Tuesday, 19 March 2013

NEC Weekend R2 experience

So after a lot of messing about i got the 2-3-2 working so i could use the trolley.  Didnt do more than make sure it roughly worked.  I was to regret that. :)  I loaded up and James and i went off to the NEC.  

Loading it in the car i bent the back door, so that needs to be stripped and rebuilt, i will add some sort of barrier to stop the door going into the body and so protect the trims.  Battle damage. :)

Few issues,  firstly I got there and had forgotten a fuse for the feet drives. :)  James had a spare so off we went.  Seemed fine at first, all the light triggers, mp3s and the dome servos were fine, CBI works well and triggers fine.  Even the dome position control worked fine.  The same static issues were there, tried a bit of wire from the hose to the ground, not sure it really helped.  Also tried GND on the battery to the frame, no joy there either.  Didn't try both together and neither were properly installed, might try them both again.  Needs more research.

The signal to the droid see seemed to be effected, it felt like the auto stop was kicking in, not all the time, and not a disaster but worth fixing, not sure if there was something else on a similar signal causing issues, but that should be easy to fix by extending the time out a little, it didn't last long, so a bigger delay might work fine.  Odd because it worked fine last time, it didn't miss any command calls, just occasionally stopped briefly, and the Sabertooth wasn't flashing any error lights, so I'm pretty sure it was signal.

About 2pm on the Sat James' controller ran flat.  So i drove mine to where i needed and unplugged the controller and he drove his round.  I didn't spot R2 slowly driving in circles, luckily in space.  I hadn't turned off the controller before removing the battery, lesson 1 learnt. ;)

Then just at the end of Sat the droid stopped responding and very slowly just drove on, I jumped in and killed the power, the 5v body battery was flat.  So I know what happens now. :)  It had had most of a week of testing and that day, I will have to remember to charge it before EVERY event. :)  I swapped the dome one into the body and met C3P0, an awesome Wookie and a Slave Leia. :D  But no dome lights or servo control for that. :(  So lesson 2 learnt. :)

So Saturday went well, the kids loved the R2s and we got a great response, James and Stuart's looked great and as a collection was a nice range of materials and methods all done well and all looking great. :)

The Sunday contained my biggest lesson.  I hadn't remembered the cheat sheet.  So I was looking for different sounds and dome door scripts and accidentally triggered the 2-3-2, he had 3 kids in front of him and I was sat behind the stall.  Luckily I realized what i'd done and sprinted to grab him, caught him just in time, he would have gone, and James retriggered the 2-3-2.  My heart was racing, as much from fear of crushing kids as breaking R2. :)  So lesson 3, move 2-3-2 command so it's almost impossible to find. :)  I so need to work on that 2-3-2, its a menace at the moment. :)

This was only minutes before it all went wrong:

After lunch on the Sunday I started having some odd little issues, the dome position commands wouldn't end.  Couldn't work it out.  Then about an hour or 2 later the droid just stopped dead.  It was the main battery.  So i went and got the trolley.  Tried the battery again, it gave just enough power for 2-3-2 and i popped him on the trolley ready for home. So I think the dome position control must be trying to move the last bit too slowly to move at really low battery levels so it doesn't managed to reset the master.  It still drives fine when that happens tho.

The 12v battey said it had 4/5 lights left when I unplugged it on Sat, so didn't charge it.  I think I need to let the battery settle for a bit to get a true reading.  But that battery had done quite a bit of servo and 2-3-2 testing before the event so it still did very well.  Will charge them all for the next 2 day event and should be able to do the whole thing no problems.  

But we got a great reaction and loads of photos taken.  Was a brilliant weekend.

Need to sort that static issue, its bugging me.

But Easter I will get the servo rods connected and get those doors and flapping, then work on the 2-3-2 again.

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