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31  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: problems with odd characters on LCD on: July 28, 2010, 08:10:46 pm
This is my print script.
void reportMe(){
lcd.print( "But=" );
lcd.print( currentVal );    
lcd.print( "An1=" );
lcd.print( sense1Val );  
lcd.print( "An2=" );
lcd.print( sense2Val );
lcd.print( "T= " );
lcd.print( curPut );

All the values are from variable pots so max characters would be 4. So, the top row would be 16 chars and the bottom row would be a max of 12 chars. (curPut is a single digit). Unless something is extremely wrong, all the variables will be 3 digit numbers, not 4. What it odd about this is that if I add the space, it will also botch the strings that show up on the screen during the setup.

At the end of the set up...
lcd.print( "   BLACK BOX   " );
lcd.setCursor (0,1);
lcd.print( "  TEST SYSTEM  " );

digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);

32  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / problems with odd characters on LCD on: July 26, 2010, 10:32:12 pm
I am chasing this down again. I had this problem before and I thought it was solved, but it is not.
I am having a problem with my LCD characters. If I make the change of 1 character (adding a space at the end of a string) the entire display goes to gibberish. If I remove the space, it is perfectly clear. I am currently working on a 2 line 16 character display.

Now, the things that are slightly out of place in set up is that I am using an analog as a digital for D7
LiquidCrystal lcd( 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14 ); //LiquidCrystal(rs, enable, d4, d5, d6, d7)

I am using PWM for the backlight on 6, but I do not think that the PWM would goof up any LCD Timing.

I can post the whole code if it would help, but I wanted to see if others were having similar problems. I tried several searches, but I am not seeing the same slop that I am getting.
33  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Re: 6 ch PWM acting goofy on: December 29, 2009, 08:18:55 am
Never mind. I am not sure why, but I was working on it last night and it was working fine. I have no idea why it was not working one night then working the next. But for now. never mind. Thanks.
34  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / 6 ch PWM acting goofy - Fixed but not solved. on: December 28, 2009, 06:40:18 pm
Hey all,
I am working on a pine wood derby car and am adding a gagillion leds to it. (this is the adult league, not my sons, so relax)
Many of the leds are fine to just be straight on and straight off, but the mid section where the uHC (micro Hadron Colider) is housed sits an array of 12 leds on each side. These will be connected as 4 sets of 6 LEDs each (1 pwm channel per LED, per set). Each tied to the 6 PWM lines. Now in my proto set up, (just a set of 12 leds), I am am getting great results with all sorts of patterns and such. Whats really cool (and fun) is that this is all being controlled remotely via an xBee controller I made so that when the race starts I can have it go crazy vs. sort of a calm throb when it is just sitting there.

The problem... when I am fading out the PWM it does not seem as smooth as the fade in.  The fade in is nice and smooth. But fading out it fades for a bit, but then just drops out. Whats worse is that they do not drop out all at the same time. Some last a wee bit longer than the others then die too. The place that it drops out, I would call about 75% brightness on the fade in side. So it is not even like it is just really low. When I am doing some fast ripple patterns, one could not tell, but when I am doing a full set up then down it is really abrupt. So is there a fluke with the some of the pwm channels perhaps not being as strong as others? Any ideas as to why this might be happening?
35  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Troubleshooting / Hi and Wha? on: July 11, 2008, 11:08:50 pm
So... Hi. I have been lurking for a while, got my Arduino, built some stuff and now am headed towards my first true application. For the first bit, I am building a mic trigger (electret -> lm386 (1-8 bridged with 10uf cap for the 200x amplification)). I built the amp -w- cap inline on the output so I only get the half wave, and have a very nice (although rather clipped) waveform when sound is actually present (scoped). Where my issue starts is when I am not working off just the Arduino power supply and attach the USB. All the sudden I get a butt load of noise. I thought it was random at first, but if I dial up the time on the scope I can see something oscillating which was NOT there without the USB plugged in. If I jumper off of the PS and just go with straight USB power, it is still there. Oddly enough, when I am loading a sketch, it chills out for the 8 or 10 seconds while it is being uploaded.

Part 2 of said oddness, is that when I do a serial monitor of the values coming from the mic (analog pin) it is a constant stream of numbers that is like
and on and on. Never mind that the scope is jumping with a waveform that would be about equivalent to 1 volt which should send those numbers in one direction or another quite significantly. But no change. I am feeding the Arduino pin (19) off of the same line that I am monitoring on with the scope. Other symptoms are like when the sketch comes up, no matter what I set as a threshold level it always triggers the LED pin (13 for now), not because there is noise, but just because it feels like it. When I engage the serial monitor, it triggers again. The numbers start around 500 and slowly settle down like a cap being drained. Then I can clap my hands and yell and scream and hoot and holler, but to no avail. No trigger. In fact no change inn number stream at all. hmmmm?

So, I thought I would change the threshold to something closer to the displayed value. When I did this, the displayed numbers moved in value. Quite spooky frankly. So to make a long story short. Found out about Arduino. Bought the board. built some stuff to make sure it seemed to work properly (which it did... basic blinks, push button blinks....), But can not get this dag'um mic to work properly. Now a week later (about a half hour a night of messing with it after the kids are in bed and whatnot) I am stumped as to how to make this actually respod to what I have built. This seems to be more an Arduino issue than circuit issue.

I got excited once when trying a different pin to monitor on. I accidentally renumbered the LED Pin to 16 instead of the mic. Right on!!! something completely different...then realized that I just pulled the "analog" in high so I reprogrammed the LED (16) pin back to low, then back to 13, and then assigned the mic pin to it's proper place.  

Any thoughts?

BTW, if I wrote this sketch (with a lot of stuff commented out due to the basic bits not working) should it really be sitting at around 2800k already? Seems like it is going to be budget programming to get something substantial built. True?

How much does the serial read (to computer) cost as far as time?
36  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Development / Re: New board design... 328 Ground pin question on: September 02, 2010, 11:05:35 am
Cool. Thanks Grumpy Mike.
37  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Development / New board design... 328 Ground pin question on: September 02, 2010, 10:21:49 am
Does anyone know if the 2 ground pins on the 328 are internally connected?  I found info in the data sheet that says that I should have voltage to both VCC and AVVC, but I do not see anything about ground. I am running into a space issue and if one ground connection is sufficiant, then the issue is solved. If I need both to be connected, then I have a little more flippin' and floppin' to do. Thanks
38  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Development / Re: Eagle and SCRs on: September 12, 2009, 10:04:14 pm
As mentioned above, I had already found the triac set and yea also found the thyristor. But was making sure it was cool to use the thyristor in place of the SCR in Eagle.
39  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Development / Eagle and SCRs on: September 12, 2009, 02:16:53 pm
Hey all,
I am working on a new pcb (non arduino) that needs an SCR. I can not find one in the default libraries and when I search for anything scr related I get returns for the .scr file (eagle settings -n- such). I can not find anything to lead me to a true scr. Now, that said, I do see in the triac library that there is a thyristor which is the same idea fundamental yes? It is the same symbol. If I use the same sized part, ultimately eagle doesn't care what I use as long as I document it well, correct? I just want to make sure before I go too far.

40  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bugs & Suggestions / Re: Board without headers soldered in place? on: October 23, 2010, 12:29:52 am
Jeff K - Dang, I just checked out the Mega Mini. I had not seen that yet. That is so cool!

That may very well be the answer. It is going to e one very crowded board once it is all said and done.  smiley
41  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bugs & Suggestions / Re: Board without headers soldered in place? on: October 23, 2010, 12:24:29 am
I have rolled a few of my own and the TQFP while a little scary, does not totally frighten me (although I might need therapy afterwards).

Side stepping for a second, but , I have done some rather small stuff. My son and I will go garage sale-ing to find cheap electronics to take apart. For practice on something I could care less about, I will take a heat gun to it and let the surface mount stuff fall off. Then I will try to solder the stuff back on (no not all of it). While I can not fully test for accidentally jumpered pins, I have managed to solder some fine pitched chips. Nothing like ball solder joints or anything. Some of the more recent inkjet printers have wonderful "practice" boards. Not to mention you can get some really h-bridge chips as well as some nice surface mount stuff. But it did really help for when it came time to actually solder some surface mount stuff that was important. I was not dealing with the newb jitters as I had already found some of the gotchas that will getcha. The Sparkfun SMT soldering tutorials also helped quite a lot.

I was just trying to see if I could get a mega right out of the box without headers already soldered on. I know that there are shields, but I want a more permanent solution. The Sanguino is an option though. Good call.
42  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Bugs & Suggestions / Board without headers soldered in place? on: October 20, 2010, 10:41:45 pm
I am about to start a home security system. My target board will be one of the new Megas. I would love to get a hold of a board with no female headers as I would like the lines hardwired in place. Is there such an animal? I can unsolder one I suppose, but with that many pins... yikes.
43  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Interfacing / Re: XBee - Chip or wire? on: May 10, 2009, 10:48:26 pm
Ok, I have been on the website and other places and can not find any difference in the product specs. Actually, in many ways they pretty much mush the pro in there too.  Fortunately, pro is separated. Thanks that helps.

So any idea how much less range? I am assuming that if it is in an aluminum box I would loose even more range. Yes?  

I have seen some models which use separate antennas,  Does the little whip version detach? Could it be remounted on a case? Or would you need the fancier version for this?
44  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Interfacing / XBee - Chip or wire? on: May 06, 2009, 11:01:35 pm
I am about to grab a couple of the $19-$20 Xbee modules. I can not find any difference between the little whip antenna, or the chip. Is there a reason one would choose one over the other? I am not going with the pro level as I do not need uber distance.  I will only be transmitting about 80-100 ft. And if I need more later, they are not that expensive.
45  Forum 2005-2010 (read only) / Interfacing / Re: Video Stabilized Gimbal Project on: March 06, 2009, 05:27:56 pm
You would need a feed (low bandwidth) to see what you are aiming your camera at, but  it surely would only be reference video, not archival quality. If you are shooting HD this becomes even less of an option because of the increase in bandwidth. I thik Tapeless capture (P2, acdhd, mpeg2) would be the way to go, then ingest the video upon the return of your aircraft.

But back to the stabilization, there is actually a lot to consider here.
1. Are you just wanting to stabilize the motion, or will you also steering the pan/tilt mechanism?
2. Is this for a heli or plane?
3. Think about adding ability for roll too.
4. You need to look into RC hobby areas for gyro stabilization. Many heli mounts (life sized) use x,y,and z gyros. There are gyro systems for RC devices too. But you also then need to think about if they will be rate locked or heading locked + How will you compensate for the difference of planned change in motion (pilot input) verses unplanned (wind, thermals, birds, small artillery).

If you want to do all this, as previously mentioned, it is going to add a lot of weight. How big is your aircraft?
What size is your camera.
Is the aircraft gas or electric? I ask this because now you are lugging a bunch of weight, so your flight time just dropped significantly. If you are electric, extra batteries add extra weight too. All of it is doable, but the cost will also start to add up real quick too. how high are you wanting this to go? if you go uber high, then you will need more glass, which also is more weight.
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