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 Use of micro controllers in model boats

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barriew
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PostSubject: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon Jan 18, 2016 10:00 am

I think I mentioned in my build log that I had bought myself a new toy - an Arduino micro-controller. I spent all my working life with computers - from the room sized in the 1960s, through to PCs when I retired and since, so I have always been interested. My problem has always been having the ideas to use these tools. I tried to get interested in the Raspberry Pi when it came out, but couldn't find a use for it, but when someone on another forum started a thread about using the Arduino in model boats I decided here was something that I could get interested in, and I could think of an application.
That application was to 'automate' the lowering of the ramp on my Calmac Rhum. I have now done this - it is no longer necessary to move the transmitter control to the exact position to stop the ramp before the flap unfolds. Just moving off the home position will take the ramp down, moving the control into the lower half of its travel drops the flap. The reverse also works. In addition all the movements are slowed down to a more realistic speed.
This is a very specialised use, but similar effects can be applied to rotating guns etc. 

My next project is to make a 'super' Servo Tester with three functions - move the servo under test by rotating a control knob, continually sweep a servo from 1 to 180 degrees and back, and finally to check the accuracy of the TX/Rx combo output. I know these things can be bought quite cheaply, but the cost of the Arduino and components is ridiculously low - around £3 for the controller - that it is worthwhile building your own.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyThu Apr 21, 2016 2:02 am

You could try to use the board to make your own rowing boat! In sure that's what my little black box is based around code wise on the chip... Might be worth investigating, when I was searching for how to make a mechanical rowing system, I found many links towards using adrino programming, sadly the coding was beyond me to attempt the project like that but I'm sure someone with the right knowledge would work it out. 

I guess using that sort of controller a decent multi rower could be possible, or even a canoe or kayak motion could be obtained, food for thought, FYI if you do come up with a canoe program i'ld be interested, always fancied the weird models.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyThu Apr 21, 2016 7:39 am

Aron, 

I just might be able to work out the logic for a rower, but I certainly couldn't build the linkages. Rolling Eyes 
If you want multiple rowers, then I think you use the same system as you have - its just a case of extending the links to more figures.
As for canoes - that's a different action isn't it? and you would need two canoers, or one would have to move the paddle from side to side.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyThu Apr 21, 2016 11:51 am

The little board I have has an amp limit so it's based on not using more then 4 servos ( it's designed for the larger high torque servos, so it has its limitations in doing a multi rower, which is where the adrino could be handy as you can build them with higher outputs??

As for a canoe or kayaker I've seen 2 men ones and they done need servos to work, it's just a offset cam in a geared motor for each rower each side and a vtail mixer on their esc's and hey drive like tank steering.


I have however seen single man canoe and kayak models that utilise the hollow men bodys or a cut up action man or similar to work in a rotational way to work the model some are rather impressive.


The linkage,s for rowing should just be thought of a basic offset cam which is the motion needed, as for kayaking I can take a guess it's a swiviled center through 90 degrees from center,
And a push pull servo each side to give the up one side down the other, but this is where the programming comes in to create the motion using servos for steering knowing only one side needs to move etc. Could be worth experimenting.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon May 30, 2016 12:26 pm

Another suggestion what to do with your Audrino Barrie is to make a Useless box!




lol!





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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon May 30, 2016 1:33 pm

Very clever 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup 2thumbsup

What I have actually done is make up a new version which will allow me to demonstrate the ramp lowering and raising with using the Tx and Rx. Every two minutes it will go through its routine without any intervention required. We will be exhibiting at a local event where it is not possible to put the boat on the water, so I thought this would be a good way of showing off its capabilities.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon May 30, 2016 1:46 pm

have you got a video to upload, I'll be interested to see that.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon May 30, 2016 5:29 pm

No - but I'll try and tale one.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyTue May 31, 2016 8:09 am

Thanks for the YouTube link RR, Made me smile for a while 2thumbsup
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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyTue May 31, 2016 10:53 am

RR

If I've done it right, here's a video. The ramp goes through its actions twice as shown in the video, then waits 2 minutes before repeating. Under RC control, the ramp is controlled by a three position switch on my Tx and adopts the three positions as in the video.
If you are interested I can post the code for both versions - its quite short and easy to read if you have any programming knowledge.

Barrie



https://youtu.be/M9EOeEK-1is
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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyTue May 31, 2016 12:49 pm

Excelent  Thumbup Thumbup

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptySat Aug 13, 2016 11:53 pm

Hey Barrie did you come up with any new things to use your Audrino for?

I'm going to start a custom project with one after my holiday during the off time with boat builds, i'm going to build a retro arcade machine using the Pi 3.

I'm a bit of a geeky old school gamer at heart and still have my original 89 gameboy in full working order!

The beter half said i can build it as a early xmas present.

If your interested to have a go you can stick to the basic with the Pi, and a keyboard, and just plug to the monitor and try it out.

https://retropie.org.uk/

the OS for the pi to work via keyboard as a basic retrogame computer is only a SD card install.

I'ld be interested to know what you think.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptySun Aug 14, 2016 6:20 am

RR

I haven't done any more with the Arduino. Still waiting for another project.

I tried the Pi a few years ago - its a nice machine, but not quite as easy to use as a controller, although more use as a 'computer'. In the end I sold it as I couldn't think of anything to use it for. 

As I said the problem I have with these things is having the ideas. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptySun Aug 14, 2016 9:39 pm

I've got my hands on a pi zero, £4 so its not like it cost a fortune, but i've been experimenting with on board GPS and battery condition, similar to those used in quadcopters, should the power drop below a particular level, or loss of TX signal then the boat will return to a set GPS position ( a programmable position where the boat was launched from) at a designated set speed usually 1/4 of full throttle. 

What i do need to look at is using this system, its not exactly other lake user friendly nor can it avoid obstacles, so i'll have to look into giving the boat eyes in the form of obstacle sensors. Last thing i want is to hit a swan or one of the many object occupying lakes. 

Right now i have the GPS unit of a quad copter and its board hooked to the esc, rudder servo leads and RX for now those alone do the basic job of animating the parts, but because i want to add extras such as 'Eyes' and some telemetry and sensor options ( motor heat , battery voltage, Amp read outs and other fun things etc... etc )  i'll have to program the PI to take the place of the GPS board and send live feedback. 

This could be a little more to do for your adrino knowing they can support a range of RC Pluging's and controllers easier then the pi.

My ultimate goal would be to convert a 2nd wee nip into a fully autonomous sailer controlling directing, sail tack's, i'll have to look at pre-programming a set course for it to follow using the GPS. 

But its defiantly something i'ld like to make happen.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon Aug 15, 2016 6:02 pm

RR

As I'm sure you are aware there are a number of people working on this type of thing. There are at least two teams trying to do this in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. One of the biggest problems seems to be you can't scale the elements Shocked
At least one person is trying to replicate station keeping by using various thrusters to maintain a defined position. 
I don't think the coding is the major issue here - its understanding the maths and the electronics required to make everything commuicate.

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PostSubject: Re: Use of micro controllers in model boats   Use of micro controllers in model boats EmptyMon Aug 15, 2016 10:14 pm

I do think maybe they are looking at things all wrong.

 Size shouldn't be the issue in obstacle avoidance, my approach is to allow the machine to detect an object in front of them and simply turn away to avoid it, if something again pops up in front then it again turns away from it so on and so forth all the time while still moving for its destination.  

I do think there is a huge difference tho in moving a boat of much larger scale compared to a model in a lake/pond, conditions tend not to be so horrific.

but i'm surprised they haven't utilized google maps and other sea navigational charts to build a working database allowing their boats to navigate using simpler methods, i did real about the solar boat that the navy had to pick up when it got stranded not long ago, although i think that was caught up in nets?

but when it comes to these sorts of things i believe most of these so called experts over think the simple methods, take the maze mouse's for example...

they learn a course using its object sensors then can navigate it like a missile.
its simple obstacle avoidance at the most basic but yet its most functional which is what i based my idea on, fixed point to get to is the GPS launch position, the start is where ever the boat decides to failsafe at, by then some of the lake is partially mapped already, and there is no reason why a lake can''t be mapped and memory stored, then its just a case of moving thought its decided optimal course while using its 'eye sensors' to avoid any new obstacles.


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Last edited by Roadrunner on Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:37 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : youtube vid not working???)
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