The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Archive for March, 2005

Robosub v .1

Posted by Deliverator on 31st March 2005

Spent a good deal of today researching various aspects of ROV design. I spent some time at TAP plastics talking to them about the buoyancy properties of various plastics and foams. After a lot of consideration, I think the best (read cheap and simple) way to go about achieving neutral buoyancy is to construct the frame out of PVC filled with foam. The motors, cameras, control boards and batteries are going to add a lot of weight, so a fair ammount of foam will probably need to be strapped to the frame to achieve slightly positive buoyancy. The nice thing about this design is that it doesn’t require any complex dive tanks, compressed air, pumps, etc and should something fail, the ROV should float to the surface on its own. I still need to investigate motors/propellers and a few major subsystems, but a lot of the ? marks on my checklist are now marked off. For example, I learned how to build a hydrophone (underwater microphone) and how to build cheap waterproof cameras.

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Posted by Deliverator on 30th March 2005

I have been thinking about trying to get the TRC to build a robotic submarine as our next big project. After the upcoming FIRST nationals in Atlanta, we won’t have any firm commitments for a while. I like the idea of a sub, as it is a project that can be built in stages, can be as simple or complex as we want to make it and can be used to teach a wide variety of electrical and mechanical skills. I have been doing a bunch of reading on the subject and think it is definitely something we can do. I am in the process of coming up with some basic designs upon which we can expand. One of my chief concerns right now is whether to try to design something that is close to neutrally buoyant, or something that has actively controlled dive tanks. Believe it or not, I am looking at the design of civil war era submarines for inspiration. The raising and subsequent study of The Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, has revealed a surprising degree of refinement and forethought in the design, yet all the major components of the sub were implemented in very straightforward, simple ways. What I want to make sure we do with this project is implement everything in straighforward ways and not add complexity where none is needed. If all goes well, we should be exploring the bottom of Lake Washington a few months after we come back from Atlanta.

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I need a dog

Posted by Deliverator on 30th March 2005

I really need a dog or something to force me to leave the house from time to time. I am feeling a lot better (although definitely not 100%). I had a few errands that really needed running, so I hoped in the car only to realize that the battery was close to dead. Between the alarm system and the 1/4 watt draw from carputer (that is the draw in suspend to ram mode) it doesn’t take much to kill the POS battery in my car. I have treated the battery poorly, draining it totally on 6-7 occasions, so I really only have myself to blame. I really should replace it with a good deep-cycle battery. I know a lot of stereo and car-puting nuts swear by Optima YellowTop batteries. Anyways, the whole point of this story is that I got a jump and managed to get out of the house for the first time in over a week.

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Day 3

Posted by Deliverator on 26th March 2005

I am now on my third day of antibiotics. My fever broke after the first day and has hovered at around 100 degrees ever since. I am no longer delirious (although who am I to judge). That first night, when I was at ~104, my sense of time was pretty messed up. I am weak as a kitten atm, but feel that my overall condition is much improved. I can definitely take fuller breaths. If my fever isn’t totally gone by tomorrow, I think I will go into the clinic and demand a real thorough workup.

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Yay for Azithromycin!

Posted by Deliverator on 25th March 2005

I have had a nagging cough for over a month now. With allergy season hitting full force, my cough got much worse and my breathing became labored during the morning and late night. I finally decided it was time to see a doctor. After a rather cursory examination, the doctor concluded that my cough was due to post nasal drip. He prescribed some Allegra and sent me home. Well, that night I developed a 104 degree temperature and started vommiting what I can only conclude was black blood. I am pretty sure that my post nasal drip was actually a reoccurance of a chronic sinus infection. My mother called the doctor for me (as I was in no condition to do or say much of anything) and got me a prescription for Azithromycin. I have to say that it is wonderful stuff. After only one dose, my fever broke and is down to 101. I no longer feel delirious. Hopefully I will be back to my usual abnormal self soon, but don’t expect much from me for the next few days.

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A good weekend…

Posted by Deliverator on 22nd March 2005

Rocks my socks –

  • Drove to Ashland, Oregon with my father. We went and saw the Spruce Goose at its new home, the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville on the way down. It was quite impressed by it and some of the museums other exhibits.
  • Had several meals at my favorite restaurant in Ashland, The Black Sheep. They have a wide selection of authentic British fare. Their fish and chips are great and their bread pudding is the best I have ever had.
  • Bought a bunch of books at some of Ashland’s used book stores. Some noteables include American Pastoral by Philip Roth and Smoke and Mirrors and the The Wake both by Neil Gaiman.
  • Saw three plays. We managed to get rush/fire sale prices on most of the tickets, so it wasn’t too expensive.
  • Went to Crater Lake

Not Soo Much –

  • Crater Lake was under near white-out conditions, despite having only 1/4 as much snow as they average on the ground at this time of year. As a result, we didn’t see much.
  • Scott was supposed to fly into the nearby town of Medford early Saturday morning (1:30 am). The airline he was flying, America West, was sooo incompetent that they forgot to reserve a plane for the flight. He ended up getting in around 4 am as a result.

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Rome: Total Addiction

Posted by Deliverator on 17th March 2005

So, I have been hearing that Rome: Total War is a pretty sweet game for a while now. I was down at Fry’s the other day checking out wireless security cameras for possible mounting on Tyr, our robot, while down at the National competition in Atlanta. I found a pretty nice system that should fit our needs for $99, a price that shouldn’t break our already miniscule bank. Anyways, Fry’s had Rome: Total War for $35, the cheapest price I have seen in a brick and mortar store, so I picked up a copy. I played it for 3-5 hours yesterday. Quite simply, it rocks! It does a pretty good job of blending turn based strategy with realtime execution of battles. You can choose to play the game strictly as a turn based strategy game (in some ways, strikingly similar to Civilization, but with very modern 3d graphics), or fight each battle for absolute control of your troops (which can often result in fewer losses than just having the computer resolve battles). I can tell that there is a lot of subtlety to both aspects of the game that I am not yet grasping or utilizing properly yet. I know already that this is one that I am going to be playing for a long time.

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TRC Repeat! I repeat, TRC Repeat!

Posted by Deliverator on 13th March 2005

It is with great pleasure and admiration for the efforts of everyone involved that I announce here that the Titan Robotics Club has won the First Pacific Northwest Regional for the second year in a row! Our robot, Tyr, went undefeated in all 10 qualifying matches and 7 playoff matches! Thanks go out to our alliance partners, Team 604 and 1595, for their incredible performance on the field and enthusiasm from the stands. Our alliance scored a tournament high 92 points, coming just 6 points away from the current national record! Team 1595, particularly impressed me, as they are a rookie club. We look forward to seeing both of their teams at the national competition in Atlanta.

Expect to see many pictures and videos of our matches posted in the coming days and weeks.

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Final Cut Killed My Inner Child

Posted by Deliverator on 9th March 2005

I have been working on a team video editing project called “Smithee’s Lecture” for the last few weeks. It is a 24 minute short film that utilizes green screen and various compositing special effects. It has been a lot of fun as a project, but the last few days have been very frustrating and stressful (particularly in light of my other commitments). The only way to efficiently divy up this project was to assign people specific responsibilies/video segments. James, Amber and I all had our segments of the project finished last Saturday/Sunday, but the fourth member of our team (who reassured us that he was nearly done with his piece and was just polishing stuff up) suddenly stopped responding to emails. Tuesday morning, the date the project is due, the fourth team member (who I will no longer address by name) nonchalantly walks into class and tells us he has it mostly done and just needs some help ironing some stuff out. We take a look at his piece and it is a total *rough* cut. James had to work, so Amber and I have been working our asses off to get this thing done. Luckily, our teacher gives a 2 day grace period on large assignments. We were able to get a final master copy made by 9pm last night. Amber did a bunch of work on it during the day, making a spiffy trailer for our DVD. I have been working since 5:30 this evening on the DVD. iDVD 3 is pretty inadequate for the advanced stuff we wanted to do for the DVD, but we managed to hack it into doing more or less what we wanted. After several hours of transcoding, iDVD finally spit out the finished DVD at 11:05 pm. I still have to whip up a case label and an adhesive disk label to give it a professional spit and polish, so I am going to be at it for another few hours at least. Thankfully, I can do that stuff at home, so I can get out of this lab. For our final project, we are going to do a piece called “Final Cut Killed My Inner Child” :)

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Opus, solved, just in the nick of time!

Posted by Deliverator on 9th March 2005

Got my Opus DC-DC power supply back from repair yesterday. They definitely repaired, rather than replaced it. I put two tiny black dots on the PCB before sending it in for repair to double check their honesty (In case they sent me back the same unit, told me that it was a new one and then blamed any problems on me). So far, it is working perfectly. I am going to write them and find if my suspicions, as to the cause of the problem, were correct. The power supply will undergo some serious stress testing over the next few days, as I am hauling a number of students down to Portland for the Pacific Northwest Regional First Robotics Contest. Everyone please wish us luck in the competition!

Posted in CarPuter, General, Tech Stuff, Titan Robotics Club | No Comments »