I’m pretty new to the forums, but I used the search function to find out all I could about this subject. After reading up on all I could, I’ve concluded that my project is feasible, but difficult for me. Unfortunately, I’m currently entering my 3rd year studying Mechanical Engineering, and my electronics knowledge is frighteningly inadequate :~ . Therefore, I’ve come to you guys to see if I could have someone help me figure out how to make sense of this stuff.
A device comprised of two components which interact wirelessly: (1) data-collecting instrumentation and (2) an output monitor. The data will be generated from the force of a compression spring, varying with time in discrete steps, pressing against a FlexiForce #A301 (http://www.tekscan.com/pdf/A301-force-sensor.pdf) force transducer. The output monitor will display a number proportional to the amount of force the FlexiForce sensor is subjected to; that is to say, how much the spring is compressed. The data-collecting component will transmit data to a receiver located on the output monitor via XBee radios (using Zigbee protocol). Both the sensor and output components will be able to be powered by AAA batteries.
-I’ve found some basic DIY tutorials (namely, the above), and I’ve begun to understand a little of how to condition the signal.
-The FlexiForce Starter Kit (http://www.tekscan.com/store/flexiforce-sensors/starter-kit.html) seems to have all the components I need to start creating a circuit. I know I’ll need to solder it all together, so I’ll be practicing that on spare bits of wire before I do anything with the real components.
-Since I will be using XBee modules to communicate data, I will need the Arduino Wireless Shield for processing.
-Force output from the sensor will vary anywhere between 10N and 50N.
-Transmission times should be as close to 0.01 seconds as possible.
-Battery Life Information: http://www.faludi.com/projects/arduino-and-xbee-battery-test-results/
Limited experience with robotics in high school, about 3 years ago.
I do have a solid background C/C++, MATLAB, and LabView, so the programming aspect should not be the main issue.
- So, and this may seem a bit elementary, should the “V-OUT” from the proposed circuit diagram from FlexiForce should go straight into a pin on the Arduino board?
- Is there any additional circuitry needed to connect a XBee module to the Arduino Wireless Shield?
- On the receiving end of things, what does the XBee receiver actually output to the other Arduino Wireless Shield?
- Is a AAA, or even a AA, battery powered configuration even feasible? Is 9V necessary?
- I see where the positive and negative voltages need to go into the FlexiForce and associated signal conditioning circuitry (the op-amp), but where - and how - do I get the right voltages in from the battery? Simply resistors? And would the Arduino Wireless Shield get enough power from this battery?
Let me know if I need to provide any additional information in order to clarify anything. Thanks so much in advance!