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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #022: Sending a Message, Chicken Coop – Part 2

Part 2 of our chicken coop home automation project is sending a message to your phone or to your email from an Arduino! What good is a home automation project if it does not notify you if something is wrong or if the status of something is changing, etc. This is a continuation of our Home Automation Chicken Coop – Part 1. This is Part 2 of a multi part posting of the chicken coop home automa...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #021: Arduino Stepper Motor Control

Today’s Tech Thursday will cover how to control a stepper motor using a stepper motor driver and an Arduino. Stepper motors have the useful property of moving through discrete, precise angular steps, allowing them to be positioned without any encoder feedback required. They also tend to be less expensive than servos, making them a good option for position control. Stepper Motor Wiring How to go ab...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #020: Motor Controller Selection and Sizing

A common question we get ask is “What motor controller should I use?”. There are two main criteria you need to look at: communication protocols and current capacity. The first isn’t a big issue with modern motor controllers since most have such a wide range of inputs spanning analog control, R/C, to serial. However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t matter how much cu...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #019: A Fun Tracked Robot with a Arduino

We had fun building this robot. He may look familiar… We started with MLT-JR custom length tracks and added a simple shell and head. The motors are driven with a Sabertooth 2×5 Motor Controller. All the parts (other than the drive train) were made with our 3D printers. Then we gave it a quick paint job. We embedded two IR sensors on the front and put a Arduino in the middle cavity to dr...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #018: How to couple motor shafts to components

Today’s Tech Thursday topic is an explanation of how we make our shafts, sprockets and gears couple to motor output shafts.  There are several different methods we use depending on the application.  Here’s how we have the most success. Light Duty Torque Applications –  Set screw to the flat side of the shaft. All of our standard motors have a D shaft.  Either 6mm, 8mm, or 12mm.  We drill out...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #017: How to Remotely Start/Stop Your Lawn Mower

Today’s Tech Thursday topic is using RC switches to hack your lawn mower for a remote start and stop. We’ve done this with our 4WD remote control lawn mower and our Remote Control snow blower. Here’s how we did it. We used the following components: Spektrum DX6 Controller with AR6210 Receiver Pololu RC Switch Relay Board (you can use a 5V relay) Servo pigtails The RC switch is needed to comm...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #016: IG32,42, and 52 Encoder Interfacing and CPR Calculation

One of the most basic positioning elements of autonomous robotics is the encoder. These are attached to rotating points such as arm joints and wheel axles in order to determine distance of movement. We sell an array of our IG32, IG42, and IG52 gear motors with a hall-effect encoder option. How do they work? The picture above is a simple diagram of the hall-effect encoder found on the back of our m...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #015: 4WD with Chain Coupling

Today for Tech Thursday we are discussing chain coupling for wheeled robots. Chain coupling allows for a better 4WD system even if you are already using a motor per wheel. This is because each wheel is powered by two motors. It won’t make a difference if you are driving on level terrain but if you start driving in rougher terrain where a wheel might come off of the ground it will help immensely. W...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #014: Home Automation Chicken Coop – Part 1

System Architecture Introduction: Yes I know, why automate a chicken coop? Well we just wanted to do a starter home automation project and one thing led to another and now I have the fanciest chicken coop around. Spoiled chickens lay good eggs… It also is because I am a little lazy and don’t want to get up every morning to let the chickens out and go out each night to close the coop. S...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #013: Keg-a-Droid Beer Dispensing Control System

Lately we have been hard at work developing a new robotic beer servant named Keg-a-Droid; you can check out our Kickstarter campaign. Keg-a-droid is a remote controlled, mobile robot equipped with a keg and tap system and this week’s Tech Thursday will demonstrate some components of the beer dispensing control system. More specifically, this is the test setup we used to calibrate our flowmeter out...

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