Small victories

Posted on February 17, 2011

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If you are an R&D hobbyist like me, you know how difficult it is to maintain your motivation in the absence of practical results. So the trick is to build something often, and no matter how small, celebrate it loudly. 🙂 This is the account of my current status.I’ve also updated the Resources page with links to my code repositories as well as a few other goodies about Sustainable Design, check it out! 🙂

First, due to some brainstorming done with my growing team of highly motivated consultants (you know who you are!) I’ve switched the third wheel from the back to the front, effectively transforming the SoapBox from a “tadpole” into a “delta” type of trike. This helps making it more stable during hard braking, and it won’t hurt much in the remaining situations. A typical tricycle is more stable in curve if it is a “tadpole” type, but this is not a typical tricycle… 😉 I’ve also made another back for the seat which is now lighter, stronger, and more comfortable, and I’ve put the mass centre much closer to the main axle. Of course, the mass centre can only be determined definitively with all the components installed, including the batteries – but the driver’s butt should be close to the main axle, that’s for sure.

You will notice that all the electronics have been stripped off the SoapBox, and even one motor is missing. This is done while waiting for the new electronics, and the missing motor is being used to test that in the lab bench.

Now for the lengthy and boringly uninteresting video descriptions. 😉

Here’s the DiffTrike control system I’ve been building in the last few weeks. There’s the video description of the system components…

The DC-DC converter was custom built by my electronics wizard friend NJay (of embeddeddreams.com fame), who is also developing the H-Bridge power boards with which I will control the electric motors. But while he doesn’t get me something to play with, I have to stick with blinking LEDs. 🙂

And now a demonstration of the small but significant results…

The source code of my software (currently implemented in Python) is, as usual, available in a public repository with an Open Source license (GPLv3). You can download the latest zip or tarball or clone the project and contribute some changes through Git.

Well, that’s all, folks! 🙂 Keep hacking!!

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