Monday, January 3, 2011

Jumping to Experiment 34

I spent a bit of time rewiring the entire circuit for Experiment 32... taking one of my readers suggestions that the protoboard could have a bad insertion area, I moved all the wires to new locations. I then replaced the 555 chip with a new one and used my multimeter to confirm that the relay was getting higher voltage on the coil when a microswitch was pressed. Finally, as a last ditch effort after these efforts produced no change in results, I swapped out the 47uF capacitor with a 100uF... increasing the size should have increased the length of the pulse, but in this case, I get the same results - the motor reverses only when the microswitch is held down.

Argh.

Okay... so... enough of this. I may choose to come back to it at a later time (things like this really bug me) but for now it's time to move forward and get this book finished. Which leads me up to my next announcement - I've read over Experiment 33 numerous times... lost count, actually. But I've decided I'm done with robots for right now. I understand what Experiment 33 does and how it works, and, more importantly, I understand how all those 555 chips work together.

So... now it's time to get to Experiment 34. I've been looking forward to this for a while as my interest in programmable chips has been growing ever since I saw an Arduino in action controlling a remote control lawn mower (see Make issue #22). But I want to start slow... so I placed the order for all the required hardware for Experiment 34 (and 35) and it all arrived this afternoon (see the picture).

I've got 3 of the 08M PICAXE chips, the special USB cable required, and the small stereo socket. Also included in the box was a handful of resistors and misc required to properly wire up the stereo socket. I need to download and install the software specified and I'm ready to go.

Note: Inside the box, the company also sent a photocopied sheet that included a hand-drawing of the 08M wired up in a special manner, complete with resistors and voltage requirements. I'm including a close-up of that photo here, but it doesn't look complicated at all.

More to come...

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