Electronics, computing and general hacking

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Ben Cooper 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #13054

    Ben Cooper

    Anybody interested in building electronics, coding, or robotics?

    I am currently making a small ‘photovore’ robot. It has a simple micro controller circuit (a bit like an Arduino) with two servo motors to drive the wheels. I had to hack the servos to enable them to rotate continuously (They are only supposed to rotate 180). I am using light dependent resistors as the main sensors.

    I am almost done, just need to assemble the chassis, and program it. I will link a video when done, but here are some of the early stages.

  • #13061


    That’s pretty cool, what’s it for? What do you mean by ‘hack the servo’?

  • #13084

    Ben Cooper

    In a general sense its just for fun really. I am doing it to learn and apply skills in mechanics and programming. Robots are awesome and doing little projects like this are great for the CV.

    The Robot itself is not really ‘for’ anything but I suppose it will be quite similar to one of those automatic vacuum cleaners. I guess I could strap a dust buster to it and let it venture around the living room!

    When I say ‘Hack’ I mean taking one thing and modifying it to do something it is not designed for or supposed to do. In the case of the servo, which is a small motor than can rotate to a specific angle (within a 180 degree range) I had to modify it to run continuously in both directions so it can drive some wheels. I did this by removing a mechanical stop in the gears and tricking a sensor into thinking that a required angle is never met, e.g. Ask it to go to say -45 degrees, the gears rotate in that direction, but the sensor never notices that it has arrived so the gears just keep going indefinitely. You can just buy motors that do what you need, but that is no fun!

    A great example of this type of hacking came up on twitter yesterday. Some guy in Cambridge is controlling an electric skateboard with a nintendo wii remote!

    I have previously installed windows on an apple TV and also Mac OSX on a Dell laptop. I would like to do some smart home projects too, adding bluetooth to the coffee machine and the curtains!

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