My latest project has been to build my own Quadcopter.
I spent a while researching in late 2015, got some parts for Christmas, and have been building since. As you can see from the costings graph above, my main expense was the RC transmitter, as I decided to go for one that supports telemetry. For a flight controller, the Arducopter project appealed to me as it uses completely open source software and hardware, so I can customise/hack any part of it I like. I chose an S500 frame as it’s suitable for aerial photography but not too large, and it comes with a PDB (Power Distribution Board), which makes cable management a lot easier.
It had its maiden flight today, and now that it’s working in its most basic form I’m looking forward to adding a camera, and having a fiddle with the source code 🙂
Recently I was given an old CD player that wasn’t needed anymore. I decided to hack the electronics, and turn it into a clock (because what else would you turn an old CD player into?). I attached an LCD screen to the CD tray to display the time, and wired it up to an arduino.
I had decided that I wanted the clock to slide out the CD tray and display the time on the LCD when it heard a clap from someone in the room, so I hooked up a simple electret Mic. I also wanted the sound threshold at which the clock triggered to be adjustable, so I traced some PCB tracks and probed terminals until I found the connections to the buttons on the front panel of the CD player. I then hooked these up to the arduino with some pullup resistors.
Next I figured out how to control the opening/closing of the CD tray, so I found the relevant terminals on the old PCB and soldered them to an arduino motor shield. I attached a Real Time Clock to make sure the time was accurate.
Finally I put it all together and wrote some simple software. Demo in the video above!
I recently undertook a month of work experience at Vitec, one half of which consisted of me shadowing engineers in their jobs and spending time in each department – mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software, testing etc.
The other half of the time, I was allowed to use the company’s resources to build a project of my choice.
I chose to build an IoT chess board; a physical chess board that interfaces with online chess. Details can be found here.
Every morning and night a member of my family has to go outside and open/close the hatch on our chicken coop. In the winter it can be a pain doing it at late at night and early in the morning.
To solve the problem, I wrote an Arduino program that periodically read an LDR and moved a servo attached to the hatch at the appropriate level of darkness.
Unfortunately, our chickens died before I had a chance to install the system, but it was fun developing it.