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1  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Can I determine which of my two XBee modules is bad? on: February 14, 2013, 01:46:20 pm
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wireless programming thing

Yea - nothing like being clueless AND doing some off-the-wall task that few have done.

I'm pretty sure it's one of the XBees. I reset both of them to factory defaults as you suggested and I could light up the RSSI on the receiver with the PC side transmitter when I did a X-CTU loop back test. That suggested to me the receiver was getting the ping. But when I swapped them and I could not get the receiver RSSI light. I still don't know if it's a receive or transmit problem and maybe there is no way to tell.

Anyhow, I ordered two additional XBees this morning from Adafruit. I live in NY State so hope to get them tomorrow. Right.

You mentioned abuse and it's possible I did damage one of them. I have my project bot inside a 13" hamster ball (more like a ferret ball) and it does crash into things. It's possible I broke it before I even got it powered up. I'm thinking of shock mounting the new one. Because it's relatively inaccessible I want to be able to program it and watch sensor data as it runs. Probably not entirely necessary, but certainly more fun.

2  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Can I determine which of my two XBee modules is bad? on: February 14, 2013, 07:41:27 am
I'm not easily offended :-)

But I was concerned that perhaps you felt there was something amiss with the writeup. I'll admit that using XBees for wireless programming is an unconventional way to use them, which can easily add to my difficulty in detecting problems, especially for a "newbe" like me.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my query, you have been helpful.
3  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Is is possible to detect objects, like walls, thru clear plastic? on: February 14, 2013, 07:32:19 am
That was always in the back of my mind as an ultimate solution but I would rather concentrate on a simple bot. That was why, in my opening question, I added:

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(without some complex analysis of a video/still image which I don't want to do)

I've bookmarked that link for perhaps a future project.

Thanks
4  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Can I determine which of my two XBee modules is bad? on: February 13, 2013, 08:34:38 pm
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Getting carried away is usually a recipe for trouble

I'm not sure what you mean if this is directed at me. I don't think I turned any knobs that I shouldn't have turned; I was very careful when I set this up. Do you think Limor's instructions are incorrect?
5  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Can I determine which of my two XBee modules is bad? on: February 13, 2013, 07:49:13 pm
Yes they are brand new so I was surprised. Good idea about resetting them back to factory defaults. I didn't try them "out of the box" first, which I should have done before fiddling around re-configuring them.
6  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Can I determine which of my two XBee modules is bad? on: February 13, 2013, 07:24:46 pm
Caveat - This is my first experience with setting up XBee communications.

I have two Series 1 XBees and one is not showing an RSSI indicator, but both show "ASC". If I swap the modules the symptom (no RSSI) moves so I'm sure it's one of the XBees and not a carrier. One of the XBees is on an Adafruit XBee Adapter kit that I built, the other is on a SeeedStudio USartBee board.

Is there a way to determine if one is not sending, or the other is not receiving without buying another XBee, although that's probably my only solution.

I followed the setup using X-CTU closely so I don't *think* I did something wrong. Is there a firmware setting that would cause two devices with the same PAN ID to not light up the RSSI when they are 6 inches apart and show good ASC?

I'm using Limor's wireless guide:

http://www.ladyada.net/make/xbee/arduino.html

but I am only powering the Adafruit adapter right now, it is not connected to my arduino except for 5v power.

Thanks
7  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Is is possible to detect objects, like walls, thru clear plastic? on: February 13, 2013, 06:55:21 pm
re: oric_dan

That's probably a lot more than I want to do right now but thanks for the link.

8  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Is is possible to detect objects, like walls, thru clear plastic? on: February 13, 2013, 03:27:03 pm
The bot has a single axle and that is firmly attached to the sides of the critter ball, so the assembly spins inside. I use the battery at one end to provide a "gravity" drive. So when the bot is at rest, the battery naturally goes to the bottom. The plan is that when I get everything running correctly, the assembly will remain somewhat stable, so I should have an opportunity to look forward. My accelerometer tells me if it's upside down etc. so I could use it for a 360 view as well when it needs to escape a corner.

Interesting idea about the light at an angle. I was thinking at one point of using a small laser at an angle with a small light sensor(s) maybe mounted at the end of a tube or a set of three tubes and light sensor looking for the reflected dot. I would have to remove the ambient light if the room becomes too bright. However I wasn't sure I wanted to spray the room with a laser dot, although the cats would go nuts with that one. My "board" (now a piece of 5x8 inch plexi) is a bit narrow but I might be able to move them apart somewhat. Eventually I want to miniaturize the prototype so my final solution may have some space constraints in the future.

I'm making a feeble attempt to blog about it (and a worse attempt as a videographer) but I recently posted a video if anyone wants to see more about the vision challenge:

http://wizmoz.blogspot.com/

Thanks -
9  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Is is possible to detect objects, like walls, thru clear plastic? on: February 13, 2013, 11:55:23 am
Thanks all. Good ideas, wish I had a TV. Actually no I don't. LOL

I have an old Sony Mavica camera around here somewhere that I tested years ago with a remote but my Canon 20D is filtered. I also have a PIR that I might check out as well for transparency. I had looked at Adafruit's IR sensor but thought there might be too much back scatter because the critter ball has a lot of slots that could cause problems especially as they spin by the sensor. But if I get a range of readings I can always use the farthermost.

Anyhow, the IR ranger seems like a good inexpensive option to explore. Thanks.

Currently I use an accelerometer for both motion control and collision detection, which works good, but it does of course mean physical contact. I had to slow it down a bit because I was crashing pretty hard into the furniture. It's 13" in diameter so F=MA was causing some concern with my wife, but bless her heart, she still humors me in my old age.
10  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Is is possible to detect objects, like walls, thru clear plastic? on: February 12, 2013, 08:08:48 pm
My little project bot lives inside a clear plastic ball (critter crawl) that rolls around the floor banging into things. I never thought it would be able to "see" through the plastic to avoid objects (without some complex analysis of a video/still image which I don't want to do) but I thought I would throw it out to the group. I know something like sonar wouldn't work, I might be able to detect IR through the plastic but that would be people/pet objects, perhaps I'm not thinking of something.

Any ideas how I could detect objects like walls while looking through clear plastic that is not smooth?

Thanks -
11  Development / Suggestions for the Arduino Project / Re: Does Arduino need a real-time scheduler? on: January 15, 2013, 12:59:29 pm
fat16lib,

I've gotten some good feedback in the form of "thanks for writing this up", but no specific additional questions on the QF hack. I've been pleased with the traffic to the specific blog post on state machines, it seems to be gaining momentum over the last month, perhaps in light of recent talk about schedulers like this.

Thanks for this post, I believe it builds awareness of some of the tools that are available for solving various control problems.



12  Development / Suggestions for the Arduino Project / Re: Does Arduino need a real-time scheduler? on: January 15, 2013, 10:07:39 am
I'm probably not a typical Arduino enthusiast, but I almost immediately looked for a scheduler for my first project. Maybe out of preference because I know I could do my project with a super loop, and even an RTOS, but all I really needed was a scheduler with inter-process communications. I say "need" because that is my preference for this particular project.

In my retirement I'm building a smart toy for my granddaughter that will have up to 8 I/O's that need to be handled asynchronously in "real time". I could not find a simple scheduler (and I did ask on the forum as well) so I adapted the Quantum Leaps code and built what I call an asynchronous (non pre-emptive) device framework on top of it. It is more than adequate for my project needs, and is scalable for future projects. I admit that I had fun building the framework, but I would have easily used something already available.

Because I feel strongly that a scheduler is a good tool for solving specific problems, and I was unable to find one, I wrote about how I adapted QF to make it easier for others to do the same:

http://wizmoz.blogspot.com/2012/12/quantum-leaps-arduino-state-machine.html

There are a wide range of user skills and project complexities in this forum. The hobbyist that needs to blink some LED's isn't going to need a full blown scheduler or an RTOS, and someone writing code for particle collisions probably doesn't want one; but there are some of us here in the middle that would benefit from such a scheduler, whether a kid toy project or something more demanding. Absolutely, yes.
13  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Requesting a schematic review - will this work? on: January 01, 2013, 02:09:14 pm

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but my comment was for schematic drawings in general

What application do you use for drawing circuits?

Thanks
14  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Requesting a schematic review - will this work? on: January 01, 2013, 02:04:54 pm

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Look at how the diodes are placed in this link:

I'm using the TI DRV8833 and wiring to their data sheet. The diodes appear to built in if I read their spec correctly.



or do I need to add more?

Thanks
15  Using Arduino / General Electronics / Re: Requesting a schematic review - will this work? on: January 01, 2013, 01:34:18 pm
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rather than running the ground wires all over the place, it makes the schematics a lot easier to read.
I agree completely, maybe there is a way to do this in Fritzing but I've not discovered a way to insert symbols in place of common points like ground. Fritzing derives the circuit from the breadboard view. Maybe I should look into a different (free) circuit layout application for readability.

Sorry for all the confusion.
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