2018-11-20 (Tu) Magnet Fish Spectacular COMPLETE

In the third post about Magnet Fish Spectacular, I used photos from Angeliki to describe the Hackathon and our team's deeds there. This post will use my pictures and describe the work I did for the team and show the things I did to get a motor turning.

Enough background

I was the first person to arrive in the morning, and I had a lot to unload from my car. The picture below shows the first load which included the kiddy pool, motor and mount, tools, supplies, and my computer. Transporting the pool was easily the most difficult and the largest item I saw anyone bring for the hackathon.

First carload

My portable battle station for the day was my trusty laptop, homemade keyboard, and a gaming mouse. For the sake of ergonomics, the laptop was propped up on some supply cases, and a rogue fish kept an eye on me.

Battlestation for the day

The event was well attended with fifteen active groups all presenting, working, collaborating, and competing for I intended twelve hours. The pano shot below was taken during the morning presentations where each team sends someone to the front to talk about the project being made.

Room pano

Angeliki, our captain, had her hands in every task of the day, from programming, and organizing, to making a foam crown for one of the fish. Later, the fish got elaborate eyes and a decorated crown.

Angeliki: fish fashionista

My work for the hackathon was concerned with controlling a twelve-volt motor and the hardware to support it. My intention was to have some notable hardware to show and I decided that an electrical control box with arcade buttons would be a nice melding of the practical with the fun. Unfortunately, I drilled one of the holes too large, and it was possible for the button to fall right through.

Oversized hole and a switch falling through it

In my favorite hack of the day, I was able to take one of the arcade button nuts and put it on backward so it would not fall through the hole and another nut came from behind to hold the switch in place. This lead to an elevated switch which looked like it was simply there to be more accessible.

Three ordinary switches and an elevated switch

Another feature I wanted to add was a foot switch which would start and stop the motor with a tap of the foot. I already owned the foot switch, and I brought a blank electrical box and cover where it could be mounted. The blank cover was drilled for the switch with an electric hand drill.

Electrical box drilled for a food switch

The H-bridge, which regulates the power going to the motor as directed by the controller, was mounted to the side of the electrical box. The steel box made a sturdy mounting location. Long stand-offs were chosen to hold the H-bridge in place and keep ventilation through the heat sink on its underside. The picture shows the mounts in place while the H-bridge is partially turned.

Mounting the H-bridge

All the power components were mounted to the motor base. Wood screws were used inside the electrical box, right, and metric machine screws were used on the power supply, left. The machine screws were selected and purchased before the hackathon.

Mounted power equipment

With the power hardware sorted, it was time to move onto the control hardware. An Arduino Pro Mini was selected because there were a lot stocked, and it wouldn't be necessary to recover it after the hackathon. A protoboard, with room to spare, was taken from stock and given some header pins to make switch connection, and reconfiguration easy. Wiring to the switches was accomplished by taking DuPont wires and placing crimped ends where they would connect to the switches. The controller would be installed in the same enclosure as the switches.

Controller board and switches

More header pins were added to the protoboard, but instead of connecting these directly to Arduino pins, they were connected to some long wires which were going to be run to the remote hardware, like the foot switch and H-bridge. Extra wires were run to be safe. The intention was to place DuPont jumpers between these header pins and the header pins connected to Arduino IO.

Remote wires installed

A lot of hardware had amassed since the start of the hackathon but it was all talking and it could be cleaned up. Wires were bundled and tucked into enclosures. By the end, the hardware was respectable looking. Sadly, I don't have a good picture of that, so the shot below is a gathering of the messy hardware.

An unruly gathering of motor control hardware

As shown in an earlier post, the motor was powerful enough to turn the platform, but the traction was too low and slippage was a severe problem. Angeliki and Ryan put on a nice demonstration for the camera, as seen below.

Team Magnet Fish Spectacular takes to the camera

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

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5

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