Posts Tagged ‘Raspberry Pi’
First I would like to mention a site for anyone new to linux. http://cli.learncodethehardway.org/book/
I consider myself a newbie although I ran a multi-line Dial-up BBS (1200Bps!) on DOS back in the late 80’s early 90’s and used a linux shell account to import Internet e-mail and Usenet newsgroups for my users. Now that I am starting with the Pi, I have to learn the basics all over again. Anyhow this site is a really quick read, just over an hour and I think I am up to speed with the basic shell commands again. Someone with no experience with CLI might take a bit longer, but it is a free site and very informative. I Absolutely recommend it to the beginner. (I am now using the sister site for Python learnpythonthehardway.org/book/..looks like it will take a bit longer to complete, but just as “easy going”!)
Now for what I have been doing the past few days with the Raspberry Pi. I have fully installed the Gertboard and all of the related software. It has taken a lot of research and hunting since the software and details of the complete setup are in several different sites. I read and did ALL of the sample projects in the user manual. (Python Samples, not the “C”. I also got both the RPi.GPIO and the WiringPi for Python versions working so I could try all the examples!)
Not knowing Unix very well, was quite a learning experience. The hardest part was actually getting the ATmega up and running properly with the Arduino IDE. Not at all like installing an arduino ATMega (USB) or Read the rest of this entry »
Ok, for 3 nights I stayed up till 3am trying to figure out the insane wiring on this thing and trying to get everything correct. Finally completed it today, typed in some sample code and get ready to test it. I flip the switch, The lights come on, a good sign… Then they all go out. A couple seconds to see if anything is going to happen and…. Nothing. Damn, now I have to trouble-shoot and do more research. But wait, what is that I smell? Plastic burning? Yep I smell plastic! Now I see smoke coming from the wiring/mounting holes. The power is off so what the heck? I see more and more smoke coming from the motor compartment and can’t get to it because I tightened all the cover screws! A race to get the cover off and remove the batteries before the whole thing goes up.
The damage was limited to melting both the battery leads coating completely off and slightly melting the wires near them. The battery leads were a very thing stranded wire, so when it shorted they acted as a heating element or even a fuse and burned up, maybe saving the rest of the project!
Immediately checked the boards and they seemed to operate correctly. Then spent about 3 hours chasing the short. Everything kept coming back alright but I finally managed to trace it to the 5 mm power plug that attached directly to the arduino. Yes, it is something I Soldered and looked great. Even tested perfect when the cap was off… But when you screw the protective cap back on, the voltage meter went crazy… The short was in the plug!
Swapped it out for a new one, replaced damaged wiring and even a new battery case.
Moment of truth…. The darn thing fired right up and had even retained the test code we had programmed it with! Works as it should, runs the simple driving/avoidance software. Hopefully there will not be any future damage to the chips because of the short. But for now, it looks great.
Next step… Take a 5 hour nap! Tomorrow I. Plan to start figuring out how to connect the Raspberry Pi directly. Not so it downloads the scripts from the IDE, that’s already done.. No, we want to use the raspberry pi to run programs in Python and use the arduino to handle the physical part of the interface. The ardueno will run all the motors and sensors and the Raspberry Pi will not interrupt the sensor data and issue commands. Hopefully!
Here’s a couple photos of the charred battery box and wiring… What NOT to do. I’m going to take a nap… Enjoy!
Pi Hard With a Vengeance using WordPress for Android
First experiment with a mobile platform using the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino mega 2560. The kit comes from Sainsmart.com and is a very basic starter kit with the mega 2560, motor driver board and the sensor shield as well as most of the car parts themselves. I purchased them from Amazon.com for about $80 each. Not bad when the Mega alone sells for $60+ bucks.
We purchased 2 of them so my son and I can build them together. They have been very educational, but even more aggravating. The paperwork has to be searched out on the internet, and has been written by running another language through some translation software. Needless to say, the documents in English do not say what is intended and is very hard to decrypt. Same for the support site. The forums are updated, but it looks like the replies to customers are run through translation software. Plus user photos are missing from the forums. The last avenue of support…. They say there is a support wiki, but when I try to log from multiple links, I get the dreaded ‘forbidden access’ error message.
I am not alone here, everyone has problems with the wiring and getting help solving it… Almost nothing in Google searches as well. 4 paragraphs in the instructions does not help wire it… It really needs photos to show the connections the instructions can’t express.
The vehicle is pretty straight forward and can be done from the instructions. I have worked in hobby electronics and know that I will figure it out soon, mostly because I own test equipment and know what to look for. But for the average person entering into Arduino and robots? I would really research this kit first and understand what needs to be plugged into where, before purchasing it. Their instructions are on the web (check amazon’s product description for the link.) be sure to read the ‘coding’ section, since that has the few paragraphs on the wiring.
Overall, I am impressed with it and think it is well worth the money. Very configurable and can be expanded forever. If Sainsmart would develop their documents a little better, this could be the ideal entry level system at an incredible price! The way it is?…. I am going to learn more about computer hardware and electronics than I had planned too.
Stay tuned…. PI Hard!
Pi Hard With a Vengeance using WordPress for Android
I am a 45-year-old father of one with very little experience in programming and even less experience in electronics. My programming experience is limited to C64 and Timex Sinclair 1000 basic when both machines were new and state-of-the-art during my teen years.
Fast forward 25 years and my son wants a Raspberry Pi computer. Helping him set it up and things just start sparking and growing in my mind. The more I explore this device, the more I imagine what it could be used for. Now I own my own RPI setup and have started to explore it as a complete and utter novice.
I understand the device was designed to introduce children into the world of micro-controllers, but I can see it has much more potential. As an older adult, I think it is harder to teach ourselves and to grasp the ideas behind new technologies. But this little device and the community that supports it make it a very powerful learning platform. So I decided to document some of my adventures into the world of this tiny micro controller and see what I can create and unlock. Hopefully you will be able get something out of my experience and insights.
With grand ideas of web-connected robots and RPI controlled CNC or 3d printers to fabricate parts for prototypes, this will prove to be an exciting learning experience for “this old dog”.
Well, here we go. Enjoy the ride!