October 28, 2015

Arduino garage door controller second version

I've put together the breadboard build of the garage door controller into a more compact form factor. I mounted the Arduino nano board on a small experimental PCB together with a voltage regulator. I'll be using an external voltage regulator as the internal does not supply enough power for the servo, I've seen this live when it was rebooting if the servo was moving too fast.

I tried to wrap everything in a heat shrink tube, but that failed kind of badly. I cut slots for the connectors to the switch, LEDs and servo in the heat shrink before shrinking it. Then during the shrinking process the heat shrink ripped open and parts of the pcb is still exposed. Remember that it will be installed into a doll-house that my children will be playing with and I prefer if it's a bit protected after all.

October 27, 2015

The winter build; 150 FPV racer

A while back I noticed a post on a forum where someone had built a 150 racer quad. The poster himself loved the small and nimble machine and I felt directly that this is probably something I have to build. I quickly started looking and possible components for the build and put together a spreadsheet with the options at hand.

First off was the ESC. I had specific requirements about the ESC namely that it must be BLheli and it must support 4S. And because of the form factor of the frame, it must be small. I ordered a ZTW and a DYS a while back to see the actual size (specs are often biased). And also to try to reflash the ZTW with BLheli. The ZTW has not been sent yet, but the DYS arrived today. And boy is it small. This will be my pick!

DYS 10A with 9g servo for size comparison

About the frame itself. I'm going with the Diatone ET 150 or the Diatone Blade 150. I haven't decided yet. Since the blade is quite cheap I might order both to see what they actually look like before deciding. Bit first I must cancel my ZTW order since it's no longer and option.

October 9, 2015

My first arduino; doll-house garage door controller

Now why am I writing this on an RC-blog. Well, I had (or have) big plans for the autumn. I've long had an idea to build a generic ESC programming device based on a simple arduino, connecting it to an android app using a bluetooth module.

I've started reading up on arduino the last few months and the other day I finally got a simple first project to build. See, my 3-year-old son has a doll house in which his cars live. It is a old second hand house and my wife has plans to decorate it. The first thing she did was cut a hole on one side to build a garage door. She had no idea how to make hinges so I offered her rudder hinges of course. And then it struck me. This can be much more fun with a servo on the garage door. And it went on and on and on. The master plan is to build a fully automated remote controlled doll house.

But wait a minute. I need to start somewhere. And I must not forget the ESC programmer plans.

Yesterday I built a first prototype for the garage door controller. I will use a servo and an on-off-on switch to open and close the door (my son will love it). In addition to this there is a green and red stop-light. The red light blinks as the door is moving and lit when the door is not fully open. When it is open the green light turns on.

Garage door controller, first prototype

I used a nano, which I will use for the more compact build. It's installed in an expansion shield mounted on a prototype plate with a breadboard. I don't have the switch yet so I used two push buttons instead. I used a very small servo during the development, as a 9-grammer would draw too much and make the board reboot occasionally (like when starting when the servo travels to the initial position).

The next step is to build a more compact version and decide on how to power everything. I will probably need a separate power supply for the servo to avoid it from killing the device if it gets stuck or forced by a boys playing hand.

It took me about 2 (unfocused) hours to build and program the device. Had to do the build real quick and programming while waiting for the boy to fall asleep. Surprised me how easy it was to get started, very positive first experience from arduino.

Here are the sources in case anyone is interested: https://bitbucket.org/leonard_broman/doll-house/