ARRL: TI-1 Day 3 and Day 4   Leave a comment

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Teacher Institute (TI-1) Day 3 and Day 4 involved programming a microcontroller. I had done some programming in PBASIC on my STAMP II board, and we used a similar configuration in this class.

At first, we practiced using the language and lighting LEDs. I built a quick routine that I called the “Rio Rancho Stoplight.” This is from my experiences running back to Intel after break.

Notice how the red light is significantly longer than any other color? Also, notice how quickly the yellow light expires. This is a revenue booster for the police, as you can enter an intersection with a green light and likely still get ticketed for running a red light.

After playing with LEDs, we played with a speaker, and then started programming a BOE-BOT robot. In order to get the robot working, we first had to find the center of two continuous servos. This was my first time working with a servo.

Once the servos were working, and the robot was assembled, we tried to use dead-reckoning to navigate a maze on the floor. I was pretty close to getting it complete, making it through most turns.

After that, we installed a board that had infrared transmitters and sensors for range finding. Each robot had a switch that could choose between modes of operation- “Avoid” mode would try to maximize the distance between itself and everything else. “Follow” mode would find a moving object and tail behind it. There was also a mode for controlling the robot with a TV remote. Putting it all together, we put all robots in follow mode, except one that was in “TV Remote” mode. This was the result.

Then, we put them all in TV remote mode.

This was a great experience. If you have teachers in your life who might be interested in learning about electronics they should apply to attend this workshop! Applications are available each February through the ARRL website.

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