motor shield is plug into the arduino leonardo, so now it takes commands from the board and controls the speed and direction of the two motors on the tank. The tank is powered by 4 AA batteries, and the battery box is mounted on the top of the motors and the gearbox. I organize the wiring to make sure there is no tangling and it looks good. At last, I have a fully function remote-controlled robot tank!
The Exploding Star Color Organ Kit, which is my starter project, is essentially a set of LEDs with colors either red, yellow, or green, that fleshes according to music. As sound is picked up by the mic, the electronic signal is amplified by 3 transistors. The signal is then processed by 2 micro-controllers, and pulses produced by the micro-controllers are sent to a specific transistor, which drives a group of LEDs to flash. The effect of the LEDs can be altered for the best effect by tinkering 2 variable resistors in the circuit.
The time I spent at BlueStamp Engineering program is very rewarding for me. I got the chance to apply the knowledge I learned at school to the real world using engineering. Building the project involves many different topics and concepts, so I had to learn the materials from these topics by myself in the process of building the project. I encountered many problems during the build, so I had to try to use many different ways to troubleshoot and eventually solve the problems. I also gained my skills from hands-on building experience. When I finished my build, I realized that I have learned so many things that I can never learn in textbooks.