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Make Life Accessible

19 Posts authored by: dougw Top Member
This update to the Clear Walk project is to demonstrate its performance in the snow, but first I should show the android app I made to run this test. Note it is in the style of Star Trek LCARS because the Clear Walk system is also the "Main Deflector" in my Star Trek Alcove project. I have been itching to try out the Clear Walk system, but it never seems to be sunny when I have time to work on it. We have lots of snow, but today was the first day that had sunshine while I was at home. So I wen ...
I have to squeeze in one more update before I have to drive to Boston. The video below shows the fully functional Clear Walk system, with mirrors installed,  capable of redirecting sunlight anywhere it is needed under remote control. It could be an icy walkway or driveway that needs to be cleared, or it could be an indoor plant (redirecting sunlight through a window), or it could be some laundry hanging on a line. Here is a close-up of the electronics module showing the Bluetooth module, t ...
The Clear Walk system is finally fully operational under battery power. I have packaged the electronics in a small case which can be mounted on the frame. You can see a demo of the mechanics in operation in the following video. It has been a rocky project, with all sorts of setbacks and ornery issues. This project is characterized by large efforts to make small progress and overall a major effort trying to close on a workable solution. However, it looks like it is all coming together just in t ...
It has taken months to get the Clear Walk mechanics and motors built up and functional, but only one evening to get the motor driver electronics working under Bluetooth control. Finding the H-bridge motor controller card amongst my old projects was quite fortuitous as the module I ordered has not arrived yet. It is proof that hoarding sometimes pays off. The video below is a first power up of a bread-boarded system with one motor under Bluetooth control. The Bluetooth connection can be run fro ...
This update demonstrates motorized azimuth rotation. Finally there is a fully mechanically working system. Only the mirrors need to be mounted, plus some weatherproof covers. Here is a closeup of the azimuth motor. It has a pivoting motor mount that allows the belt to be tensioned easily. I am still working on mounting the big Linix motor that took so much effort to get geared down, but I wanted to show the full mechanism as soon as possible. Next I will work on some electronics to hook eve ...
Another intense week - including 2 all-nighters trying to get the drive mechanisms designed, build and assembled. The image below has eighteen 3D printed parts, and there are more not shown. Progress in this update: I have mounted the solar panel which will keep the battery topped up. Designed and built the mirror frame from carbon fibre (hockey sticks) and 3D printed elbows Designed, built and assembled the solar panel brackets Designed build and assembled brackets to hold the elevation dr ...
It has been a very busy week at work, plus working on 3 major projects at home, plus playing in a softball tournament - so 5 softball games and 2 hockey games, each taking several hours. I did manage to get in about 12 hours on the Clear Walk project, but sleep is hard to come by. Designing and building the drive pulleys for the Clear Walk solar mirror has been quite an adventure, and a lot more 3D printing than I expected, and it isn't over yet. I still need to mount the mirrors and the motor ...
The drive train from motor to sprocket is finally approaching a viable solution. This installment adds a flex coupler to allow some eccenctricity between shafts and minimize any resulting vibration. It is getting closer to a full drive train for this motor. The next phases will involve building the pulley, mounting it to the steering column, mounting the motor/greabox to the Clear Walk frame and connecting  the two with a drive belt.   Relevant Links MLA Design Challenge   The ...
Still plugging away at getting the gear box aligned with the motor. I can sometimes get them lined up pretty well, but every time I make a tweak to try to improve it, it most often gets worse. The video below shows significant misalignment, but it is useful to show what I am fighting. The brass coupler I ordered a while ago finally came in so the connection to the gearbox is pretty clean. Also the aluminum sprocket for the gearbox arrived. It did not have a 6mm hole to fit the gearbox shaft, b ...
I have been spending entirely too much time trying to get the drive train to be functional, but I still need to devote some time to describing what I have been up to. The Linix motor is great - lots of power, but it runs between 300 and 4000 rpm. I need this speed to be reduced by a factor of about 4000 to get reasonable control and accuracy in my solar tracking application. There are nice gearboxes (like the one below) made for this particular motor, but I cannot afford them: I explored a lot ...
This blog shows the result of a lot of pondering what materials to use to make a sturdy low-cost stand to support the rotating mirror apparatus, a lot of design and pondering how to build a suitable structure given my tools and resources, and some metal bashing to put it together. It is not painted and it is not finished yet, but the hard work is done and the unknowns about the stand are history. There is still a similar amount of pondering required to design and build the dual motor drive train ...
This entry is a first exploration of the Kinetis Motor Suite capabilities, demonstrating motor reversing and sequencing through several states. Next time I will try to hook up the Hall effect sensors to see if I can work at lower speeds.   Relevant Links MLA Design Challenge   The full set of Clear Walk project blogs can be found here: Make Life Accessible ...
It took me about 33 hours to get the motor running, mostly because I had installed the latest version of Kinetis Design Studio (3.2) but it appears that Kinetis Motor Suite doesn't work with the latest KDS and it wasn't until I tried the older KDS3.0 that things started to work. Here is a short video to show that the Kinetis Motor Suite does work if the right KDS is installed:   I will have to experiment with the Kinetis Motor Suite to see how it can be used to program the motor for my app ...
There is an extensive step-by-step tutorial series on getting started with the  FRDM-KV31F Development Platform here FRDM-KV31F|Freedom Development Platform|Kinetis MCU|NXP Following through the steps and installing all the software took a couple of hours on a very fast PC - lots of steps and lots of software. Here are some of the software packages that are part of the process: Kinetis SDK 1.3.0 Mainline - Windows.exe (Kinetis Software Development Kit - 312 MB) kinetis-design-studio_3. ...
The project kit of parts to be used in the Make Life Accessible design challenge has just arrived, so I made an unboxing video to show what came in the box:       Next Steps I want to power up the BLDC motor and controller to see if my battery system can supply adequate power. I also want to get my bike frame mounted on a chassis and progress with linkages to drive motors.   Relevant Links MLA Design Challenge   The full set of Clear Walk project blogs can be found ...