Thursday, 25 August 2011

So the long network was more problematic than I had initially though (in that it doesn't work). I took a spool of 200M of cat5e cable, crimped two ends and connected my computer to network and at first it looked good (flashing lights) but it would only stay connected for a a few seconds then would drop out. I tried forcing 10mbit and it would stay connected but i was unable to log into the router or ping any other computer. I thought of trying with cat6 but didn't really want to buy a box if i wasn't sure it was going to work. I guess I will have to use wifi if i want networking to the stand. I am going to try some range tests with wifi and see if I can get 300m range from a router wit default settings/antennas. If I can't i will have to go to directional antennas. I still think a wifi network will be more reliable than the xbee just because a nework has allot more redundancy built into it. 

The USB network server arrived the other day and works really well. I thought it might not work too well with a usb-serial chip but it worked first time which I was really happy about. The software is quite basic (which is good) and after installing it I was able to connect the FTDI chip on the Arduino to my computer and program over the network. Another feature I like is that different computers can connect to the usb device (only one per port) so we can have a few people monitoring the different webcams while I concentrate on the control program. 

I decided to go with proper motor controllers for the valve motors the other day (over relays) as it will allow me to have much more control over them. Previously i was only able to send about a 5ms pulse which was about 1/8th of a turn but with the controls i won't even need to pulse the valves as I will be able to vary their speed. Eventually i hope to have a control system using the feedback data to actuate the valves so all i will need to do is select a position and the valve will go to it. I ordered a nice 2A dual motor controller. The other advantage is everything will be much neater as I eliminate 4 relays and the controller is quite compact.

I have also been working on the safety operational plan. Writing it was quite a daunting task as it needs to cover allot but I started with some checklists and have been building from there.

We have also secured a slightly closer test site (1/2 hour drive). If all goes to plan I would like to have everything finished  by next weekend for a test the following saturday or sunday. Last time we were rushing to get everything finished and this time I would like to have a week to clear my head and double check everything is %100 operational.

No comments:

Post a Comment