Thursday, January 28, 2010

Project #2

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Intermediate Trails Final

Today I finished the Intermediate trail setup.  All of the matrixes are mounted in their housings and everything is wired in the order they will appear on the sign.  I should be able to get all of the other signs built this week and then we'll just have to mount them,solder all of the final connections and bring it outside.  I think it's looking good though.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Build process begins

Yesterday I completed building all of the rear portions of the signs.  Today I've marked all of the drill locations for the fronts and hopefully will head over to carpentry to use the drill press later today or tomorrow.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Arduino Mega, with Serial1, wireless and memory card, plus enclosure

So today I got the arduino mega hooked up, ran the wires to the spi inputs for the Mega (53,52,51,50), attached a shield so after I do my final tests I can solder the wires in permanently, hooked up the xbee and 18 led matrixes.  It's working great, on external power it boots up everytime and read the memory card data and the pushed to the displays. Also, yesterday all of the pieces for my housing came in.  TAP Plastics did a great job of cutting everything and keeping everything organized.  Now we'll just need to create a template for drilling the holes, and start assembly.  Is that a light at the end of the tunnel I see?

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Micro SD Trials and Tribulations

So I decided I needed some sort of fall back plan if the wireless system to the sign goes down for a significant period of time. While browsing the internet I came across this MicroSD shield from .  I thought it would be just as easy and hooking up a few wires and bam I'd be saving away on the card.  Well it should have been.  But I struggled all day with this. I could get it to recognize the card, finally I was able to write to the card with the library that sparkfun had on their site.  However I couldn't read to it. I found all sorts of great libraries for FAT16 file systems out on the internet, but most had the wiring to the arduino done differently.  Even if I went into the code of the library to change the pin setup it still wouldn't work.  I couldn't understand why sparkfun had the final pin to the micro SD holder go to pin 8 instead of 10 like everyone else.  So this morning I rewired the shield to my arduino and low and behold we're writing and aving info just like that.  Almost made yesterday worth it, almost.  I wouldn't hesitate purchasing the shield from sparkfun I would however be aware that it isn't going to sit properly on top of your arduino.  You'll have to think of some other wiring system.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Some Light Reading

These are 4 books that have really helped my understanding of electronics and wireless communication.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Design for LED Housing

Here is a quick sketch of how each sign will be built. The back part (smaller) will be mounted to the sign. I will mount the LED boards to the front section, then slide it over the smaller once and secure them togther. When finished we will have 6 different sized housing from 6 LEDs to 1 LED. Placing an order with TAP Plastics today

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Monday, January 4, 2010

2 sets running wireless

I've got the beginner and intermediate trails running and parsing their select data from the wireless feed. It seems like power will not be and issue at all.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010


So I spent the 2nd half of the day cleaning up my code and adding a few more matrixes. We're up to 16 running off of one Arduino Delimouve. Power seems steady everything is at the same lighting level. Pretty psyched. So with the big map I'll either have to use a 2 Megas (one for green and one for bolue trails, as they have more that 16 trails statuses that we display) or find out if I can use the analog pins to drive the matrixes also. I have doubts about that one. Tomorrow I'll probably hook a mega up and try to hook up another set of 4. Final step of this project will be
1. Figure out layout of all 3 boards
2. Finalize housing for system
3. Finalize wireless process
4. Create code from snow reporting system to update the sign
5. Hard wire everything and mount.

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