All apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ll admit that it’s far more frustrating for me than for you (the 6 total visitors since I started this blog *grin*) – but things have been quite busy nonetheless.
So, here’s a quick run-down:
Time Lapse Automaton Project
It’s quickly nearing completion of the first stage of the prototype. By the end of this week it will be trucking and panning my 6lb SLR/lens combination according to program (just working out the last few bugs in the software and re-building the prototype camera cart), the following has been done thus far:
- Completed 12V-6V voltage regulator for servo motors (4 12V in/outs, and 2 6V outs)
- Acquired, hacked, and assembled panning servo (ServoCity)
- Completed almost all software functions (test mode will be removed due to program space limitation)
- Built, threw away, and re-designed camera cart, almost completely re-built
I’ll be posting up on each of these topics over the next week. After I get a chance to test all of the software functions with the hardware set up, I’m going to do away with the current track/cart setup, and build a new one.
The current track setup is too heavy for my tastes and the camera sits too high on the cart (resulting in a higher center of gravity and impacting stability should there be a cross-wind). So, I’ll be building a new track out of aluminum instead of mild steel. The cart is made out of cast acrylic, and I’ll keep using that material, but make a lower-riding, more rugged version of what I’ll post up later this week.
It’s been an excellent learning experience thus far. Coming from having very little electrical experience (soldering simple circuits according to diagram) and no experience with microcontrollers at all, to nearing completion on a highly complex project has given me the feeling that I could build anything that I desire. (Given enough time and budget, of course.)
Mid-July I’ll be spending three days on PINS, and then take a three-day backpacking trip out at Colorado Bend. I’ll share pictures and anything worth discussing when I return.
Early September comes the annual expedition to Big Bend, wherein my best friend and I spend a week exploring the back country. That’s right – a week with no showers, toilets, and pretty much no shade at all. This year we’re determined to do at least one overnight hike – we’re not sure yet if we’re going to do the loop through the Dodson Trail and back over the South Rim to Juniper Canyon, the Telephone Canyon Trail, or just run cross-country on the West side of the park.
The Jeep’s been taking a few hits out on the trails, but it keeps kicking. Two trips ago, it lost a fender and the hard top got cracked in a collision with a tree, last trip it spent a lot of time getting high-centered out in the Comp area of Spring Creek. I’ve had some poison spyder armor on order for a while, like most others though, it may be another year before they get around to fulfilling orders. That reminds me, I need to go cancel that order now…
Haven’t done a lot of kayaking due to the cracked hard top and an injured back for the first part of the year (first I couldn’t lift the kayak, and now the Jeep can’t either!). Back’s better, but the Jeep isn’t, so there won’t be too much kayaking until I can get a trailer built. Given the current project load, that may not come to be until early next year.
Given that trolling ten miles each way on city streets every day getting to the office and back has gotten up to about $50/week in fuel costs, I decided to invest in an inexpensive motor cycle. Turns out $300 buys a lot of bike, in this case, a 1981 Honda CX500-C in need of a little paint, some new tires, and some overall TLC. An hour with a wet rag, a dremel tool, some chrome polish, and $10 in new stainless bolts, and the bike already looks better than most of ’em selling for $1,000. I’ll post pictures of the process as I clean it up and get it ready for my commuting needs. Going to go with a rat-bike look, none of that flashy cruiser business — just the basics, please. Flat black all the way around.