After finding that my home-made radio controls didn’t quite work, I added some capacitors this morning and it’s made a huge difference. Previously, whenever the motors turned, the receiver lost connection to the transmitter and it developed a “mind of its own”. I thought it might have something to do with the motors draining too much power and I was right, the capacitors have fixed the problem, almost. The capacitors I’ve used are just some that I had lying around. One is for a 20v circuit, the other for a 50v circuit, whereas the battery I’m using is only 9v. For the moment, the motors do as they are asked and turn in the right direction, they just don’t have much power. Hopefully when the new capacitors arrive I’ll have a fully working system. Fingers crossed…
I arrived home from work today to find that a number of parcels had been delivered by the postman. Amongst the parcels were metal ball joints for the rocker bogie system (more on this in another post) and the final components I needed to make a radio transmitter/receiver.
Essentially, this is a radio control with a forwards and backwards button for the each side of the vehicle. Once built into the prototype it should allow for a greater range of testing.
Getting this working has been extremely satisfying and I’m trying to put my finger on why that is. I guess that as I child I’d always wanted a radio controlled car and now as an adult I’ve built Ada’s little brother Eric a radio controlled lorry by commandeering a remote from another toy. This was also the case for the current working prototype. I guess that being able to make one from scratch just opens up a whole new world of opportunities for letting out the big kid in me.
In other news, it’s been a very productive day all around. The engineering students have started building their own prototypes (more on this later too) and being in class with them gave me the opportunity to splurge out all of the ideas that have been running around my mind.
I also had a chance meeting with another lecturer who suggested using hydraulics to equalise the rockers. I think this likely has great potential and needs to be looked into further. One of the advantages that I would expect is less wear and tear on moving parts and ultimately a more reliable wheelchair. I’m not sure how I’ll make a prototype, syringes maybe(?), but seeing as the metal ball joints arrived in the post today I’ll explore those first…