LOG

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Idle stepper motors

Today I tried to PWM the stepper motors when they are idle. There are several problems with this. First and formost is that any pwm-ing on the steppers results in a high pitched sound that I can’t stand. It’s probably caused by some vibration, so the benefits of lowering the power (reducing heat) is probably offset by the vibration and any wear and tear it may cause.

The second thing I learned is that you can’t interrupt the power of the steppers while they are running. That is, if motor A is moving, then you say, “hold up, lets turn power off because motor B is resting, and we’ll turn A on next time around the loop” then A never does anything. The step cycle is a lot slower than arduino’s loop, so don’t interrupt it. It’s actually doing work while arduino is doing other things. Motor A needs power on while you’re doing crap with B to keep the motor turning. It’s threding, in a way.

Now I’m doing a test with both motors turned off when there is no stepper movement. It’s been running about 15 min. So far the steppers are cool and nothing is out of alignment. Oop, hold on. It looks like a vertical stepper has lost some hight. 

Oh yeah, and one SUPER ANNOYING THING I figured out, is that to program the arduino pros, set them to Duelenova 328 in the IDE. DO NOT set them to Arduino Pro/Mini (8mhz)–that will program them for a 8mhz chip, which they are not, and cause your servos to do whatever the fuck they want and not what you want.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Letter chains

I wrote a java program that will find overlaps between words and arrange them into chains; for example:

 BICEONET.
 BIC
  ICE
   CEO
    EON
     ONE
      NET
       ET.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm

finished

Finished sign earlier this week. The calibration software I made took a long time, but now it’s pretty robust and the end result is a sign that is much more accurate. I should document how to use it. Rick also came by and filmed the sign. Which means I’m done. For now.

Friday, January 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm
This is a screenshot of an app that will allow me to make fine-tune adjustments via software to the orientation of the lights. Hopefully, this will mean I won’t have to adjust everything with pliers and a screwdriver—which is incredibly crude and time-consuming.
I’m almost done. It requires a more complicated communication protocol that I’ve just finished implementing and testing. Now I need to get all the adjustment data handled correctly. That is, this app creates calibration data, it’s saved to xml, then uploaded to the sign by the display app.

This is a screenshot of an app that will allow me to make fine-tune adjustments via software to the orientation of the lights. Hopefully, this will mean I won’t have to adjust everything with pliers and a screwdriver—which is incredibly crude and time-consuming.

I’m almost done. It requires a more complicated communication protocol that I’ve just finished implementing and testing. Now I need to get all the adjustment data handled correctly. That is, this app creates calibration data, it’s saved to xml, then uploaded to the sign by the display app.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm
Text with english-like letter ordering. I made it by modifying a Markov-chain ruby script.

Text with english-like letter ordering. I made it by modifying a Markov-chain ruby script.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Wrote a processing app on the bus-ride back from Boston. It places 4-letter words adjacently à la Christopher Wool.

Wrote a processing app on the bus-ride back from Boston. It places 4-letter words adjacently à la Christopher Wool.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm
Wrote an algorithm that creates a sequence of four-letter words, where adjacent words ideally have only a 1-letter difference. On the light sign, it’s mesmerizing.

Wrote an algorithm that creates a sequence of four-letter words, where adjacent words ideally have only a 1-letter difference. On the light sign, it’s mesmerizing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm
Before I left for Christmas, I launched my website redesign.

Before I left for Christmas, I launched my website redesign.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Ok, I’ve seriously fallen off the wagon. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t working. I finished the sign. I had a major setback, however, when I first assembled everything and turned it on. The sign wasn’t readable. I thought the letters would be more readable when more were added—the more letters, the more context, the easier to read. However, the opposite was true. The visual noise from the still-visible inactive lights were overwhelming to the eye, and the result was a mess.

So I bought some gels, and with Rick’s help, we covered up some of the lights with a dark grey gel, which helped a lot. The blue gel looked weird. However, the light that shone through the gel was of a very different character than the original. In the end, the solution I settled on was to paint the light bars black and put electrical tape on the sides of the fluorescents. This was so incredibly tedious, and I was unsure of the final result, that it was extremely demoralizing slow-going as I went along. I’m really happy with the outcome, though. Now I need to film it and show it to people.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 12:38 am

It’s been a kill-yourself, hardworkin’ marathon of soldering and assembling at the studio. Hopefully it’ll get done soon. It took me one hour to make those two rainbow cables, btw.