tobacco kiln

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vimes79
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby vimes79 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:24 pm

Adding a Solar or Wind system to power it all is something that you can always go back and do as an addition at any time in the future. Due to how short the days are at the moment you wouldn't get too much benefit from Solar power anyway. Maybe something to look at once you have your system built and know how much juice it needs and then come at it then, by which time the daylight will be lasting longer again.

Good luck with it, make sure you try and keep us posted on here, am interested to see how you get on.
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dec0y7
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby dec0y7 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:17 pm

That's what I'm thinking plus as the I hope to grow it every year its something I can work on for the next crop. I've spoken to local gardener and he is willing to help with a small poly tunnel.

As it will only be used for 4-5 weeks of the year I still get to play with the pi in other ways
tis Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all

I blame spelling errors and my writing skills or lack of...... On fred!!!!!! My blood clot (yes I really did name it lol)

dec0y7
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby dec0y7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:45 am

So after some thinking I am going to make a robot as well because its only being used for a short time.

All the senses I use can easily be put on to a robot and when needed just let it monitor the tobacco.

I'm just going to convert a rc car fit it with the pi, cam ect and use a web interface to control it.
tis Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all

I blame spelling errors and my writing skills or lack of...... On fred!!!!!! My blood clot (yes I really did name it lol)

vimes79
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby vimes79 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:53 pm

Robots are always fun, I haven't built one in a while tho, the last one I made was also using a Toy as a platform to build onto, I used one of the 1980's best selling toys (in its remake state) the good old BigTrak. I pulled the entire control system barring the two motors, then added an Arduino, a cheap 2 motor 5 speed controller, 2 ultrasonic sensors, 2 line followers and some other bits and bobs. I never got round to adding a manual control system it or setting up the built in keypad to add custom programs (which is how it worked out of the box) but just left it so you turned it on and it just kept on driving around and changing direction when getting up to x amount of mm from an object. It works OK, but really needs another weekend spent rebuilding it and refining the pretty basic program (which my friend wrote for me at the time). I will get it out from under all the crap in the cupboard one day and finish it off so it has a BT control option, programmable option using the keypad to set commands and variables and add a little camera to the front (like the little TTL Jpeg ones here at the moment from Adafruit) and possibly data logging so it can plot an entire area or room out... Its powered to the middle wheels which also do the steering by either stopping one wheel or reducing the power of it depending on how its setup and how far the distance you have set for the avoid routine to be.
It was good fun but it was a pain having to use a pre-built toy with little space inside even after I cut all the bits that were sticking out on the inside.

The R.Pi is quite bulky and requires a fair bit to have it running right and even then is a little too delicate for my liking of it for bot builds. If I were going to build another based on a RC car, I would use an Arduino Mini Pro for sure! I have one here (saved for a rainy day) and they are so small that they will fit anywhere and keep 90% of the 'duino functionality.

Before the BigTrak Hack I built one with my friend based on a Acrylic chassis designed for Arduino and other boards, (im sure you have seen them all over ebay) 2 wheels that drive and a caster at the front or back. Much easier to build on and it worked well as my friend is a wicked coder and can do magic with Arduinos and he spent alot of time setting that bot up. That had all the same features as the BigTrak bot except we used IR fixed distance sensors for avoidance.

The last two I bought as fully working, an iRacer by DAGU and my new favourite thing ever is my Sphero!

The iRacer is very cool as its nice and cheap (Around 20-25 quid, which imo is a steal! It has a feature rich main-board with an ATMega48V at the heart of it all, it is Bluetooth controlled with a decent BT reciever fitted to the custom board, it also has a LiPol battery with LiPol charger incorporated into the main board and has Mains charger included. Its super hackable and has a standard Atmel programming pins broken out (although you have to add the headers - took about 15 mins to remove board, add the few bits I wanted and then put it back together) and you can use an Arduino as an ISP to program it and edit the bot's firmware.
It is a great platform to build on, even if you only want the internals to mount onto a different body. Its main-board is so feature packed that it would eliminate alot of parts from a self build.
Its pretty cool, its very quick and nimble and most importantly very crash proof! The only thing I don't like is the steering as they have used a standard motor and not a servo and the tyres as they are too slick making it a nightmare to use it on my wooden floors unless you use about 1/4 power, on surfaces with more grip its is great tho - I am thinking about a few ideas to sort the grip out including scuffing the tyres up with course sandpaper or by cutting shallow grooves into them with my dremel, also thinking maybe make a 2nd set of wheels and tyres (well steal them from a toy RC car) which are wider and have grip and finally maybe doing something using Sugru like tiny little nodules on the existing tyres so the Sugru (which is has insane grip) bites into the driving surface on flat smooth ground and on tarmac/grass/dirt/carpet etc the Sugru additions will be short enough to keep the most surface area as possible.

The Sphero speaks for its self, I cant even begin to describe how awesome it is or this post will be 4 pages long. Its essentially a hard ABS Plastic ball which has a complicated gyroscopic control inside. It is also BT powered by apple devices or Android over ver 2.3. It has variable speed from crawl to mega quick. The best thing is to check the videos on the manufactures site here : http://www.gosphero.com/sphero/overview/
It is expensive at around £100 inc VAT+Shipping but is so much fun its unreal!

I might do another bot build one day maybe a bit more complex and using a Pi maybe (Although Arduinos are perfect for bot builds). What I really want to build is a QuadCopter! Those things are amazing and alot of fun! I have also been pondering a High Altitude Balloon loaded with lots of data collection and 3 cameras, GPS and the works (Mainly so it can be recovered when it comes down!) There have been some really good ones recently now that the kit you need is much cheaper. They can get to ridiculous heights and be completely retrievable with a decent parachute system, if done right you get some amazing video and photos and also alot of interesting data. Ideally you need someone on the build and launch team who know ALOT about weather and such so you can launch on the perfect day and it wont be blown so far off course that it comes down in the sea! (Thats happened to a few that the Uni here have built over the past year or so as the SW is quite narrow so if it goes to 100,000ft over the space of 3 hours it can easily be blown far enough to get within reach of the Bristol Channel or the English Channel. There are also some that went up over the summer and still have not been recovered as the GPS or Communication systems failed at some point to make the thing un traceable and just relying on someone finding it and returning it using the details you make sure are covering the thing as well as reflective and high viz outer with super bright LED's!
Its def one of the things I AM going to do one day, but it will be done right and be given the best possible chances of survival.

Anyway, good luck with it! Make sure you keep a build log, I haven't really looked at the R.Pi for robots at all, but I have heard they can be used quite effectively especially using an I/O expander board like the Gert or AlaMode. I would be interested to see how, whatever your Bot is, goes.
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dec0y7
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby dec0y7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:09 pm

A lot of information to take in so I will have a read a couple of times in more detail
tis Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all

I blame spelling errors and my writing skills or lack of...... On fred!!!!!! My blood clot (yes I really did name it lol)

dec0y7
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby dec0y7 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:23 am

Right after reading and researching your post I see where your coming from with the with the mini pro ie being small, light and having I need so I might have to look into that a bit more as it will be a lot easier to fit, mount and use.

The Sphero looks amazing but I don't think its for me because of the price and I wouldn't be able to add anything to it.

As for the iracer now that looks like something I could work with as I've got the option to build onto it or strip down and reuse parts
If I was to add to it I'm not sure if it could handle the cam, temp probe etc so I'm thinking that stripping it down would be the best way to go and re build it unless you thing it could handle it down.

I've seen the weather balloons before on the gadget show, some amazing video footage and it would be amazing to see or be involved.


How would the Seeeduino v3.0 measure up with the mini pro?
tis Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all

I blame spelling errors and my writing skills or lack of...... On fred!!!!!! My blood clot (yes I really did name it lol)

vimes79
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby vimes79 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:06 pm

The seeeduino is a nice Arduino Clone with a few extra bonus bits added. The same issue arises tho and that's that it is the same size as an Uno and as such still pretty big if you want to fit your kit inside a pre made body. If however you want to build on the outside, or have a massive amount of space in the body you choose and also want to include shields then the Seeeduino 3 is most likely what I would buy for the job.
But as I said, if you want to keep size and weight to a minimum and don't need to use any shields then I would certainly go for the mini pro or one of the other super small duino's or duino clones. Alot of things that are built onto shields are now available as standalone breakouts and simple enough to wire together rather then have to stack shields using pins.

The iRacer is a lot of fun as is, but as soon as It arrived and I checked out the build of it I could see pure potential with it, that control board has everything on it to run a 2 motor setup through Bluetooth and would be simple enough to strip from the original body and use as a main board for driving something else.

The Sphero was more of an example, its stupidly expensive but so much fun, I like it as it crams so much potential into such a small simple body and can do some amazing things!

I think after having a think about all this, once I have cleared some of my existing projects so I have a bit of spare space to build and hack and some spare cash flow to buy parts, I would most likely take another crack at the BigTrak as its a good size, already has a well geared pair of motors and drive system (mechanical) and would be super easy to drop an Uno/Seeeduino etc or one of the Micro boards like the Mini pro into it and then work on the existing system I have in my one which makes it just keep going by dodging obstructions (90% of the time) and add both the Program by Keypad system I had planned and also a manual drive system to it with BT control and just have it on a 3 way switch so you can just flick from the self mapping mode to the manual mode and at that point have maybe something like the iRacer has (an all in one system) take over and make the thing controllable through Android, iOS or a custom controller. It is a "Toy" that is just begging to be hacked and made into a much more functional bot and for very little money (Under £50 all together would do it + the cost of a BigTrak which is anywhere from £20-45 depending where you look)

Really it all comes down to How big the bot is going to be and how much space is available if you are hacking an existing toy or RC car, How functional you want it to be - If you just want forward backwards left and right controlled via Bluetooth then its easy enough to do with a short buy list and in to a smallish body. If you want to add more features then its going to require more and more space... Of course programming the who thing is a biggie too, an Arduino or Atmel AVR based system is much easier to code then an rPi for example. And finally budget! How much you want to spend will have the most impact as more options and abilities = more money!
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phil bee
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby phil bee » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:53 pm

Hi, why not try by ussing a Picxe 28x2 chip from Revolution Education as they are cheap and easy to program.
Visit the Picaxe web page for more info and they have one of the best forums on the net.

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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby phenoptix » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:33 pm

Pic chips are always worth a look. Welcome to the forums Phil!

vimes79
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Re: tobacco kiln

Postby vimes79 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:55 am

Have never really used and PIC's at all. Im not sure why really, most likely its because between the Arduino range, the amount of cloned and modified boards, the HUGE following and the excellent support and ease of use from the whole range of the Atmel AVR range (ATmega and ATtiny) which can be programmed so quickly and easily with a 'duino or a cheap £10 AVR Programmer like the USB Tiny.
The only MicroChip PIC I own is a Diligent ChipKIT UNO 32 which I inherited from a friend and used a few times but then put it away and now I have my Arduino DUE as my powerhouse basic 32bit platform which is much nicer.

There is a definite split between Atmel & Arduino users and Microchip and PIC users, both have great ranges of IC and can do the same jobs so are both valid MCU's to use. I think the thing that keeps Atmel ahead is that its entire Mega and Tiny range can be easily programmed with an Arduino and 9/10 the first MCU Prototyping Board someone buys is an Arduino.

I might take a wonder into PIC land one day and see how different the platforms are.
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