Nasi Koukios’ Work Log

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  • Post last modified:April 19, 2024
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  • Post category:Work Logs

Week of September 18-23 2023

During this week I met with Eric Engebos on Monday and secured the battery base to the Grow-Bot. We also discussed two possible plans to make the electrical box water resistant. To do this we planned to put a sheet of plexiglass over the electrical box, but we were trying to come up with the best way to secure it. Next we spoke of a way to improve the gears on the robot so we could improve the movement of the robot. For Monday we also came up with a list of parts we needed to order.

On Tuesday Nick Kasi and I met with Nick and Adam Sandhal to get the robot turned on and moving. This was because the bot was disassembled after last semester and we did not know what was needed to make it functional. Nick and Adam also taught us about the code. We also learned that we will need a new FlySky controller for the bot.

On Thursday during the cleaning of the lab we found out the Quadcopter project was scrapped and that instead of ordering a new FlySky controller we could use the one the quadcopter had. That was the last of the work we did for this week.

Week of September 25-30 2023

During this week I met with Eric Engebos and Nick Kasi on Monday the 25. While there we looked at the new back wheels we got for the robot and determined that they would not work as intended. Due to this we decided to get a different set of back wheels. While Eric cut a new plexiglass cover for the electrical box on the robot, Nick and I worked on our Critical Design Review power point presentation. We also took pictures and videos of the robot turning on and of the gears moving while using the joystick currently attached to the robot. This is all the work I have done for this week, but I know that Eric worked on cutting some foam to attach the new plexiglass cover and Nick worked to get the FlySky controller connected to the robot.

Week of October 2-7 2023

On Monday I met with Eric Engebos and Nick Kasi again. I helped Eric attach the water resistant cover to the electrical box.

After Eric and I finished attaching the cover we moved onto helping Nick who was trying to get the FlySky controller connected to the receiver while, the receiver was connected to the robot. With a warning that there was no battery every time we tried to connect. We fixed this problem by changing the settings for the external and internal sensors on the controller. After we got the controller connected we tried to run the code to see if the robot would respond to the FlySky controller. Once we activated the code the wheels would turn in reverse and once the FlySky controller was connected all movement would stop. When we moved the right joystick on the controller the motors would barely turn. Nick and I tried to replace the battery in case that was the problem, but the power switch got disconnected when we tried to rerun the code.

On Tuesday I came into the workspace and fixed the power switch by soldering the wire that had come loose. This was all the work I know of that we did for the Grow-Bot this week.

Week of October 9-14 2023

This week we presented our Critical Design Review on Tuesday. Before the presentation Nick and I did a practice presentation on the slides we were going to present. We all also worked on the slide show before the presentation.

On Thursday, I met with Nick to try to figure out why the FlySky controller was not working as intended. We also checked to see if the new set of back wheels would work for the robot and they will. They are 4 inch swivel wheels. We are now trying to come up with a way to attach them to the robot. Once that was done we focused on the controller. We figured out that if the auto switch is on when the robot is turned on the wheels and gears will go forward until the robot connects to the FlySky. The FlySky controller could not get the gears to turn no matter the edits we made in the code. It was decided that Nick would reach out to the Sandhal twins as they were the ones who wrote the code we are using to try to figure out where we are going wrong.

Week of October 16-21 2023

This week we met on Monday to discuss what we wanted to focus on for the rest of the semester and what we each would be doing. Eric spoke about finishing the water resistant cover, and 3D printing what we need to attach the back wheels and fix the front wheel. Nick and I worked on trying to figure out how to get the FlySky controller to work for the robot. We were unable to get it to work on Monday, but Nick figured out that the problem is with the motors not the code.

Week of October 23-28 2023

This week Eric, Nick and I met on Tuesday to try to figure out how to fix the FlySky controller. Eric detached the broken front wheel mount, and I removed the electrical tape from the soldered wires. I then tested the motor windings and the power of the motors to see if they were broken. Once we had tested the components Eric noticed that one of the pins on the Arduino for the motors was disconnected. Eric started to take one of the back wheel mounts and move it to the front wheel , but Nick asked him to help with the code for the FlySky, so I finished putting the front wheel into a new wheel mount. Eric and Nick were able to figure out what was wrong in the code and made it so that the controller could move the wheels.

Week of October 30-November 4 2023

There was not a lot that happened this week for the Grow-Bot. We met on Thursday to discuss what we needed to do in the next few weeks. Eric and I talked about the 3D printing that needed to be done and how to further secure the water resistant cover. Nick worked on the schematic for the robot during the week.

Week of November 6-11 2023

This week I met with Nick on Monday while he worked on the schematic. There was not anything for me to do so I left. On Thursday I met with Eric and Nick, and Eric told us that his computer was repaired and he was going to be printing the wheel mounts over the weekend. Eric also told us that the L-brackets that we needed to further secure the water resistant cover had arrived. We decided that we would meet next week to attach the wheel mounts and figure out anything else we need to do.

Week of November 13-18 2023

This week I met with Nick on Wednesday. He worked on the schematic, while I found some more L-brackets to further secure the water resistant cover. After this Nick, Eric and I met on Thursday. We talked about what else we had to do, to meet the functional requirements we had set. We also talked about what we want to do next semester, and how to meet with our sponsor to update them on our progress.

Week of November 27-December 2 2023

This week I met with Nick and Eric on Monday to work on the lab report and to test how the robot drives. Eric attached the caster wheels to the back of the robot. I used the Flysky while Eric recorded a video and Nick had his laptop connected to the Grow-Bot. We got it to successfully move backwards and turn in one direction. However, an issue with turning in the other direction and going forward occurred. We realized that one of the front wheel mounts was cracked and was making the gears not connect. Nick, Eric and I also started work on the final report and we got through most of it.

On Thursday, we met again and Eric had 3-D printed a new front wheel mount, while Nick started our EMI presentation for our sponsor GM. Eric and I helped out on the power point. Later in the day we also presented our progress, budget, and future plans to GM.

On Friday, we met for a final time this week to attach the new front wheel mount and work on the lab report. Eric attached the new wheel mount to the robot, and we again tested how well the robot moved. I again used the Flysky while Eric recorded a video and Nick attached his laptop to make sure there were no errors with any movement. Also we tested the water resistant cover and recorded pouring water on the cover. We mostly finalized the report, but a few adjustments need to be added. I also organized some of the wires in the electrical box on the robot with the use of electrical tape.

Week of January 22-26 2024

I worked on the progress report presentation for GM with Eric, Nick and Hakeem on Thursday the 25th.

We also talked about starting the diagram for the new board and Eric planned to order the new plexiglass to replace the wood on the side of the electrical box. I also worked on the Gantt chart for the Grow-Bot for this semester.

Week of January 29 – February 3 2024

Nick, Eric and I met on Tuesday January 30th. We discussed researching a power distribution panel with a fuses or circuit breakers for the new electrical board. We worked together to finalize the presentation for GM by updating our budget information, what we might need help with, and any electrical updates we made to the Grow-Bot. We also discussed looking into a new motor controller, and a new battery. Also looking at RC vehicles for help when designing an electrical board. We decided to use the rest of week 4 and week 5 to research the components and then in week 6 we will meet and decide which components to order.

On Thursday February 1st the Grow-Bot team presented to our sponsors to update them on our progress over the past 2 weeks. We let them know about ordering the plexiglass, and starting to design the new electrical board. We also asked them for any advice they could give on where to order electrical components, how we should organize our future plans for Grow-Bot, and any other advice they had. They suggested the following websites to order components from.

They also suggested that we do the following.

Week of February 5-10 2024

On Wednesday the 7th the group met to discuss the Critical Design Review and talk about the parts we had researched. We wanted to choose which parts we were going to get. We found a kill switch and fuses in the lab. I made a bill of materials for the parts we have and are going to get.

Power Distribution Rails$13.99
Buck converter$16.99
Arduino Screw Terminal Shield$5.95
Kill Switch$51.20

Nick also drew a basic diagram for the wiring of the new electrical board. However, Hakeem found that the fuses we have were too high so he started looking for automotive fuses.

Week of February 12-17 2024

On Wednesday the 14th Eric, Hakeem, and I started working on the Critical Design Review Presentation. Eric and I also replaced the wood panels on the side of the electrical box with new plexiglass. We also tested how much current the motor draws and how much current the other electrical components draw. We used a multimeter on the DC amp setting to determine this. For the motors we got between 0.25-0.6 A. The receiver got a value of 0.12 A. 

On Thursday the 15th we met with GM to update them on our progress

Week of February 19-24 2024

This week we ordered the new rails and buck converters on Monday the 19th.

We also presented our CDR on Thursday the 22nd. From there we got feedback on the points shown below.

  • Test the current draw from the motors again: In more rough conditions, looking for peaks or spikes, and the “stall” current when the shaft is being stopped forcefully.
  • Consider using “slow-blow fuses” to account for peaks.
  • Consider what fuses to use for sensors
    • Look at the documentation for sensors to make sure that the current does not EXCEED the max current.
    • When would a high current happen? Either from a degrading sensor that would have to be replaced anyway, or a short. In this case, fuses do not have to be as precise.
  • Relays are the only way to implement killswitches. Look into how to do this for sure.
  • Check the current rating of the battery.
  • Simulation can be performed in Multisim as long as the images and documentation is avaliable.

Week of March 4-9 2024

This week we met on Tuesday March 5th to discuss Capstone as well as the future of the Grow-Bot with Dr. Oberloier. 

We then met on Thursday March 7th. Well there I created a google doc to act as a timeline for future semesters as well as what the Grow-Bot needs to do when it is completed. Nick, Eric and I discussed what we wanted to do for Capstone next year, and came up with two possible paths. We decided to give ourselves some time to think it through and choose what we want to do at a later date. Next Eric, Nick, Hakeem and I tested if the Grow-Bot could drive over an incline. We had some struggles with it but found that it was a good way to test the maximum current of the motors. We found that at best we could get 1 amp. We also looked into two possible fuse boxes for when we start creating the new electrical board.

Possible fuse boxes:

8 Circuit block WUPP 12 Volt Fuse Block, Waterproof Boat Fuse Panel with LED Warning Indicator Damp-Proof Cover, 6 Circuits with Negative Bus Fuse Box for Car Marine RV Truck DC 12-24V : Automotive

12 Circuit Block holder 12 Way 12V Fuse Box Blade, 12Volt Fuse Block Without LED Indicator Damp-Proof Cover – 12 Circuit Independent Positive Negative Fuse Box Holder for 12V/24V Auto Car Truck Boat Marine Vehicle : Automotive

Week of March 11-16 2024

This week we met on Tuesday the 12th. We worked on our progress report presentation for our sponsors GM. For the report I updated our Gantt chart to show the progress we had completed, and to show that we were still on track for our goals.

We also ordered the last of the electrical components we need to make the new electrical board. These are the relay and the fuse block.

  • 12 line fuse block – This will be the first area of distribution, our 12V line. This allows fuses to be easily replaced, and even accounting for 4 motors and 1 branching 5v line, still leaves plenty of space for future implementation.
  • Relay – This is the way we will implement our killswitch into the circuit.

Nick created our QKad file to show the diagram of the new electrical board.

On Thursday the 14th we presented to GM and they gave us the feedback shown below.

Finally on Thursday I made the Project Overview page for Grow-Bot.

Week of March 18-23 2024

This week I met with Eric and Nick on Wednesday the 20th. I updated the Gantt chart for this semester to show the goals we need to accomplish and when we need to accomplish them by the end of the semester.

We also decided on what we were going to do for Capstone next year. This will be a new drivetrain that can go over any terrain. We came up with the steps we will need to do as well as anything else we might need. We reached out to Ben Keppers for help with wiring the new electrical board on our robot.

On Thursday the 21st I attended the lab clean up day meeting. Ben also replied to our questions so Nick, Hakeem and I met later that day. I wired the relay, kill switch and fuse block based on a diagram we had made.

Once the wiring was done we tested the circuit with a 5V from a DC voltage supply.

Week of March 25-30 2024

This week I met with Ben Boelens to learn what I need to do as a Budget Manager for OSHE. We met on Wednesday the 27th. I also met with Nick and Eric to work on wiring the new electrical board on Wednesday. We all followed the diagrams we had drawn to wire the new board.

We detached all components from the electrical box: The breadboard, the Arduino, the motor controller, the FlySky receiver, and all sensors. Then, we secured two buck converters to the Fuse block. One buck converter was wired the Arduino MEGA, and the other was wired to a power rail. The FlySky receiver was then attached to the power rail.

  • The gauge of the wire used depended entirely on the kind of connectors that would be secured to the devices. It is possible we may need to modify it later.
  • We used a 1A fuse for both the Arduino and the 5V power rail. We are planning on using a higher amperage fuse for the motor controller.

Week of April 1-6 2024

This week we met on Wednesday the 3rd. I soldered new wires to the motor. Nick, Eric, Hakeem and I worked on the project proposal. Nick drew sketches of possible paths for the drivetrain next semester.

After the project proposal and soldering new wires to the motors we started work on the kill switch. Eric drilled a hole into one of the side panels to mount the kill switch.

We then met on Thursday the 4th. On that day we worked on the Report Draft. We also did videos for our social media post. We all spoke on different parts of the progress done this semester. I spoke on the future paths Grow-Bot is going to take. After this was done we finished wiring the robot. We did this by using wire nuts and connecting the motors to the motor controllers.

We then turned on the robot and tested to make sure it could drive. It could, but there was an issue with the turning. We also tested if the kill switch works and it does.

Week of April 8-13 2024

This week we met on Monday the 8th to prepare for the Check Off. We also worked on our final progress presentation for GM. We found a few problems when we were checking the robot which were:

  • The motors were wired backwards: That is, the robot drives in the reverse direction as input on the controller (forward/backwards).
  • The right motor does not engage when the backward motion is input into the controller.
  • One of the motor housings cracked

We then met on Tuesday the 9th for our Check Off. We had printed a new motor mount and installed it before the Check Off. We did all of the functional requirements we wanted and then got the following feedback:

  • Next semester, the drive train should be updated completely
  • The following semester, we must decide on one of the following paths for the robot
    • Further sensor integration
    • Autonomous navigation
    • A winch/connector for tilling, water distribution, some kind of platform to further expand functionality

On Wednesday the 10th Hakeem and I met to work on the wiring issue we had discovered on Monday. We checked with an oscilloscope first to make sure the motor controller was getting the right signal. We found that the wires were not transmitting the correct signals. We then checked the code to see where the wires from the motor controller need to go on the Arduino and discovered that we had mis wired some of them.

Then on Thursday the 11th we met with GM to give them our final progress report of the semester.

Week of April 15-20 2024

This week we met on Thursday the 18th. We finished up the final edits to our report and made some final decisions.

  • We decided to go with a 4-wheel design for the drive train next semester
  • We discussed having more specific and outlined roles for everyone on the team so it is very clear what everyone contributed to the team
  • We want to have our decision making done as soon as possible so we can immediately begin ordering parts and begin testing halfway through the semester.

We are confident in what we have done this semester and decided to work on next semester. The report and OSF repository of our work this semester is now public.