February 2007 Summary

I just realized that it’s been a while since I’ve blogged – Work has been busy and I have a trip planned for next week, so R2 progress has been slow. I’ve also been blocked waiting on a few dome parts, so I’ve been in planning mode more than anything or tinkering with electronics.

The good news is that I’ve now got the majority of parts either in hand, on order or know that there will be runs very soon. Unfortunately I’m still waiting on the aluminum frame run to be announced. Without a frame, it’s hard to work on anything other than the dome, which is all cut out and waiting parts.

The Rear and Front Logic Surrounds from Wayne and Doug, and the RobArt hinges for the dome panels should be arriving in the next week. Once I get them I should be able to move forward and glue the dome together and get some of the electronics installed and maybe even paint the dome.

The front logic from Doug is one piece that replaces the whole front logic panel on the R&J dome and has easy mounting for the electronics and bezels. I’d originally planned on going with the traditional two piece surrounds (which I have in hand), but I really like the one piece design.

I was tempted to start painting the dome and polishing some pieces last week, but this would make the dome harder to handle and I could easily see me having to repaint things after I’m done installing the electronics, hinges, periscope kit etc. It’s also been rainy the last few weeks which would effect the paint process.

Other good news is I’ve done some programming test on the Vex controllers and successfully tested my idea of using a cheap 12 channel RF remote (that people are using to trigger R2 sounds) to allow me to expand the number of channels/functions on the basic Vex RC transmitter.

As I’ve mentioned before I’m hoping to have more than simple forward/reverse and dome rotation, and by my estimate I can easily see me needing to control 15+ devices in the future (lights, motors, servos, doors/hatches, 2-3-2 etc.) , and from what I’ve read many of the builders who have a lot of things to control use expensive Futaba RC setups that can easily cost in excess of a $1,000. I’m hoping to get similar or better flexibility for less than $500 by using multiple Vex micro controllers, an RF remote and some C programming.

The plan is to use 2 Vex Micro controllers in the body giving me access to at least 16 motors or devices, and I’ll have a 3rd Vex in the Dome to control the things like periscope, lights and HP rotation/twitching. I guess I should draw up a diagram to try and explain all this and get it clear in my head :)

Oh! and while I remember, one of the catches on the Vex controllers is that they use male Futaba J-type connectors. From what I gather most other RC manufacturers use female plugs to connect servos/motors etc to the controllers, but the Vex uses male. Of course Vex Labs sells them, but like a lot of their accessories they’re really expensive. The good news is I found a place that sells Do-it-yourself kits to make your own Futaba J-plugs/connectors at a fraction of the cost.

So, this month has been more planning than anything. I’m hoping when I get back from my trip that in March I get more time to work on the dome.

In summary here’s a breakdown on parts status

New bits this month or arriving soon –
Extra Vex Controllers
Speed Controllers
12 channel RF remotes
Futaba cables and plugs
12V Batteries for dome and feed motors
Satellite Motors for leg rotation
Alu Foot Cable Fittings
Alu Octagon Ports
Alu Large Data Port
Alu Front Vent Surrounds
Alu Vent Insert Kit from Dave E
Alu Side Booster Leg Struts
Alu Rear and Front Logic Surrounds
Alu Leg Hubs (DroidStuff)
Alu Booster Covers (DroidStuff)

Things on ordered –

Alu Skirt (JAG)
Inner and Outer foot detail (Waterset/TomD)
Outer Feet (JAG)
Alu Skins (John S)
Alu Battery Harnesses (Wayne)
Alu Holo projectors

Things I still need –

Body/Frame (running coming soon)
Ankles (JAG run soon)
Center Foot (JAG run in the spring)
Foot Cylinders and wedge (Waterset run coming soon)
Ankle Detail (Waterset run coming soon)

Posted by Chris on February 14th, 2007 in Update | No Comments