Archive for October, 2016

Did DFRobot send me a dud?

Posted in Rant on October 29, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

You might remember I did have a previously run-in with DFRobot when I won a prize in one of their competitions but never got the prize.

This time I forked out AUS$50 for a CurieNano.

I just setup to tryout the CurieNano board to find, while the IDE recognises it and connects by COM port, it won’t upload software??

That is, new IDE, new board, naught. It just flashes at the 1/second rate that comes out of the box.

Posted to various user groups … we’ll see how that goes.

What stings, of course, is not just AUS$50 but I did purchase the pro library from General-Vision (to get access to all 128 neurons apparently).  So now I have burnt most of AUS$100.

Hopefully I can sort this through.

POST SCRIPT, DFRobot admitted they have seen this problem before.  I have also tried installing arduino IDE on a window laptop to do the “is it my computer”?  The device is most definitely a dud.


Posted in Robocatus Maximus on October 16, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

Yesterday the wife decided to do some serious gardening.  So some hard yacka ripping out Yucca, rearranging them somewhat, to then put citrus, mango, fig and a couple of other fruit trees in.  Weather didn’t help.  It was sunny, so no excuses.

Today, poured raining again.

So, finally.


Motors all turning the right way.  All lock nuts tightening so motors in correct positions.

Gunned motors.  It didn’t rattle.

Some quirks.  With throttle in fixed position the motors did seem to run on a little.

None of it means much until the props go on and we’ll find the next niggly problems.

Note it is a tight fitting setup.  I almost guillotined cables with the folding section of frame.  It took some jiggling to get things to close up.

Of note, the CC3D need to be offset from centre line otherwise the top cage closes down on motor outputs.  You cannot, of course, rotate the controller – it has an arrow on the top that must face forward.  If being offset from centre causes a problem some work will be required.  The likely option is to take the controller out of its neat plastic case so it can sit lower on the chassis, which will then require it be protected from shorting with the carbon fibre chassis.

I will likely have to do something with the UBEC lead as it was the wire that got guillotined!  It wasn’t long enough to optimally route and I half expect a failure mode due to the frame rubbing the wire in the current location (note the ferrite core).  As the carbon fibre is conductive it likely needs a safer path – I did add heat shrink to protect it somewhat, and to overcome the slit now in the +ve lead.

Yet another bonus!

Posted in Raspberry Pirate on October 12, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

Mate at work, the one that handed me his Odroid C1 when he decided he would dump the small PC approach to media replay for a service provider, mentioned he was bringing in his Raspberry Pirate for me.

Now this is a bonus as I was using one of my ODROID W as a MQTT and node-red host.  I would much rather use the ODROID W for other things, so I will rebuild my thingime-box clone with a Raspberry Pirate.

I don’t recall what model he said it was but I recall a while back he was talking B+?  Don’t care in any event as it can sit humming out of sight.

I had actually used an erlang based MQTT broker, if that doesn’t offend – rather than Mosquitto.   I have also been looking at moving to RabbitMQ as it has a hook into XMPP that might allow talking between SPADE2 (python) agents and Erlang/Elixir AMQP clients.

To facilitate these transactions I note that there is an interesting hook into RabbitMQ is a (so-called) script-exchange.  This might be the hook into the problem of converting to/from FIPA ACL.  Obviously needs some work but will be  a fun way to sort out an understanding of XMPP.


Revisiting those pesky motors

Posted in Robocatus Maximus on October 11, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

So, wife has gone to bed, so I have a vodka and soda in hand, while swapping the wiring and then the motors on the front of the Robocat – so that they turn the right way.


With trusty marker I have added a little reminder.  Note this is a motor rewired and re-heat shrunk and before the physical motor swap so eagle eyed readers need not concern themselves.

By the by, aliexpress has the CC3D Revolution flight controller (with the more spacious ARM chip) that can be used as a drone autopilot.  The CC3D with the kit is the older version and is an RC quad (without autopilot, return home, et cetera).  Good enough to get a handle on building and flying in any event.

The real story.

Posted in Robocatus Maximus on October 6, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

Wiring up your EMAX Simonk 12A ESC with your outrunner.  The motors that come with the kit are the EMAX MT2204-2300KV (not the one in the photo below).  Leads 1, 2 and 3 from left (Figure 1).


Figure 1

Wiring up, if you are soldering directly to the Simonk 12A ESC, below in Figure 2.

This picture will hopefully overcome the confusion generated by some of the verbal descriptions on people’s “help” videos and their often fat fingers in the way when they are holding pieces for the camera (look to Figure 1 for the wire numbers that match the numbers in Figure 2).


Figure 2

Wire 2 always goes to the solder pad closest to the capacitor.  The wiring of the other wires (1 and 3) will depend on whether you want the motor to rotate CCW (silver cap) or CW (black cap).  Use the top row numbering for CCW spinning motors, and use the bottom row numbering for CW spinning motors.


Posted in Robocatus Maximus on October 6, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

The good news.  The switch surgery fixed the calibration block.  It made sense since it was the rudder switch and the rudder sweep on the pot that was blocking the calibration. The switch was likely in the wrong position.

Bad news.  We studiously followed the guidance on a website.  Conferred amongst ourselves, quadruple checked and got it wrong.  Will need to tear the quad down, cut off heat shrink, re-wire etc. as the motors turned the wrong way – you can work this out because when you throttle up after calibration (with props of course) your lock nuts fly off, straight up, bounce of ceiling, land in you beer.  If they don’t land in you beer, keep trying until they do land in your beer.

Although the beer might, I say might, actually be the root cause … just saying.


All part of the learning process.



Posted in Robocatus Maximus on October 5, 2016 by asteriondaedalus