RouteMaster July 2013

Bottom-up Rebuild

30th July 2013

Having compiled a list of things to do, I decided that I would finish the hardware side of things first - from the bottom up. Most of the hardware seemed to working OK, but pulling connectors on and off instead of using switches lead the the inevitable breaking of the contact wires. Here are the hardware changes I am attempting to do at the moment...

Photos to follow...


"Hallowed Turf"

8th July 2013

Well, this year RouteMaster made it to the "Hallowed Turf" of the UK championship maze in Birmingham. However, it still didn't make it to the centre.

Wheel Slippage is the problem at the moment. RM2013 is currently carrying 4xAA batteries as a "Solid Rocket" type booster. 2 reasons for this. Firstly I don't know if the built-in rechargeable hold enough power to let the mouse do its thing twice in completion, as it has never been to the centre before - let alone make multiple runs. Secondly, for the Otley College open day, the mouse will have to be available to run demos all through the day, so a quick change set of batteries are needed for the 6 hours or so of demos. This has increased the weight and I think I am trying to accelerate the mouse quicker than the grip of the tyres can give with the added weight. Also, I need to find good skids for the underside. The original ball type casters make a horrible sound as the mouse trundles, bit the current nylon I'm using might not be helping with the skidding issue if the skids are digging in a bit (so to speak).

Because of the skidding, RM2013 is not able to make accurate 90 degree turns which is what caused it to end up in the wall again. Also I have found that the mouse doesn't spin about it's centre axis - a 90 degree turn leaves the mouse several mm off-centre. Due to the width of the mouse, any drift from centre could simply add to its troubles!

Here is RM2013 running though the maze in the "heats". It seems to get "lost" instead of crashing after the end of this video (video camera batteries ran out!).

So, to do...

  1. Investigate acceleration table, turn and avoid the skidding and get better top-speed.
  2. Investigate the axis spinning problem.
  3. Use the EEPROM to store a copy of the maze for diagnostic investigation
  4. Rebuild Mother-board to contain switches, plugs etc
  5. Re-commission the LCD and add menu switches
  6. Add information LEDs
  7. Consider smooth turns (stop one wheel) for searching
  8. Consider 45 degree turns and take diagonals
  9. And lots, lots more no doubt.