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Week 30 - Final presentation and Maker Faire

Our final presentation took place on Friday, 5/11/18, and is included below: The entire Maker Faire event took place from Thursday to Sunday, 5/17 - 5/20. Thursday morning was for setting up and testing. Ben was able to attend and make sure everything was running smoothly. One of the track supports had to be removed so we also removed a station. Other than that, everything was going smoothly. On Friday, Ben and Coby went to Maker Faire and for the entire duration of the day, they were able to have at least one podcar running at a time, while the others would be taken off intermittently for small tweaks. After the event, there was free food and beer available for all the Makers. Coby and Andi attended Maker Faire on Saturday, and throughout the day, there were at least one or two podcars running at one time. We eventually were able to have all three running relatively successfully. One ultrasonic sensor had to be swapped out because the pod kept stopping randomly and as the day…

Week 29 - Discovery Channel and more testing/assembly

This week was when 2 representatives from The Discovery Channel came to film Spartan Superway.

While they went around asking questions about what we were all working on, we were soldering the 2nd PCB and assembling what we could of podcars 2 and 3.

We then tested our code for requesting podcar 2, as well as our new PCB. Everything worked smoothly and the half bracket was then mounted on to the uneven section of the track by the Track team.

We have one more PCB to solder, and we should be good to go for Maker Faire. We're just waiting on the Bogie team to deliver 2 more bogies, and in the meantime we'll just be focusing on our final presentation which is on May 11th (Friday).

Week 28 - Bugs and Discovery Channel

In this week's session, we continued testing and refinement of our code. We were also told that the Discovery Channel is coming in next week (5/9/18) to film the Spartan Superway project while we are all testing and preparing for Maker Faire.

When sending directions via the GUI, we came across a previously unnoticed bug. After requesting the pod to go to station 12, we noticed that the notification LED would turn blue (as expected) but once the pod reached the station, it would stop, then the LED would light blue again and the pod would go around the track and stop again at station 12.

We realized that the problem was because the Serial port remained open after we requested a podcar. Because of this, the request would go through as many times as we pressed the "Request Pod" button on the GUI. To fix this, we simply closed the serial port after a request had been taken in by the Arduino, and opened the port back up after the podcar reached its requested destination. This …

Week 27 - More testing and revision / First PCB soldered

In this week's session, we were able to get one PCB soldered and got it working with our assembled podcar.

We re-tested the switch section and it worked successfully. However there were some problems with the track turning section that caused the podcar to re-enter the outer loop. The two rails weren't set up for a smooth re-entry of the car, but we were informed after that there is supposed to be a half-bracket that stabilizes that turn, it just hadn't been mounted yet.

Something else that we've been working on includes adding status updates on the GUI so the user can see when the podcar has reached its destination.

Week 26 - Switch testing

This week, as promised, the track team finished a switch section of the track and we were able to test our controls system to a small extent. We tested that the bogie switched when presented with the correct location RFID tag and that it had enough power to navigate the track. We ran into some small hiccups because we modified our code to run on a legacy PCB. However, these bugs will be eliminated once we create our own PCBs. In addition, we took a video of our testing setup, it can be seen below.

In the upcoming week, we will be ordering our PCB boards and soldering all of the necessary components onto them. This is done in order to make the controls system more modular and replaceable if a part were to break. It will also be easier to debug wiring issues this way because there will only be one large plug instead of 20 single wire connections.

Week 25 - Status Quo of the Project

Our presentation was this week and we mostly stressed how much testing and preparation we need to do to get ready for Maker Faire. As we watched the other groups present, we saw that many others were in the same mindset. In addition, we presented the progress that we have made since the last presentation and played a video demonstrating our controls system working in unison with the graphic user interface.

In the upcoming weeks, we will focus on embedding our controls system into the new bogies and testing the full system. As of now, there is no switch section of the track, so the bulk of our code cannot be tested. However, we have confirmation from the track team that it will be done within the next two weeks. Until then, we will prepare for testing.

Week 24 - Presentations and Planning

This week, we are preparing for our second presentation of the semester. We have divided up the various sections of the presentation with each person being responsible for two different sections. In this presentation, we will not be able to go as in-depth as previous presentations, so we will be slimming down our information to only include vital information and important details.

For the rest of the semester, we will be working with the other small scale teams to get a track and bogie that we can run our controls system on. We will also be looking into different ways that we can test our controls system if the other sub teams do not finish in time. Currently, we plan to use a legacy bogie design to test our controls system on an existing piece of straight track.