Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coop door gravity-latch complete

Ahh, after a hardware run for some sleeves, nuts, and bolts, followed by some bandsaw work and time on the drill press, I've got a working door slide. Next step is to get the end-stop switches mounted and adjusted.

Here is the coop door about 1-1/4" from full close. Note the latch and puck positions:

Here is the coop door closed and latched:

Here is an overall view of what I have done so far:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To the cyclist whom I was on a collision-course with today:

(I'm about to head out and post a laminated version of this on the Stop Sign)

To the cyclist whom I was on a collision-course with today:


First of all: I’m sorry I called you an *$$hole. Your middle-finger-salute got me riled.

I was peeping my horn to let you know that we drivers have the right of way at this intersection, that cyclists have the stop-sign, and that I’m coming through. The stop sign is here for a reason.

You see, drivers are turning left off of SR-169. Which, being a 2-lane highway, offers very few windows of left-turning opportunity. Things happen quickly here; often with slick roads, limited visibility, and the threat of a deadly head-on collision.


Look, we don’t expect you to stop here all the time. Many drivers understand cyclist conservation of human (and fossil) energy (thank you). But, please, look over your shoulder to see if traffic is coming. If you see someone turning, PLEASE, STOP, or modify your trajectory so drivers can worry about avoiding head-on collisions on the highway as well as avoiding hitting you. We’re squishy little meat-popsickles too you know!

However, I have to re-iterate the bottom line: Cyclists have the stop-sign here. Period.

So, not only are Newton’s laws on our side; the State’s laws are too.

I respect cyclists (I own and occasionally ride a bike as well). I humbly ask that you respect we others who use this dangerous intersection daily.

Thank you,
-That person in a vehicle, whom you were on a collision course with

P.S. To those who already stop: Thank you. I salute you.
P.P.S: PEDESTRIANS, please don’t play in the intersection. It’s a blind corner too!

Coop door construction underway...

In the image below, you can see the door slides, the door, and the two swinging latch blocks. The latch blocks are only laying in place right now. They will be hinged at their outside-top corners to allow them to swing in and out of the latch notch in the door slides.

The string will then be attached to a hockey-puck shaped piece of wood, which will left both latches, causing them to swing out of the way. The latch blocks will then be stopped by another block attached to the door (not shown), which will then cause the string to lift the door.

The point of this is that the door cannot be opened without lifting it by the string. Raccoons beware!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Drill, turned door winch, in test mode...

Most of the code is written and stable enough to continue on with permanently connecting the drill UI and ESC to the Seeeduino. The speed ramps up and then ramps down again, staying in slow until it finds the stop-switch. I'm going to look at using the feedback from the ESC, but I don't know if it will be reliable enough. I'll have to put it under the scope before I do anything.

Monday, April 12, 2010

WiFi Chicken Coop Door Opener in a Drill

Not much time to write at the moment, put the pictures should tell most of it...

Wifi enabled arduino clone "BlackWidow 1.0", combined with a polulu MC33887-based 2.5A speed controller. I was going to build my own, but we need to finish the project. The hens wait for no one. Well, right now, they wait for us. Well, Pam, mainly. :-)


View of speed-controller, motor, and trigger-button wiring (why not use the trigger and fwd/lock/reverse switches as inputs?):

Close-up of pull-up and pull-down resistors to drive analog inputs with three possible states, 0v, 2.5v, and 5v, giving appropriate values around 0, 512, and 1023.

I love re-using PC cables, and this one will work perfectly as a header cable for the Black Widow board. I have a Seeeduino in place to show how completely lucky I got... The board fits where the batteries were!

I'll then just use the DC charge jack as the main power input from the solar-charged gel-cell:

A close-up of the Black Widow with wifi board:

That's all for now.

What's next?

Hardware: temporary install plugging fanout wires into BlackWidow headers. Will be permanently soldered after beta code version.

Hardware: USB socket for field reprogramming. Unfortunately, I don't think the BlackWidow can program itself via wireless (yet). USB Will be it.

Coding: onboard webpage for manual controls, atomic-time retrieval, and time-based scheduling.

Coding: drill trigger/direction UI for manual operation

BTW, I came up with this idea on my own and then Pam discovered like minds. I like their design for its simplicity, but it won't have soft-start PWM speed control!