… or: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
First of all: It’s not the fault of arduino that this is likely to be my last project. It’s a personal, sad story I didn’t know with whom to share. If this isn’t interesting to you, don’t read on.
No native speaker, language glitches possible.
I started my arduino project completely from scratch, not having built anything worth mentioning in the physicall world since 17 years. I’m a webworker and internet junkie but been suffering from back problems the last two years, and they got worse everyday. So, I said to myself, no more sitting 12h/day in front of the screen, just do your work and then get offline.
I’m not like the guys sometimes seen on TV, highly addicted to the web that they show withdrawal syndromes when they can’t get online or play counterstrike. I just got bored. I’m a creative guy, but so far my creativity was limited to the digital world, I enjoy designing, digital painting, 3D, coding. So what to do now?
I read 3 complete novels in a week and tried to think about something like a hobby. Then I started to read about electronics, microcontrollers etc. and imediately got on fire.
As I found arduino, the project I wanted to build was already finished in my head: The outcome should be a biaxial, selfturning, self controlled and self-sufficient solarpanel, which would seek the sun all day charging batteries and sleep when it’s dark, like a cold-blooded animal.
I got most parts from my dad, including three complete metal construction kits, and started building a prototype, then an improved version which could handle the weight of the panel (1.2kg) while beeing statically balanced so that 2 small RC servos could easily move it and didnt get overstrained. Wind and bad weather where issues, too.
They arduino part went rather quickly, thanks to the well made IDE, servo controll etc. Just a couple of wires and a initial, very simple searching algorithm. I planed to write 5-10 different search algorithms which should be chosen randomly, to give it a more animal-like behaviour. When building the final circuit I got stuck at a few points, but got nice and competent help from this forum.
I finished solerding the circuit 3 days ago except some ground connections. The construction itself already survived outside about 6 weeks of german late winter without having a single screw loose or losing functionality. Batteries where charging well.
punch in the face, accurate
Yesterday I went to a meeting of our landlord, a home building company. Redevelopment of the whole block should start in April, just a roadshow as I believed. Not many renters attended. What happend then still seems like a bad dream to me.
A block of 8 or so elderly renters started discussing every little detail of the redevelopment plan, got upset about losing 10cm (!!!) on the north balkony cause of the new thermal insulation. (In return everybody should get the south balkony at 4 times the size it was before, but I guess that doesnt count, as they wanted the north balkony to be bigger). I could already see, what’s comming.
The north one, they claimed, would be more intimate and that why more used.
They company people explaint that it was very expensive to build a bigger balkony on the north side, due to constructional problems, they didnt understand. So the company offered after a long discussion (where some people of the elderly block turned to be experts, having worked in construction jobs for a 100 years and knowing all better) that the north balkony will become bigger, but for that the south balkony wouldn’t be rebuild. Meaning, there would be no more balkony to the south.
As every renter is kind of a little shareholder in this company, there had to be a voting.
(Dont get me wrong, we are no rich people, we are living on the edge to the poverty line. It’s just how this company works.)
Only two people beside myself voted for the south balkony.
30 minutes after the successful vote for the north balkony, the elderly started to think about, what they just voted for, started to see, that it wouldn’t turn the way they imagined. Due to the properties of the building, the big north balkony will now be in front of some windows and neighbourghs will be able to shake hands. Before, it was “inside” of the building, that why being intimate. Now it will be far “outside”, as indiscreet as the south one. It was to late, the vote was accepted and the meeting had to move on.
I guess it’s a well known german characteristic. First vote, later start thinking, then complain about what you have done.
I dont know if I will finish the project, even so it will take about 30 minutes, I can throw it away right now, along with my rest of hope for humanity, democracy and an enjoyable future.
Here are some pics, bad quality, taken at night. Small panels are a temporary light sensor and would have been replaced with a fototransistor in a tube. Maybe I’ll make a video of it working before I have to break it down in March.
I’ll go offline now.