First, the Whizzcopter. I'm pleased to say that updating the fimware on the flight control board has made a massive difference to the flyability of the tricopter. During this fine weather, I'm flying every couple of days or so, and havn't had a serious crash yet, although I managed to fly it completely out of the village playing field and dropped it gently into the farm field beyond. The field turned out to be waist-high with nettles and other savage plants, and it took a while to find the machine - perched vertically on the edge of a ditch with around two feet of water in it. Lucky or what?
I still havn't mastered flying it towards me, nor the execution of banked-turns-with-simultaneous-altering-of-throttle, and the dropping into the field escapade highlights the fact that when the beast is high and far away its impossible to tell height from distance. Its also surprising how much even a light wind can blow the thing about - changing the propellers for a smaller size made it better, but its still a handful in anything but almost still air. If the fine weather continues, I'll keep flying.
Then there's Sergei. After last month's exciting news item of him piloting the whizzcopter, I've had a message and picture from Alexander Orlov from Meerkovo with some sad news. The message reads as follows:-
|Grandfather clock wood pen holder|
|The fire pit in action|
I'm still doing some low-level background work on the Arduino to make it deliver information to a 'status screen' to be driven by a Raspberry Pi. The Arduino has been working fine for a long time now, turning things on and off and monitoring the status of door locks, lights, and other stuff, but the temperature sensors I used never worked properly. These were LM34s, bought to match some sample code that I found on the web, but only later did I discover that they read temperature in Fahrenheit which required the software to then convert readings into Centigrade. A bit more research, ordered a couple of TMP36s which read directly in Centigrade, hack the software about and bingo! she works. Well, sort of. The original sensors gave readings that floated all over the place, and one of the new ones does the same. Playing around with things leads me to the conclusion that the sensor works fine and that the fault is in the wiring somewhere, so the Arduino box has to come out of the rack to trace the dry joint or bad crimp. This is a bit of a trial because of all the wiring in the engine room, so I'll do this next month.
|Power supply from PC PSU|
|Table with umbrella|
Last month I built the garden table which has been a big success, especially now that the plants are getting a grip and flowering. Its also just the right height to put your feet on while sunning, excellent. With the recent fine weather it seemed a good idea to add a stand for the umbrella that has been home to several generations of mice and spiders in the shed for the past couple of years, so a bit of work with a boring bit, some scrap wood, a few screws and my little hammer produced this result. Looks good, works well, another successful junk conversion.
|Workshop floor paint job|
Last Sunday was race day, the first time I've raced the kart since last October. Near-perfect weather conditions, and a track with plenty of grip should have made for a great days racing. However, my driving was pretty poor, with whatever skills I possessed last year completely forgotten, and by the last race my neck muscles were so knackered that I couldn't control the flopping of the old bonce against the g-forces. Good fun for all that, but I need to build up the muscles a bit before next month's outing - Jon says I need to tie lead weights on my helmet, but I'm pretty sure the scrutineers will have something to say about that.
Last, a health update. Just had the third of the hormone injections and done loads of research on the best place to get the radio therapy - probably in London, and I suspect I will need to get the local wallahs in a Kytherian death grip to persuade them to refer me. I'm currently waiting for an appointment with the local oncologist to kick off that discussion: 'round one, seconds out!'...
Next month: I will have the Arduino home control box to bits and sort out the temperature sensors properly, and I'm working on some storage solutions for the various piles of metal and other important stuff in the workshop, as well as planning a clock for the garden (probably driven by an Arduino and stepper motors). I have also been thinking for some time about building a 'thousand year clock', o yes: more on this later.