Friday, 30 November 2012
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
"Special Thanks to Dr. Janna Rosales for allocating time from her tightly scheduled engineering ethics class to allow the MUN Sailbot Team to speak about recruitment on Wednesday and Thursday of this week."
Friday, 26 October 2012
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Our current electronics setup is run using a Real Time Operating System from UVic running on an ATMEGA 1280. Drivers have been written - the system works - but is rather heavily taxed by the number of things which it must do. We would like to do path planning, more sensor processing and more intelligent decision making. To that end we've been discussing the use of a more powerful processor to add the higher level of control which is the next step in our development. We chose the well maintained Arduino platform for it's ease of use, its flexibility, the soundness of hardware and most importantly the community which surrounds it. The Raspberry Pi is now a hit in the hobbyist community which sports a powerful ARM processor, a bunch of IO, several projects which integrate it with our current processor and a low cost. So as mentioned in the previous post we've purchased a couple to try them out.
Check back for updates.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
The new cpu of the new boat has been ordered!!!! The Raspberry Pi shown above is a Linux based micro-controller that is more computer than micro-controller. This cpu contains an ARM-1176JZFS processor with floating point, running at 700Mhz, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU is capable of BluRay quality playback, using H.264 at 40MBits/s. It has a fast 3D core accessed using the supplied OpenGL ES2.0 and OpenVG libraries....TRANSLATION FOR NON-COMPUTER PEOPLE.... WE BOUGHT A WEAPON OF A COMPUTER BRAIN FOR UNDER $40!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that's right under $40!
Click here for more information.
We thank Notus Electronics Ltd. for sponsoring us at the Top Sail Level! We are proud to be sponsored by such a leader in Marine Sensor technology. The company has given both in-kind donations and money towards the new boat, which is greatly appreciated by all members of the team.
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
For those who require a little more control, are afraid of storing their info here, relying on a free service or just want to use something a little more open I would suggest the open source Wordpress package, available at http://wordpress.org/download/. Installed and configured in minutes it's a fast way to get a professional quality blog started.
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
On a related note I would suggest that anyone looking for a professional level graphic design package on the cheap should check out the tools GIMP and Inkscape for scalar and vector design respectively. They are quite powerful, well maintained and documented but most importantly they are Open Source projects - worth checking out.
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
In a dramatic turn of events, and several phone calls later, our boat may very well be on a truck tomorrow and on its way back home. Turns out summer is a popular time for vacations.
We also have some lovely gifts done up for our sponsors from the past year. Thank you everyone who contributed to make this project possible. Keep an eye on your mailbox for something from MUN Sailbot.
The next few weeks we will be gearing up for Fall recruitment and fundraising. If you know of anyone or are interested yourself in being involved keep an eye out as we are planning a few events.
In completely unrelated news, sailing anarchy had this RC boat up a while back. Looks a bit like Arctica with a few differences.
Friday, 13 July 2012
We are back from Vancouver safe and sound. Those that drove out to Vancouver had a very fast drive. Driving from St. john's to Vancouver in four and half days. The total distance is close to 8000 km and includes a 4-6 hour ferry.
The competition was a great experience for the team. While we beat our score from last year, we got last place overall. However, the boat was durable and performed well under all conditions. We now have a stable platform to test code with and the mechanical and naval students can focus on a whole new build. Many of the systems which have been worked out on this build are transferable to any new boats we build. The biggest take away from the competition is to have the boat in the water early, have it in the water lots and streamline your software development cycle.
We are now waiting for the boat to finish shipping back to St. John's and revamping our fund-raising strategies for the coming year. It is an exciting time to be involved in the Sailbot class as teams are getting close to perfect scores. The competition is prime to evolve. A big congratulations to the UBC team for winning Sailbot 2012.
|Arctica Rounding the Mark|
Sunday, 27 May 2012
In the test, the actuators (winches and rudders) were working perfectly.
RC mode are well performed.
In the autonomous aspect, the boat responsed, but still needs to be implemented.
The hull is totally dry inside after the test. The boat is perfectly sealed.
Need to be done:
The jib winch need to be investigated, the motor perform weird after the boat is back.
Monday, 21 May 2012
First water test succeed!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are so excited to launch our 2012 boat, F' Arctica.
Compared to the last year's boat, the performance of this boat is significantly improved. The boat is lighter, faster, and easier to control.
Top speed: 3.4 knots.
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
However, we have other shorts. The electrical kind. Luckily our power supply is smart and decides to not turn on when there is a dead short. So for future reference, all you board designers who think you are clever and add power and ground planes on the top and bottom of your boards. Use nylon stand-offs or at least leave enough room that the aluminum doesn't cut through the solder mask and make your board think it should be summer time.
Sunday, 22 April 2012
In other news, the spreaders, shrouds and other rigging are nearing completion. All of the pieces being attached to the mast this year are being placed on sleeves which fit over the mast. This allows us to remove them for shipping, replace them if needed and keeps the structural aspects in tact. The last pieces are being bagged right now.
Monday, 16 April 2012
This year we are moving our batteries inside a waterproof (IP67+) box along with the electronics. All of the connections are made through circular connectors which have sealing glands around the wires and face seals. They're also made of plastic and quite light.
|Electrical box with circular connectors installed and motor driver board in place|
Another change this year has been to change the communication from the main controller to the motor controllers to I2C. This change allows for easy expansion. If we ever needed more motors we just add another board to the stack. Right now we can control 4 motors using PID loops with quadrature feedback. The motor drivers are rated to 12A without heatsinks and can operate up to 16V (we run at 12V). There are two Arduino pro minis on the board and each one is responsible for two motors. This division allows you to actually expand the system two motors at a time. The motor controllers provide current feedback which we use to limit the torque output (so we don't break the boat when something jams). The best part is that all the code is updated too and it works. Check out the repo here.
Stay tuned for more updates as we ramp up this week getting ready for first sea trials as the ice is off the lakes now!
|Yeah, It's a tight fit|
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Monday, 5 March 2012
(Note: Musical tastes are those of the fabrication team and are not necessarily those expressed or endorsed by this blog.)
Friday, 24 February 2012
Several issues with the use of customized optical rotary encoders for our actuators have prompted a move to a magnetic design. Hall-effect sensors and neodymium magnets give us data at an acceptable rate and allow for better mounting. A similar hall-effect sensor was used for the wind sensor. PCBs for these components already been received and we are quite happy with the results.
Not ones to waste space and add weight some excess space on these boards was used to create Sailbot key fobs, the last few of which can be purchased to help pay for future PCB orders, so give us a shout us if you'd like one. As always, to anyone interested, feel free to use these files in your own builds or contact us at munsailbot.com or via facebook for more information.
[Eagle files: http://www.filehosting.org/file/details/315904/board_and_schematics.zip ]
Thanks to everyone who worked on these designs!
|Hatch in development|
|View as will be seen from deck.|