Installing a Digital Readout (DRO) on a HiTorque Mini Mill

I purchased a HiTorque Mini Mill from Little Machine Shop.  I have always wanted to be able to make my own parts for Robotics and DIY projects.  I ordered a DRO kit that includes measurement scales for each of the three axis, X, Y and Z, as well as a digital display.  A DRO allows you to move all three axis on  the milling machine down to a fraction of  inch or a fraction of a millimeter. I asked Little Machine Shop to send me instructions on how to install the DRO and they sent me a Youtube link of…
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C Library for LCD displays that use the HD44780 interface, Part 2

Let us continue with reviewing the hd44780 LCD library code examples. Please refer to the previous post for links to the source code and an explanation of what we are working on. We will now look at the next code example: Code Examples CursorPosition.c   Note:  In the above image, the lines that start with ‘0’ and ‘1’ are line one. The lines that start with ‘2’ and ‘3’ are line two. The display I have is an ERM2004-1.  It supports two 40 character lines split across 4 20 character lines on the display. If you have not done so, refer…
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C Library for LCD displays that use the HD44780 interface, Part 1

Hello all, I have started working with Texas Instruments MSP430 value line micro controllers.  I still enjoy working with Ardunio but I can pick up a 16 bit TI MSP-EXp430G2  for $9.95. Texas Instruments is a large company and has really embraced the DIY, maker community.  Their online support and documentation is fabulous. https://store.ti.com/MSP430-LaunchPad-Value-Line-Development-kit-P2031.aspx I started getting familiar with the chip architecture for the above MSP430.  What better way to learn about the chip then to write some code. I have a few LCD display lying around and decided that this would be a good project to develop. In doing some digging out…
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Analog Fix for Nordic Track Exercise Bike

The other night I was riding my NordicTrack Bike and all of a sudden the display quit and the tension on the peddles went slack. The wife has been on me for quite some time to start exercising as I sit behind the computer the major part of the day. So I decided to take the thing apart and see If I could trouble-shoot what was causing the control and display not to function. I will get into showing you the tear down shots later. Right off of the bat I thought, cool if the controller is shot I could…
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Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Download Files

Apparently Radio Shack has changed the link to where you can download the program code for the Make:it Robotics Starter Kit.  I will put the zip file here on my site so everyone can download the files directly from my blog site. WordPress does not allow the uploading of .zip files so I renamed the file as Program_Files.doc. To download just click on the below link.  Once downloaded just double click on the files to unzip or rename .doc to .zip, if you want to keep the .zip file for archive and cannot remember that the extension name change. Enjoy…
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Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Sending Sensor Data Wirelessly

In this blog post we are going to take what we learned in “Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Wireless Connectivity” and “Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Capturing Sensor Data” and combine this data to capture sensor data in real time and send this data to a program running on our computer wirelessly. So if you do not have your robot configured to use the Transmitter and receiver, take a look at the blog post “Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Capturing Sensor Data” and re-configure your robot and FTDI cable. In order to send sensor data to our computer we again…
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Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Wireless Connectivity

In this blog post we are going to take the information that we learned in the earlier blog post entitled “Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Software Part 2″ and capture real time sensor data and send this data wirelessly to our computer. In order to complete this section we need to purchase a few items: RF Radio Transmitter and Receiver, (5 volt, not a 3.3 volt) Male Female jumper wires In addition we will need our FTDI USB cable, or a FTDI USB dongle. I did a bit of searching on the web and found a RF Data Module Tx/Rx…
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Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Driver board Familiarization

In this blog post we will take a look at the driver board that comes with the Make:it Robotics Starter Kit. There is no documentation that comes with the Start kit concerning the Driver board other than the schematic. Unless you have some experience reading schematics the task of understanding what is on the driver board and how to use it beyond the kits that Radio Shack provides might be a bit daunting. So we are going to show some images of the driver board and the schematic and point out some of important parts and map these to the…
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Make:it Robotics Starter Kit – Binary Part 2

In the last post we started analyzing the bitwise operations in the lineFollow.ino sketch. We looked how the sensor readings are interpreted to make the robot go forward. In this tutorial we are going to continue our analysis in looking how the lineFollow.ino program interprets when the black in under the left sensor. By again referring to the output from our readOptical.py Python program when the third and fourth sensor readings are 0x00 and 0x100. (refer to the readOptical.py program if you need a reminder. We will again start at the top of the for loop again: optValues = [0xff,…
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