Sunday, November 20, 2011

BatchPCB Windows Gadget

After obsessionally refreshing BatchPCB's stats page I got the idea that a Windows Gadget would be perfect and would let me see the latest stats at a glance. This was my first attempt at a gadget but decided to try my hand at it this past Saturday afternoon/evening. I was supposed to be working on my code for Sbot 1 but wanted to see if I could do it. After lots of Googling and trying various things here is what I came up with. Simple but it works.

You can download version 1.0.0 here:

BatchPCB Gadget

The only limitation is it only shows the first panel. If there are more in the queue like on the weekend or evenings it doesn't show them. I haven't figured out how to search for more results when parsing the site. If you can help let me know.

SparkFun Forum Posting

If you find any bugs or have suggestions, post them in the comments below.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Special Post - Life Changing Weekend

I don't usually post about my personal life as this blog was created to document my hobbies and projects but this past weekend warranted a post.

A few weeks ago my partner and I had Veterans day off so we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to getaway for the long weekend. We decided to take a trip to Santa Barbara. During our travels from southern to northern California, we make it a point to stop there. It has become our "spot." We've wanted to plan a weekend trip to the area for quite some time but we never had the time or the funds (robotics add up!). While there, our plans were to do some hiking, wine tasting, and tour the city overall. But I also had another agenda. Something that I had planned for awhile but I just hadn't found the right opportunity. This gave me the motivation to make sure this weekend trip transpired. The best part:  she was planning the trip which gave me the perfect cover! I just had to figure out the rest.

Back at it

After a long break I am back at it and time to make some serious progress, on Sbot 1 anyway.

Since coming back from my Ohio trip, I had yet to come to a solution with Sbot 2, so I decided to take a break from it. Well, a few months have passed and I have returned to Sbot 1. I decided to finalize and polish it as a finished robot.  (If there is such a thing as a completed robot, ha!)

About 2-3 weeks ago, I decided I wanted to learn Eagle CAD so I needed a simple project to get me going. I took a look at my Sbot 1 and decided it could use a custom PCB to remove all the jumper wires that make up the connections now. I figured this would be a simple circuit and would get me familiar with Eagle CAD. Well was I wrong about it being simple! It's nothing complex but I ended up adding more to it. I am really happy with the design. During the process I ended up reevaluating the power system and the whole framework. After doing some research I decided to covert it to a 3.3 volt system instead of 5 volts. Unfortunately this would require basically replacing most of the electronics on the robot. I decided it was worth it and that it would make a really nice completed robot platform. Plus, I can have fun coding.