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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #023: Wireless Robot Control with an xBee

When you want to take your robot wireless but want to take it a step past R/C, an xBee is a prime candidate. The system works over 2.4GHz, similar to WiFi but what it provides is a simple wireless serial bridge. Meaning you can send a packet to the module and it’ll appear at the outputs of all xBees on that network. You don’t have to worry about subnets and IP addresses or any other ne...

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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 #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 #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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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #012: PulsedLight LiDAR-Lite

PulsedLight’s LiDAR-Lite (TS-070-001) is a compact and high performance distance measurement sensor. The small size and light weight makes it an ideal positioning sensor in mobile robotic applications. The sensor also boasts an incredibly wide operating range. It can accurately measure from about 5cm all the way up to 40 meters! This makes the sensor great for both precision and distance mea...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thursday #011: Motion Detector Servo Control

Home automation is a hot topic these days. In this week’s Tech Thursday I will show you how to deploy a simple motion sensor and use it to set the position of a servo. For motion detection I will be using our Mini PIR motion detector module (TE-232-805) as our detector, and an Arduino Uno and a Pololu Maestro6 for our controls. The Pololu Maestro provides a simple and easy way to control mul...

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Tech Thursday

Tech Thurday #005: Arduino to Arduino Serial Communication

Serial communication is a major backbone in embedded electronics and it is exceptionally common to have two embedded devices to talk to one another. For example, you may have one Arduino reading joysticks and sensors and another wired into a robot to command motors, servos, relays, etc. Today’s Tech Thursday will walk you through basic Arduino to Arduino serial communication. Schematic Below...

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