2014-08-14 (Th) Arduino Powered Tattoo Machine Controller

The Arduino Uno in the tattoo machine controller was connected to the laptop with a standard USB printer cable. The power supply was temporarily left disconnected so the tattoo machine would not operate. When connected and switched on the voltage could be read on the display and the tattoo machine would operate as before. The revised program was downloaded into the controller’s memory which was evidence by the change in screen readout. Sometimes the armature bar would not move but a magnetic field could be sensed with an implanted magnet.

 Controller hooked up to laptop

Connected to PC but not power supply
Connected to PC and power

Operating albeit poorly

 Sensing magnetic field with implanted magnet

In order to get useful numbers many program variables had to be converted from integers to floats. To streamline debugging a single combination of variables was chosen. 86 punctures per second at 39% duty cycle. The calculations for this combination were worked out on paper and the significant results were written in colored ink. Variables were checked against the paper results and found to be accurate. The operation of the machine was still not usable. As hypothesized before it may be better to change the time the SSR is held high as a number between 0.00625 seconds (1/160Hz) and 0.016 seconds (1/60Hz). Changing the duty cycle changes the time held high as the speed changes. The next code revision should use two potentiometers and instead of altering the speed and duty cycle then calculating the time on and time off the potentiometers would be directly mapped into timeON and timeOFF. This would allow for better sculpting but with less control which is unimportant at this stage. A 12volt light should be purchased to test how well the PWM is sculpted. Ideally an incandescent and L.E.D. would both be tested.

 Machine set to 86 punctures per second at 39% duty cycle

Calculations for 86 punctures per second at 39% duty cycle

Debugging text 1. Only speed and duty cycle is visible
 Debugging text 2. No working variables

Debugging text 3. More non-working variables

Debugging text 4. Visible but inaccurate variables

Debugging text 5. Some variables in range

To do:

  • Write 2 potentiometer code
  • Buy 12VDC light bulbs
  • Further test duty cycle program
  • Debug duty cycle program
  • Determine upper frequency limit at a given voltage

 Journal page 1

Journal page 2


The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

A list showing of all the final posts of COMPLETED projects.


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