The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Introducing Ariel…

Posted by Deliverator on May 29th, 2005

Today was the first productive day of coding for the ROV. A bunch of us met yesterday and played around with the 2004 edubot controller. It was easy to program in C, but we found that there was no easy way to hook it up to the operator interface via a cable, which would have made it considerably harder to get i/o from the surface via our tether system. The 2004 edubot controller was designed to pretty much connect to the operator interface via radio alone. Luckily, we had an older edubot controller from 2003 season which does allow you to connect to the operator interface via serial. The one major downside to the 2003 edubot controller is that it is powered by a Basic Stamp 2 sx, which you program in an 8 bit variant of pbasic. 8 bit integer math pretty much necessitates writing some ugly obfuscated code to get the controller to do what you want. Things that were simple using the C controller ended up taking us an hour to figure out using the Basic Stamp.

To provide an easy visual reference while programming, we built a quick “logical” mockup of the ROV’s systems by using duct tape to strap little motors and LEDS to a cardboard box. It is crude, but it should let us code for the ROV now and easily adapt our code to the real thing. We have nicknamed this contrapition “Ariel” (The Little Mermaid) and Ryan has suggested that we name the real ROV “Oceanus” after the Greek Titan of the same name. Ryan and Ian hung in there long enough to write a routine that allows one to control the side-mounted thrusters with a single joystick. I was in favor of a tank style control system, myself and may write my own variant of the control program (perhaps activated with a switch on the control board. After Ryan and Ian left, I did a more thorough examination of the code and implemented control of the up/down thruster through use of the Joystick’s throttle wheel. If I feel motivated tonight, I might also write some routines for turning on/off some of the other systems on the ROV.

The Little What?