We meet in LA about once a month in Gary's garage. That's a picture of Me and John ( I'm the one on the right) and of course Gary's taking the picture.
Ok maybe not, I'm the one on the left, John, Ted (Joe's body), and Gary...
A comment about our club and why I like it.
1. No club officers. Everyones the same. Anyone who tries to establish leadership gets tossed out on their ass (until they can behave themselves) .
2. The club focus is the Heathkit Hero line of robots ( 2000's most often ) but we're flexible. There have been sightings of RB5X's, ER-1's, Rhino's, and a strange collection of kit robot's. All are welcome.
3. There is NO agendas, No Goals, No contests, No classes (No class?), no dues(unless you want to give us money). We fix, build, and design whatever. There has also been sightings of programming. I've attended meetings (RSSC) that were painfully boring, No interaction ( with humans or robots ) and stuffy induh-viduals with no poo stink!
4. Long distance Clubbing is on line. We announce the Web address when the meeting starts. We also have a instant messager that is on line as well. We are trying to add sound next, So you can listen in on the interesting conversation and swearing that go on at our meetings.
5. It's fun! That's why we keep going back!!!
June 27th 2004 meeting.
Gary, John, and myself gathered at Gary's house where we were treated with hospitality and burgers ( Gary makes a mean meat patty ). Marie makes the best strawberry jam and banana bread with fresh coffee. We had settled in for what would be an afternoon of robot building, repairing and experimenting. Until... John and I conspired to take a Hero 1 apart for what Gary called "Sick", "Repulsive", and other words I care not to repeat. All hell broke loose.
We or maybe I ( I'll take responsibility ) wanted to incorporate some of the Evolution ER-1 hardware and software into the Hero 1 (Look into projects section for progress) to upgrade the little fellow and show case it as a cool project. Boy was I wrong....
I guess it's one thing to add something to the robot ( I.E. adding a Minibook computer to a Hero 2000, I'll explain later ) Vs. Gutting it and starting new..
I'll quote Gary from the news group:
"Kevin Goodwin is here, and I'm sorry to have to report something
horrible is taking place. Kevin has a brand new ER1 kit with cameras
and all the goodies, a great little 1.2 GHz computer about the size of a
CD and about 1.5 inches thick, and a Hero 1 body with a lot of issues
with it. He is going to GUT the Hero 1, and adapt all the ER1 stuff to
it, using the computer to run the whole thing. He'll wind up with an
ER1, an ER1 arm, cameras, IR sensors, etc, in a Hero 1 body. Neat idea,
but it's hard for me to watch a repairable Hero 1 being eviserated. Egad."
What he forgot to tell you was that it had mouse S#!T in it.
We're still friends.
August 28, 2004 meeting.
Meeting minutes from Gary:
"We are sitting here in my robotics lab, myself, Kevin Goodwin and his
son (also Kevin), and Lord Hotwing. Massive trading and cheating is
Hotwing is taking delivery of a spare Hero 2000 from me, and is checking
it out like he knows I am crooked. So far, he hasn't found the major
defects. As long as the floppy drive works properly, and loads in the
H2K DOS, I think I have him in my pocket.
I put my 33 AH battery in my H2K, and gave Hotwing the one that was in
it. The 33 AH battery was less expensive than the one that is supposed
to go in there, but just barely fits, sideways. Next I'm going to hard
wire my MaxStream RF RS232 transceiver so that I no longer need to be
connected to anything to program the robot (or use it for a remote slave
as I've been doing lately, the operating program running on a host
laptop). The range on the transceiver is 20 miles with the good
antennas, 1500 feet indoors with the antennas I'm using.
Kevin is fiddling with an H2K arm trainer and an EPROM burner. Kevin
Junior (age 13) is happily working over my Rhino robot, picking things
up with it and moving them around. I'll teach him to use it in teach
mode in awhile.
Later plans for the day include getting my printer to work on the LAN
(Hotwing's task), perhaps interface a camera into a webcam application
(we will not be removing our clothes), eat a bunch of pizza and drink
coffee. I'm personally on a quest to learn Windows programming using C,
but with all this activity I may not work on that.
If anyone has technical questions today, feel free to ask. We don't
know much individually, and not much more collectively, but we're better
Gary, Kevin and Hotwing"
That was pretty much it. I tried to give back John's arm back, but he wanted mounted on the trainer (Um... OK) I'll have pictures when I'm done. Maybe It will be the first entries into the Trainer section of the web page...
October 10, 2004 Meeting
Well... There was this HUGE Flame war on the Hero_Owners (whiner) Group and some how, our minutes or the fact we had a meeting that day was lost in the fire. Oh well. Anyway, I turned in my drawings to Gary for the new encoder wheels which I noticed there was no big interest in the newsgroup. Showed the guys the upgraded springs for the clutch assembly...
Then Got This response...
Do you happen to know a replacement source for the tension spring in
the gripper? The big spring in my gripper broke in two
pieces. :-( . Btw, what exactly is the clutch upgrade, how does
it differ from the clutch in the original robot?
Now imagine me pounding my head against a table. You can't make some people happy.
Got my new marching orders to design a Hero 1 arm case, get DOS 2.1 into a prom. ( hey Mom, no need for a floppy ). And Finally get that Nasty eprom burner going..
November 20,2004 Meeting
Meeting minutes from Gary,
"We managed to go only forward this time, which is unusual. With the
help of Hotwing, I got my new 433 MHz single board computer set up to
run under Win98, with hard drive, floppy drive and CD all connected.
Took a bit to do that, but after a day of installing, its now ready to
take over duties as remote host of my Hero 2000 project.
Kevin spent the day putting Hotwing's RB5X back together, which arrived
in pieces. As many of you will recall, Kevin more often is seen taking
robots apart rather than putting them together, so this was a treat to
watch. As usual here at the Resurrectionists Society, the robot wound
up needing things that were not immediately available. Being in a
well-equipped lab (read junky), the crew was able to scrounge a wall
wart to fill in for a 6 volt battery, the one coming from an ill Hero 1
being quite dead. A 1/2 amp glass fuse was substituted for a blown 1
amp fuse. Other miscellaneous parts were consumed in wholly improper
applications, but I missed much of it while swearing at a hard drive,
trying to coax it into formatting more quickly. After some fiddling,
and a few reversed connections, the RB5X fired up! Of course, the 1/2
amp fuse entertained us all by glowing red hot without actually burning
open. And we waxed nostalgic as we marveled at how much the RB5X sounds
like a Hero 1 (same voice chip). Kevin and Hotwing were quite pleased
with themselves after it was all over.
While watching Kevin fix the RB5X, and helping me get my SBC set up,
Hotwing configured my printer to run from a wireless device. So now I
can print from anywhere in the house. My wife noted that we don't even
need to get out of bed on the weekends anymore -- no reason now that the
printer is wireless.
At the close of the day, we all gave away some things that nobody really
wants, most of which had already changed hands between us at least once
already. I gave everyone my cold, a malady I don't want for sure. I
don't feel all that much better, since they didn't take the whole thing,
but I am at least somewhat improved.
Some time in the near future months, we'll have a web cam set up in the
Lab so you can all join us.
February 27, 2005 Meeting
There was an invasion of RB5X's at the meeting. We had robots from just the base to full up with arms. The arms are pretty nice, better than the Hero 1 in my opinion. John an I went through all the available programs for the RB5X to see how they worked in the robot. We pretty much put them through their paces. The Hero's that were at the meeting got bored and fell asleep. Once again we had Gary's mean hamburgers which are great as always. At the close of the meeting we had our assignments, some robot parts and some enthusiasm to continue on.
The July 31, 2005 meeting consisted of an assundry of robots, (RB5X's, Hero Jr's and one "UGLY" Hero 2000 arm. Gary had got the RB5X interface to Computer interface software to work and has already started plans to control the RB5X like his Hero 2000. I got work on Joe's 2K arm by recabling the arm and getting it ready to install. We attempted to web cam the whole thing but ran in to technical difficulties.. Oh and last but not least I got a new Hero Jr. from Joe. A real nice critter too.
The Sept 11, 2005 meeting was spent working on a Hero 1 and a Hero 2000 arm (can you see a theme going here). No trades happened with robots and helicopters (darn it!) but I did end up with more arm parts. Yeah... I don't get it either, but I think I know why ( or how) they multiply in my office. The steaks, yes steaks, where excellent and so was the company. There was six of us at the meeting ( growing ) including a new member and his wife ( my wife would NEVER dream of going to a "Nerdfest" as she call's it). That's pretty much it.
The October 29, 2005
Meeting minutes from Gary
Another successful meeting of the Southern California Robot
Resurrectionists Society, also sometimes called the SoCal Hero Owners
Group, was held today at my house.
Present today were Kevin, Ted, Hotwing and myself. I spent the day
determining for a fact that I did not have the right source code for
Hotwing's RB5X. Nobody but a roboticist would spend 8 hours looking for
one 16 bit address to get a sonar range, and feeling fulfilled in having
discovered that what was needed was the V 1.3 printout. And salivating
over the prospect of getting the right source and decoding the machine
language from an Intel Extended Hex listing. I can hardly wait. Sick,
there's something sick about that.
Ted has a Hero 2000 that has been essentially inoperative for 15 years.
(He has 2 actually, not sure what kind of shape the other one is in.)
Kevin has been working on the arm for it for the last couple of
meetings, but the problems with it go back at least 6 months. It was a
tough combination of a number of things that were wrong, with last
month's determination being that a rebuild kit was needed. Ted bought
one of those years ago, but just hadn't installed it yet, so he brought
it this time and Kevin set about effecting the final repairs and
adjustments. The first issue was a broken limit switch used to detect
the detent in one of the cable drums. It was mooshed, but by chance I
had two miniature limit switches in my spares case that had the same
holes and same general form factor. One got wrecked right away because
the actuation button dropped in the set screw hole and sheered off. I
was busy with other things, but heard Kevin say, "that limit switch is
not working." Multitasking between LDA, ORX, JMP, etc., and "that limit
switch is not working," I'm thinking, I should be ANDing while also
thinking, wait a minute, we just put that limit switch in. But I left
it alone because Kevin doesn't usually want any help. As long as he is
talking non-stop, everything is fine. I followed the whole thing along
in my subconscious, and heard somehow that the actuator button was
sheered off. I could smell solder as I was retrieving RB5X source from
the EPROM one PEEK at a time, so I knew a new limit switch was being
installed. Then I heard Kevin say, "that limit switch is not working"
again. I knew then that Kevin was in trouble, because he stopped
talking. Kevin can make arms work that are missing half the parts. So
I helped by suggesting to Kevin that this arm had probably gotten the
better of him and that he should perhaps just admit it and give up.
This was at 5:00 PM, and the arm had already been placed on the bottom
shelf of my workbench and everyone was packing up to go home. Kev
didn't say anything, he just sat there. Then he said, "it's not that
late, drag that arm back out here." By 8:00 the arm was back in the
robot, working for the first time in 15 years, and Kevin was a hero (again).
Hotwing spent most of his time scanning the Tiny Basic Users Manual into
his computer, and helping me try to figure things out. He now owns the
rights to an impressive array of literature about the robot that is the
focal point of his new company. He has the hardware all figured out,
but the software, while it is complete and highly usable, is in some
need of sorting. It all still runs on today's operating systems, but
will benefit from some revision, so we are working on that. Shouldn't
be too long before we have the RB5X running via radio link under the
control of Visual C++ programs on a host computer.
With this latest mechanical work by Kevin, we now have nothing left to
fix. I've been focusing my activities exclusively on programming for
the last year, Kevin has a solid background in programming from his work
in flight test, Ted knows a whole lot about the psychology and
physiology of learning, and Hotwing can generally get his Visual Basic
software to start up if he clicks the desktop shortcut enough times. So
the "Robot Ressurectionists" society is about to undergo a paradigm
change to a group dedicated to programming. We spent the last hour of
the evening discussing what intelligence is, and how a programmer might
provide a robot with an inquisitive nature and an ability to abstract.
The December 10, 2005 Meeting
When you add a wedcam there's a little interaction with the Hero_group...
Hotwing *almost* has our webcam up and running (he's had it *almost*
working for months now, but a recent breakthrough makes success a
distinct possibility this time). When we get it running, we'll send a
web address so you can watch the general confusion at this week's meeting.
Ted Spiegel has the most interesting thing going on this week: a
web-based remote control system for his Hero 2000 (running on mine
today) that runs out of a browser window. The local hardware consists
of a WiFi serial LAN (www.datahunter.com) that runs on 12 volts from the
robot, a serial cable to plug it into the robot, a Panasonic BL-C30 Net
Cam sitting on top of it running on the LAN and plugged into the robot's
12 volt supply, a LAN access point, and an old Toshiba laptop used as a
server. A friend of Ted's wrote a TCP/IP Java application (called a TCP
relay) for the server. The whole thing is up and operating, and we can
all access the Internet and control the robot and view the camera images
from a browser window.
Ted doesn't have a web site set up yet for general access, but promises
something sometime in the future for those with a Hero 2000 appetite and
a Hero 1 budget.
WebCam may be working:
If it works, you will have access to the camera controls. There are not
limits to how many people can move the camera at once, so if you see the
image moving when you log on, you might want to just watch.
There are four of us here, the fat ones are all Kevin.
There was a small incident..... But I got it running...
Kevin just had a small problem on his Hero arm trainer -- incandescence
on a circuit board. Plus smoke. Then that smell one gets from hot wire
and circuit board fiberglass. Kev is concerned.
The arm he has is part of a group of 6 he just received. Kevin and John
just bought a lot quantity of various Hero stuff, including the six arm
trainers, 18 Hero 1's, and miscellaneous parts. The SoCal Hero's club
has work to do going into the next century! Gary Livick
This picture caught me off gaurd. It is the artwork of the Lordship himself.
The January 29th meeting 2006
From Gary's announcement
If anyone has "questions for the experts," and are not too concerned
whether the answers are right or not, start saving them up. The
SoCalHero group is going to meet again on the 29th of this month, has a
webcam that works on occasion, and we take questions.
The "experts" on hand will be Dr. Joe, Ted, Kevin, Hotwing and myself.
Kevin's dad will also be here (that would be me). We also tell fortunes, and can provide endless reasons why a robot with human intelligence wouldn't be all that smart.
Some clue to what goes on: http://www.hero2000robots.com/9501.html
If other Hero people are in the area, or can get plane tickets on that
day, all are welcome at the meeting.
During this meeting there we're a couple of Demo's that took place. One was by Gary showing his robot throwing away a soda can. You may ask "So What" I can too. Well not like this. Gary's Hero 2K is controlled by a desk top through a serial transmitter. A very powerful one. 2k meters is it's range. The program on the desktop poles the Hero 2k for it's sonar data which is processed though a algorithm that maps the room and sends commands to the robot to move it to it's next location. It never runs the same path.... Very Cool!
I had a Demo showing the the remote link capabilities of the ER-1 software and hardware. How pictures, sound, commands, and manual control could be accomplished through Wi-Fi remote console control. I can also perform remote programming of behaviors over the same Wi-Fi. I'll be writing a white paper when I've completed interfacing the whole thing to one of my Hero 2k. I'll start relay more details on my web page as I progress.
Gary also demo'ed his monster Helicopter. I got a little one last weekend...
The Feb meeting 2006
SoCalHeroOwners NerdFest today
The So Cal group is meeting today, missing Hotwing and Dr. Joe. That
leaves only three of us to eat, so we didn't run out of pizza this
time. And we've also notice that without them, we have made 2/5 less
I'm debugging today, and playing with some of my new stuff (more on that
in a minute).
Ted didn't bring anything today, just his computer. Sometimes he just
likes to hang around with other Nerds. It's lonely in the world for a
techie, being that there are only about 1500 of us world wide who are
I demonstrated George Warner's C> prompt for Kevin and Ted. They are
very impressed! They had all these questions for me, but I don't even
know enough on the subject to make something up. George can expect some
requests for information.
Kevin arrived with great anticipation. Many will remember that I have a
large-scale Cobra RC Helicopter that I had offered to trade him, and was
expecting to make a killing in the exchange. After seeing that it
wasn't broken up as badly as I originally thought, and most of the parts
are still there, and the engine is frozen up tight but probably fixable,
I was able to trade him that one helicopter for several contemporary RC
heli models he had, and some fixed wing types as well. I finally got
the better of Kev on a deal, and, even after several years of being on
the wrong end of deals with him, have pulled way ahead. It feels real good.
Got to get back to the lab, as Kev is tearing into the Cobra now. I
need to get him out of here with it before he discovers anything else is
The December meeting 2006
SoCal Hero Owners group meets
Yesterday, the local hero owners group in Los Angeles met to work on
robots and discuss politics and cars. We weren't into it long before
discovering that we don't have any more broken robots. Hotwing has a
side business of buying robots that are in serious trouble, fixing them
up with parts only he knows where to get, and reselling them, so not
having anything to fix means business must be slow. Kevin is in the
business as well, but mostly buys things with the intent of fixing them
and then reselling, but never gets around to selling anything. He has a
very large house, and just announced that his house is full, and can't
accept any more robots. I, too, buy robots to fix and sell, but only
when it's a partnership with some of the others in the local group. I
wind up fixing them (as in watch while Kevin or Hotwing fixes them) and
then never selling them either. Ted makes just about all meetings, and
does bring a robot from time to time, but I think his interest is more
along the line of abnormal psychology. Our meetings are a rich source
of study for that.
I just fixed a spare H2K, with battery, extra memory card, latest ROM,
upgraded arm and a functioning remote that actually takes a charge. It
also has a charger and the two blue books (technical and user's
manual). If anyone is afraid that they won't get what they want for
Christmas, I'll sell it for $2099.50. Shipping will be in a sturdy
wooden box, and cost around $100. The others also have Hero 1's, more
Hero 2000's, H2K arm trainers, a few Rhino Arms (very cool), a couple of
spare 5 1/4" floppy cards with drives, etc. So don't get cheated this
year for Christmas with yet another tie or tiny bottle of Channel #5,
get what you deserve. You can put it on a credit card, and thus not get
caught until next January or February when the bill comes in.
Since we are done fixing things, everyone except Hotwing is now wanting
to do programming. (I'm not sure what we'll do with him during
meetings; maybe break something without him knowing so he can fix it.)
As previous readers of my drivel will recall, I have my H2K wired to my
desktop via radio link, and run the main operating program from there.
Placing the robot in BASIC mode, it executes BASIC commands sent to it
from the remote, from a terminal program running on a host computer, or
sent to it from commands embedded in a C program. I program using the
Visual C++ Suite, V6.0, and send commands to, or ask for sensor readings
from, the H2K (called '07'). Set up in this way, I have all the speed
and capabilities of my desktop machine running Windows executables
programmed in console mode. To date, I have the robot able to
determine its location from within a room (that it has previously mapped
itself )within 3", and it can navigate from place to place, picking the
most efficient route while avoiding objects. I'm showing the others how
to do this, and expect them to be up to speed in about 2 years.
Having the robot being able to self locate and never get lost is a major
and necessary capability that a robot that is to be free-roaming and
totally autonomous must possess. But to be of any functional value, the
robot must be doing tasks that require it to go places and do things.
The "doing things" is the hang-up. The robot, as capable as it is
(nothing better has appeared on the market since it came out 30 years
ago) is crippled by one missing feature: the ability to see things well
enough that its gripper can manipulate them.
To overcome this obstacle, our next task in the group is to integrate
the Sharp GP2D12 infrared ranging module via an analog circuit we'll
build up on the experimenter's cards we all have. The module has a
range of 3"-30" with a pencil beam. I have been using these things for
years and find them highly effective for locating and identifying
(through software) certain shapes. These are available from
www.acroname.com (who has never, once, after all the times I've plugged
them, offered me something free. That's what happens when you aren't
famous). They also have another IR module that I haven't tested before
that has a range reported at 8"-60", and that may also have some use. I
see the longer range module being mounted on the front skirt near the
floor (to find cans), and the shorter range module mounted on the
gripper so that the relative position of the gripper and can or other
object to be grasped can be precisely determined.
With this development, a free roaming robot set loose in an unknown
environment can map its area, and then always be able to reconfirm its
position later as needed, go around searching for and grabbing tennis
balls or Coke cans and put them in a box of known size that it has
already located in some other area. This is not new, but will be done
by the H2K without any modification to the environment for it to do it's
While I do the remote communicating using an RF RS-232 radio set, Ted
has tested and proved out a WIFI setup to do the same thing, including a
robot-mounted camera. This adds some other possibilities, considering
Robin Hewitt is getting ready to publish a series of articles in SERVO
on how to use a freeware image processing tool for ranging and
identifying video images. This would be much superior to using IR
ranging modules and software to do the same thing.
Cheers, and happy holidays,
January Meeting 2007
Ted, Hotwing and Kevin are at my house today for our monthly Hero
gathering. The days events included:
Kevin demonstrated a method of completely testing a H2K power supply on
the bench. He used jumper wires and loose components to show how it
worked, but is considering putting it all together in a box. With it,
he can monitor voltage outputs under load, watch for the proper response
when the robot is put into sleep mode or the battery gets low, etc.
Kevin also identified a problem on his IO card that was allowing the
current surge from firing the Sonar to bleed into the audio amp driving
the speaker. Turns out the board had a 1000 mf cap missing from the
board, that was in fact never there. Whoever owned that robot in the
past always heard his Sonar running through the speaker!
Awhile back, Ted demonstrated using a WIFI to serial converter box that
can be mounted on the H2K to run the thing remotely from a terminal
window via the LAN. The box is a Data Hunter, 802.g to serial
converter, and costs around $180. Hotwing has come up with a new device
slightly larger than a postage stamp, open with SMT devices, that does
the same thing. The price is less than half the cost of the Data Hunter
device, and is tiny by comparison. Ted and Hotwing have spent the day
on configuring it. It's been a challenge so far, as it is a highly
generic component, with about a million different ways to set it up.
They are on 461,344 and still going.
I spent my day being transferred around the country and to India in an
attempt to get my DSL connection changed from a dynamic IP address to
static so we can have a constant webcam address for y'all to join in our
group meetings. We get as many as 1 request a month to reestablish it,
as it was highly popular in the past. I finally managed it, so next
time we will broadcast live from Los Angeles.
I also completed what should have been a simple task of determining how
to add analog input capability using the experimenter's card. With this
ability, highly directional, highly accurate sensors such as these IR
ranging modules can be mounted on the robot:
http://www.acroname.com/robotics/parts/R48-IR12.html. With them, you
can actually locate things accurately enough to pick them up with the
gripper, do a better job of obstacle avoidance, etc. I'll be building
this next week, and have already ordered several of each sensor.
I hear swearing, so I better go see what is going on.
That's about it. We had a meeting in Feb 2007 which consist of robots, guitars, flutes, and wine. nothing else to report. Or..... No comments from Gary...
April's Meeting 2007
Great meeting here yesterday, and certainly eclectic. Ted, Hotwing and I started the day, with Kevin coming over quite late. ( A little note why I was late. I was visiting a friend in the hospital. He had just found out he had leukemia CML to be exact. He's stable now and at home. I had AML almost four years ago and I'm still good. Thank God and smart people for Modern Medicine. )
I think the only one doing Hero stuff was me. We got a long way on a lot of things, though. I got my radio moved inside per Kent's instructions and pictures, and other than a wiring error in my internal serial cable that looks and works well. Hotwing brought over his brand new Sherline miniature mill, and I helped him with the basics of machining. He picked it up right away, and spent the whole day creating a mountain of chips. It was fun to see him make the typical machinist mistakes, like having the vice move on him, having the part come out of the vice, having the cutter drop down out of the collet slowly, and then taking that one cleanup cut that is .10 too much. Anyone that machines stuff does all of that, Hotwing managed to have every typical problem in one day, but he finished the day with a sheet metal strap forming tool that he can use to make parts for the RB5X.
Ted and Hotwing got the Apple IIe connected to my Rhino arm, with all the right software to run it. That effort has been going on for months, as Hotwing rounded up the Apple (for something else I think, that it didn't work for, so now it lives here), the software came with a bulk purchase of surplus robots awhile back, the books for it came from somewhere else, etc. They are now only stuck with getting the serial output card in the Apple set for the right BAUD. In the old days, you had to set the switches, you couldn't just call up the control panel and set it. And of course we don't have the docs on how to do that, so the project will have to await the next meeting.
Kevin is working very hard to try and get everything he needs to recompile the 2.03 monitor/operating system in the H2K. I had what may be part of the puzzle, and spend some time copying disks. It turns out that 2.03 was created by multiple vendors using different compilers, all of which are obsolete. Kevin's current challenge is to try to understand what they all were. Next he has to find those compilers and the source code, then find and purchase old computers that they will run on. This is all 1985 stuff. Ultimately, the group wants to rewrite some sections of the code to change the startup sequence, etc.
Ted assembled a system he has been developing for some time. As best as I can describe it, it is an automotive mounted, solar cell charged, gell cell powered shortwave radio. Before he left, it was running, and he had fancy instruments showing insertion loss and VSWR on a meter, and he was talking to someone far away (like in Long Beach).
A great time was had by all, I think, and most certainly by me.
April's 2008 meeting SoCal Hero Owner's group in session
Most of the local SoCal group is meeting today in the brand new
robotorium off the back of my house. It actually fits all of us, and is
a welcome relief from the previous room we had in my house, which
suffered from invasion by my storage-seeking wife over the years.
Hotwing is working on a VEX controller conversion for one of his RB-5
robots. We just ran it around outside on the proving grounds (patio),
and it works really well. Kevin is fixing a Hero 2000 arm trainer,
swearing, and not making much progress outside of going into the kitchen
to wash parts from time to time.
I spent all morning finding a very specific capacitor to fix my Tec
scope, ultimately finding the right style, but needing two of them of
the wrong value which when wired in series will provide the correct
capacitance. Now I'm wiring up an experimenter's card to do
analog-to-digital conversion. Interestingly, there is no evidence on
the Internet that it has ever been done before, although George Warner
seems to have done it at some point in time.
There is a new Sharp IR ranging module out that provides very accurate,
narrow beam range information out to 20 feet. The output of the sensor
is analog, so to use it on the Hero 2000 we need an analog input port.
Once this is wired and tested, the Sharp sensor will be mounted on the
robot wrist, and by controlling the direction the wrist is pointing
we'll be able to detect objects with high accuracy and resolution
anywhere around the robot. That will enable complex behaviors not
currently possible, such as locating a beer on a coffee table and
delivering it to a thirsty human. The sensor itself is only $13 or so,
and the chips for the A/D converter total around the same thing, so it's
pretty cheap considering the paradigm increase in capability.
I'm trying to sell a Rhino arm to Kevin, who is saying, "Well, you know
they aren't worth much. The are all over EBAY." I checked -- there
aren't any on EBAY. There haven't even been any listed recently,
they're rare as mastodons. I 'll have to collect my wits if I hope to
get half what it's worth out of him. I need the money for parts for a
supercomputer, based on an Intel QX9650, I'm currently building in
competition with Ted, another SoCal club member. We plan to use them
for advanced artificial intelligence work, such as being able to tell a
Bud Light from a Molsen Gold by the sound made when opening the
container -- really important stuff. So, gotta go!
A good picture of Gary...