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Topic: Need some help with Hardware choices (Read 583 times) previous topic - next topic

sharkaccident

Jun 08, 2010, 06:49 am Last Edit: Jun 08, 2010, 09:41 am by sharkaccident Reason: 1
I am looking for some guidance on my first ever Arduino project. What I am looking to do is wirelessly connect two modules at most 60 feet away from each other. One will have two buttons (or a analog joystick) which will send commands to tell another module to either increase or decrease the position of a servo. I am sure you pros on the forum are laughing at the simplicity.

So since I am new to this Arduino scene I have nothing for tools or equipment.  So I am looking for guidance on what hardware would best suit my needs. Size and simplicity are the two major concerns. Size because I will need to encase both modules in some sort of portable/hand held enclosure(s) and simplicity for the obvious reason this will be my first project.

I am contemplating these material choices:
-      Duemilanove starter kit LINK
-      Two (2) Arduino Fio boards LINK
-      One FTDI cable to connect to Fio boards (See question 1)
-      Two Xbee 1mW modules LINK
-      Xbee Explorer USB (See question 1) LINK
-      Tilt apparatus LINK
-      Standard size Servo  (See question 3)
-      Power Supplies (See question 4)

Questions:

    1)When connecting an Xbee module attached to an Arduino Fio  through a FTDI cable can you configure the Xbee or do you need to detach the Xbee, install into a Xbee Explorer, and configure separately apart from the Arduino board?
     2)IS Xbee the cheapest and easiest route? I pondered with RF communication? I am pondering if that will add another (more difficult) layer difficulty.
     3)What is a well known model for a standard size servo people use?
    4)Since both modules need to be portable what are some suggestions for power supplies? Remember one side of this equation needs to not only power the Arduino but a servo as well.
    5)On the moving side of the tilt piece I need to attach a laser pointer. I can either get a laser module and have the Arduino drive it and power it or I can just get a small laser pointer that is run off of internal batteries and attach it to the tilt and manually turn it on and off when I need to use it.

The overall thing I am trying to achieve is the ability to line up points on a straight line over a variety of lengths (hence the tilt servo setup).
I look forward to documenting the build on this forum. If you have any suggestions hardware or code I would appreciate it.

EDIT  08-JUN-2010: In an effort to further explain why I don't just buy a RC setup, I made a couple basic drawing(s) of what I hope to accomplish.

I need to measure to points across something with obstructions. Eventually I would like this thing to tell me what that distance is.


How I planned on doing it:


So I plan on attaching a tilt axis on something (in black) that spans farther out than the obstructions (in red). Shoots a laser (green) perpendicular to the object I am trying to measure (point A) then I rotate servo to another place (point B). I would then remove the thing I create (in black), put on level ground, and measure the distance from point B to my starting point A.




Groove

Quote
What I am looking to do is wirelessly connect two modules at most 60 feet away from each other. One will have two buttons (or a analog joystick) which will send commands to tell another module to either increase or decrease the position of a servo


That's what model R/C systems are for.
Per Arduino ad Astra

sharkaccident

Quote
That's what model R/C systems are for.


Agreed, but I need to hold that position accurately. Maybe I can retrofit a stepper motor in the servo spot on my tilt mechanism (see link in original post).

I have never used RC before but from what I have seen it looks like the servo would return to original spot (like no throttle being applied) when the stick on the transmitter is released... I could be wrong.

I updated my original post with some crude drawings of what I am after. If someone could chime in on a RC kit that would fit my needs I might go that route as I imagine that would be the cheapest and easiest route.

jluciani

1. Some configuration of the XBee can be done using the serial connection --
  source address, destination address, network ID. Others require
  the utility program.

2. XBee is not the cheapest but it is probably the easiest. If you are
  only planning to do a few nodes I would use the XBee.


I make an Arduino compatible board that combines an XBee with an 328/168.
See http://wiblocks.luciani.org/ZB1/index.html

(* jcl *)

------------------------------------
www: http://www.wiblocks.com
twitter: http://twitter.com/wiblocks
blog: http://luciani.org
www: http://www.wiblocks.com
twitter: http://twitter.com/wiblocks

sharkaccident

Quote
I make an Arduino compatible board that combines an XBee with an 328/168.
See http://wiblocks.luciani.org/ZB1/index.html


What is the difference/advantage over the Fio boards?

jluciani

Quote
What is the difference/advantage over the Fio boards?


I have not looked in detail at the funnel board so I don't know.

On my board I have a single I/O connector for all connections.
A single connection gives your additional system options.
With R/A headers you can have boards can be in the same plane.
With vertical connectors the boards can stack. You could connect
boards with a single ribbon cable or use a back plane.

The board can be powered from a wall adapter (5-15V) or
the USB port.

I also have some peripheral cards that mate with the single
I/O connector. I have an SMD/TH prototyping board
and an LCD interface. A midi interface, current-sink
and sensor interface are in the works.

(* jcl *)
www: http://www.wiblocks.com
twitter: http://twitter.com/wiblocks

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