Saturday, June 5, 2010

MARVIN Update.

The topic of this update is “Know When You Are Beaten.”

Don’t worry; construction on MARVIN is still moving along. But I have hit some snags and those snags are just taking up way too much time and causing too much complication, so I am “downsizing.” but only slightly.

You see, I had planned (and built) an air compressor and nearly the entire system to run one of the pranks. But there were a few elements that I could get to work just right. I was considering doing two things that would simply compromise my beliefs. I would be adding non-Lego parts, and I would have to modify standard Lego parts. That was just not setting right with me. The system was getting really complicated and space is getting really tight. Plus the robot is already too heavy. I considered what the final product was going to be and how much work I was putting into it and it just wasn’t worth it. In short, the robot was going to shoot a stream of water on command. I was going to use a small bottle (non-Lego) to store the water and to get a tight stream I would have needed to modify a tube. Too much work for a teaspoon of water.

Another problem has been RobotC. If you use RobotC, you know that it can be buggy and when an upgrade happens, often times some of the features that were previously working just fine can go bad. Well, that happened to me, so I have been fighting with that for a couple of weeks now. I think it is sorted out now.

And you know what else is a pain in the butt? It’s a pain when you have 20+ motors and 30+ sensors and all of their wires cross. It turns into a pile of black spaghetti. Mind you, I took the time to plan each and every wire, port, sensor, battery box, all of it. When I hooked it all up a couple of weeks ago, it made sense. Today I have to look at my plans and follow each wire to its source when I do anything. Color coding the wires would be great, but it’s a little too late for that now.

And I am also finding out that the caster wheels the I “thought” were going to be rugged enough aren’t at all strong enough. The can handle the weight for a decent amount of time, but as the robot sits, the axles will bend over time. So I have built a stand that keeps all the wheels off the ground while I am working on it. I hope that works.

Alright, it’s time for me to stop talking and start programming. I think (and hope) I am ready.  I hope to get some good pictures up soon, and even possibly some preliminary video too.

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