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Mar 96

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Date: Sunday, 10-Mar-96 09:24 PM

Subject: Nashua Robot Builders March Newsletter

Nashua Robot Builder's March Newsletter

Hi all,

This month we had a really good meeting, three new people showed up, Jay Francis showed off his modifed Tyco car (now computer controlled), I showed off my new pen-laser, and we made firm plans for a contest this June.

Lets welcome Quentin Lewis, Peter Reilley, and Josh Baker. Several regulars came including Matt Cross, Jay Francis, and Ken Williams. I'm really glad that several people now come regularly since it makes for real continuity in the club. Thanks guys!

Jay Francis got to show off is computer controlled Tyco Rebound car. This is a four-wheel drive RC car thats fast and maneuverable with very oversized wheels. Jay plucked out the RC part, figured out the motor drive connections, and added a 68HC11 based computer to control it. This month it drove around the local proving ground (my kitchen) using its IR distance
sensors and avoiding walls, 'fridge and even people. Jay did a pretty good job of keeping his 'bot from flipping over by carefully controlling motor speed during the turns. Thanks for the show Jay.

Small lasers are neat toys and I've wanted one for years. All Electronics now has them for only $40 (batterys included!) so I splurged and bought one. I'm pretty happy with it, its the size of a fat magic marker with a little pen-clip and small button to click it on. It goes really far too, I've bounced it off the snow a couple of backyards away at night with no problem. For robots, you could use a little
piece of mylar and a voice coil to reflect the light anywhere you like and use it as a very focused object detector or set up a robot laser tag game and "beam" your opponent. Anyway you like it, its fun.

Matt Cross brought his Game Boy but not to play games on. He's found ways to take it apart and is thinking of converting it to a robot controller or other hand held display. We all thought it was pretty neat to look inside one and actually see whats inside. Matt says its a modifed Z80 CPU core with a bunch of SRAM. Games come in EPROM modules which some folks have reverse
engineered and can write their own programs for now. Pretty neat in all.

OK, we've wanted to do a contest for quite a while at NRB but since its our first event we'd kinda like to keep it small and for people who show up at meetings. If you'd like to be in on the contest, come to at least two meetings. Its a simple line following contest just
about anyone should be able to manage.

I found out why my BASIC stamp didnt work at the last meeting, I tried to run the Stamp software under Windows! As soon as I exited Windows and ran it under DOS, it ran fine. I think that they're doing a serial port in software and doing some fancy timeing to get the bit times right which would get messed up running under Windows. O well, live and learn!

Next meeting is Sat, April 13 at 1pm my place in Nashua, NH.

We'll be finalizing the contest rules and dates, picking a window shade and tape width for the contest and hopefully doing some new stuff too.

Hope to see you there!

-John C.

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