Archive for July, 2013

Would you believe …

Posted in Agent, Android, Linux on July 21, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

would you believe

I spent a little time tonight looking at how to port the agent oriented framework SPADE2 onto my ACER Iconia 500 as a prelude to dropping it onto a spare Android phone.

You’ll recall the jottings on Agent Oriented as an approach on one of the pages attached to this blog.

After a little fiddling I got the Iconia running an agent while talking to the SPADE server on my desktop machine.

I am fairly chuffed about getting this going as I was prompted to pair it up with ideas from the CellBot python libraries to have a Android phone/Arduino pairing.  However, I have a Romeo all in One on my Dog Chaser, and should be able to get the phone to talk to the 10DOF controller through the MAV link messages which have a companion Python library.



Posted in Hardware on July 21, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

Almost blew up my Parallax prototyping board.

First up, the board needs a “prop plug”.

Prop Plug

To convert the USB to a serial connection. The Plug signals are clearly marked but the prototype board has no pin descriptions.  There appears no obvious information in any of the manuals.

I came to me searching the Internet for a photo of a prototype board with plug attached to give me “the hint” – labels up!  In hindsight, the prob plug manual helps a little bit if you took the USB socked down – based on the Prop Clip – as “the hint”.  Not sure why the detective work should be needed.  Likely someone too familiar with the boards was writing the manuals.

The Hint


Next was the power.  From the circuit for the Prob Plug it was obvious it didn’t power the board so a trip up to Dick Smith’s for a 6V power adapter.

Trick was the glyph on the board was not the standard glyph for showing center tap on power connectors and I got it around the wrong way – as the symbol for -ve was also the symbol for “center tap”.

A little heat and smoke as one of the regulators tried to de-solder itself.

I caught it in time, swapped the socket and was able to finally download software first into RAM and then into EEPROM.

In hindsight the mechanical drawings in the board’s manual made the center polarity clearer but …

power pack

… is the familiar glyph.

Pay is in …

Posted in Hardware on July 17, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

… and now the Rock Crawler has grunt!


Or at least it will once mails in.


Mails in.

Why bother with shops and clueless staff?

Posted in Hardware on July 14, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

Adelaide is fairly poorly supported in the RC world.  It has stores but what is the point nowadays and especially when your staff are clueless.

First up, I thought I would do the right thing and got to a local store and not buy my Universal Battery Elimination Circuit (UBEC) off the internet. I thought also I would buy my motor and ESC for the rock crawler from a local store too.

Now, myself, I don’t understand why UBEC are called what they are as I usually have always called, switch(ing) mode DC-DC converters switch(ing) mode DC-DC converters.

You could even get by thinking of them as regulators if you were so inclined.

All fell flat when I went to the hobby store.

It became apparent that the tool behind the counter was either lying to me or was clueless.

In his estimation, there was no such thing as UBEC!   Never used a “battery regulator” in his experience.  So, I opted to jump on to Hobby King and get 3 each 5/6 volt output and 3.3 volt output UBEC (switch mode DC-DC converters).

I needed this for the flight controller boards as they would not be powered from the USB in flight.


I buzzed out each of the three flight controllers and they all happily blinked their startup sequences powered via the UBEC which confirmed my fine soldering work.

Now the biggest let down going to the RC hobby store was they were next to useless in sorting out motor and ESC for my rock crawler which, go figure, I bought from them 12 months or so ago when I caught them on special.

The rock crawler manual suggests a 50T, 55T or 60 T brushed motor – for the torque.

The hobby store dweeb was trying to tell me you can’t get 60T brushed motors and I should by one of their 10T brushless motors and change the gearing of my rock crawler – an altogether stupid suggestion.

Now it turns out I can and likely will simply order directly from as they happily sell 60T brushed motors paired with ESC.  I say paired as ESC come with motor turn maximum limits by design.  Which is why I won’t be buying from a Perth based RC shop either as, while they have 60T brushed motors they don’t have matching ESC at all in their catalogue.

So, while I try hard to buy Australian or at least through Australian specialist stores – where I expect to be able to talk to less than stupid people on the topics I am interested – I simply have to buy from the Internet.

More to the point

Posted in Hardware on July 10, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

Apart from a couple of unconnected pins on the PhuBar3, the requisite caps and grounded pins seem to be already sorted – but there will be some fine soldering.

PhuBar3 SchematicITG-3200-wiring

MPU-9150 Breakout SchematicMPU-9150-wiring

What a coincidence

Posted in Hardware, Propeller, Sensing on July 7, 2013 by asteriondaedalus

So, a while back I ordered 10 PhuBar3 boards because I had a suspicion.

At the time the InvenSense 3 axis chip used in the design was looking to be pin compatible (more or less) with the 6 axis chip coming up.

Turns out, the 9 axis chip also seems to have (more or less) the same pin-out.


MPU 9150

Now along with the new Propeller C, it seems like time to put a few things together to see if something a little more sophisticated can be stuffed into the small form factor.

Tiny PhuBar

Stage 1

Set up a Propeller prototype of the PhuBar on the one of the prototype boards I have in the toolbox.

Propeller Prototype

Realistically, the initial work should use the ITG-3200 to buzz out the prototyping configuration B4 changing to the MPU-9150.

ITG 3200 Breakout

Stage 2

This will include getting a MPU 9150 breakout and getting the 3 axis based code running with the new chip.

MPU 9150 breakout


Stage 3

Take some of the example DCM code around (for Propeller and for Arduino) and get an IMU running.


Stage n

Et cetera