Anyone into Electronics? - Page 2-VBForums

View Poll Results: Electronics...

Voters
31. You may not vote on this poll
  • ...is boring

    1 3.23%
  • ...is too nerdy

    2 6.45%
  • ...is too difficult (I've tried it before)

    1 3.23%
  • ...is something I'd be interested in if I knew where to look

    8 25.81%
  • ...is a hobby of mine

    17 54.84%
  • ...is my job but I'd rather do something else

    1 3.23%
  • ...is my job and I love it!

    5 16.13%
  • ...is meh

    3 9.68%
  • ...is my reason for living

    5 16.13%
  • ...is (something else)

    4 12.90%
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Thread: Anyone into Electronics?

  1. #41

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    CVMichael: Is that CNC machine still a live project and if so are you still looking for help / ideas for it? I'd be up for that. The pen plotter I'm working on (two and a half axes) should eventually be able to draw etch resist pen onto blank copper-clad boards and then drill out the pads before etching. Have you tried to do this with your CNC machine?

    I'd love to compare notes about this kind of thing if you're still interested in this stuff.





    Quote Originally Posted by CVMichael View Post
    Recently I also got the chance to work with Arduino. A friend needed help with his school project.
    I found it too simple. The Arduino IDE interface is ridiculous (basically notepad). I checked in the settings "Use external editor", and I used Programmer`s Notepad to write the code for it.
    The only advantage I see for it, is that you get the hardware made for you, and you just plug it in, and start coding...
    Yeah I agree completely. I've got 3 Arduino Unos now, I only buy them for the convenience of having them manufactured beforehand, hence doing away with days of tedious debugging! I too loath the crappy "IDE". But I'm willing to tolerate it for the most part.
    I don't live here any more.

  2. #42

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by moti barski View Post
    CVMichael, I remember your cnc project was in vb6 do your microcontrollers work in vb.net 2010 ?
    if so, walkthrough please
    Please stop trolling. If you want walkthroughs, please ask on the CNC machine thread.
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  3. #43
    Hyperactive Member BillGeek's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I used to try and get started in Electronics, but I never really understood it all that well. I'm currently reading a book regarding PIC Microcontrollers (will post the title if I get home should anyone wish) though I have built some simple smaller circuits.

    One of the few circuits I actually finished was a "lazer game" circuit. Simple IR receiver flicking a relay. No scoring though...

  4. #44

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by CVMichael View Post
    I also got this 34 CHANNEL LA1034 LOGICPORT LOGIC ANALYZER to debug my applications. AND... even though the logicport is all digital, I use an AD9059 analog to digital converter to measure analog signals up to 60MHz.
    Holy crap, that's awesome! That's far beyond my pricerange and I don't think I'd be able to justify 34 channels myself

    However I've been drooling over this for the last couple of months...
    http://proto-pic.co.uk/products/USB-Logic-Analyser.html

    It's just dropped £20 in price to I might have to grab one. Well it's either that or wait 3 years until I can afford a DSO
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  5. #45
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I was wondering if anyone knew of a good book that explains what the electronic components actually DO, i.e how to arrange them for simple tasks.

    I have read much of the theory, but that in and of itself is useless. I may not be clear, so I will give an example.

    Theory: A resister reduces or limits current.
    Actual use: A resister can be used as a voltage divder.

    OR

    Theory: A capacitor stores an electronic charge.
    Actual use: A capacitor can be used to filter frequencies.


    I am looking on what I can do with the components without re-inventing the wheel. I would like to read about as many of the uses as I can so I know what is in my "toolbox".
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  6. #46
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by wossname View Post
    CVMichael: Is that CNC machine still a live project
    It's "on hold", I hope to start working on it again soon.

    Have you tried to do this with your CNC machine?
    I had that idea, but I did not get to it yet... Actually I did something similar with my second CNC, but instead of etching, I just "cut" the copper away: See this

    I'd love to compare notes about this kind of thing if you're still interested in this stuff.
    Sure, I'd love to see what you've done, maybe it will give me some ideas for my own things...

    Quote Originally Posted by wossname View Post
    ...I don't think I'd be able to justify 34 channels myself
    Yea, that's a lot of channels, until now I don't think I used more than 16 channels. But bought it mostly for the speed (200MHz compressed data, 500MHz uncompressed). Also, some features I like for it is that it interprets SPI & IC2 signals, and also the Digital to analog "graph", turning it into an analog oscilloscope also. I just love this thing...

    However I've been drooling over this for the last couple of months...
    http://proto-pic.co.uk/products/USB-Logic-Analyser.html
    That looks pretty good for that price...

  7. #47
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarMan View Post
    I am looking on what I can do with the components without re-inventing the wheel.
    You don't need to understand everything at the beginning... You start to understand these things in time as you use them.

    If you want to build something, search on the net for the schematic, find a few variations of the same thing, and see what fits for you (simplicity or performance), of course at the beginning you go for simplicity...

    Starting with microcontrollers is a good idea because the input and outputs are binary, and it is easy to relate with computer logic (since you know programming). When you go into analog, then things get to be more complicated (for the electronics point of view).
    Last edited by CVMichael; May 9th, 2011 at 10:11 AM.

  8. #48
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by CVMichael View Post
    If you want to build something, search on the net for the schematic, find a few variations of the same thing, and see what fits for you (simplicity or performance), of course at the beginning you go for simplicity...
    That's the point. I do not know what I wish to build (I have some ideas) because I do not know what I can do with what I have.

    I learn things a little differently than most people. For example, most people learn a programming language by what you suggested; they figure out how to do what they want. I would (.NET changed this with all its objects, but the analogy still holds to pre-.NET) read through ALL the commands available to the language. Then when I would create a program, I would have a very good idea on what I could do. Plus it helps me to understand because as soon as I would learn one things I immediately start to think of how it interacts with other things. Doing it peicemeal creates more questions than it answers, which is not helpful for my style of learning.

    I wish to do this with electronics, but if people think the same as you then there maybe nothing for me. Any suggestions to a "next best" would be helpful.

    I do not need any more theory at this time. I can not advance in theory any more until I understand more practical uses. And with a wide variety as possible, limited by DC only at first.
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  9. #49
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Maybe we should start an electronics forum ?
    Last edited by CVMichael; May 9th, 2011 at 11:05 AM.

  10. #50
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?



    Well I would be into it.
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  11. #51

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    One thing the world does not need more of is electronics forums.

    CVMichael, here's my small collection of photos of the in-progress plotter project...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamnei...th/5704370990/
    I don't live here any more.

  12. #52
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarMan View Post
    I was wondering if anyone knew of a good book that explains what the electronic components actually DO, i.e how to arrange them for simple tasks.

    I have read much of the theory, but that in and of itself is useless. I may not be clear, so I will give an example.

    Theory: A resister reduces or limits current.
    Actual use: A resister can be used as a voltage divder.

    OR

    Theory: A capacitor stores an electronic charge.
    Actual use: A capacitor can be used to filter frequencies.


    I am looking on what I can do with the components without re-inventing the wheel. I would like to read about as many of the uses as I can so I know what is in my "toolbox".
    In the last post I made in this thread I mentioned a book Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest Mims III. I would recommend that. It sells for around $ 20 now. When I bought it quite a few years ago it was a lot less. You might be able to get a used copy on amazon. It has a bunch of circuits that you can set up and try out with a power supply or a battery and a breadboard. It has very simple and easy to understand descriptions of the different components used in electronics.

    I also mentioned the HeathKit courses. I would recommend doing the HeathKit DC Electronics course. If your willing to put out $ 112 for it. Anyone starting out in electronics I would recommend that. If after you do that you want to do another like the AC Electronics course you can or not. Take them one at a time and stop when you want.

    This shows what you get in the DC Electronics course

    http://www.heathkit.com/index.php?op...=47&Itemid=152

    I never got into Electronics like wossname or CVMichael or dsheller but I was happy that I gained a greater knowledge of how it works. I bought an ocilloscope back in 1996 and hardly ever used it. I just bought a used one for around $ 300. I thought it would help me on a certain copier problem I was working on but it didn't really help because though the problem was electrical in nature it wasn't something that the o-scope could help me with.

    So some of you who are interested in learning electronics should perhaps learn something about it but don't feel you have to spend a lot of money and build an expensive electronics lab and invent some new device that is going to change the world. Just learn about it to the degree that you feel you should learn about it. I never came close to mastering it.
    Last edited by EntityX; May 10th, 2011 at 12:18 PM.
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  13. #53

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I've got a little analogue oscilloscope on my bench but I don't use it as often as I should.

    I really WANT to use it but I've been mostly working on projects that are mainly digital in nature so this scope is basically not useful for that. When I eventually bother to learn what capacitors are for, I'll dust off the scope and really start learning!

    Maybe after this plotter is finished.
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  14. #54
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
    Shaggy, Ant Hillary would fit better IMO.
    Aunt Hillary was the name of a sentient being in a dialogue in Godel, Escher, Bach, a rather famous, pulitzer prize winning, book written in the 70s:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del,_Escher,_Bach

    As for Bluetooth, I was using it with one brain board, but have been recently switching over to a different technology.
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  15. #55
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    its my job, my hobby and I love it...

    there is nothing else I like to do better....

  16. #56
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I started playing with electronics at the age of 11 (31 years ago).
    I went to a college of Electronics, in my youth, but I did not learn anything new there, because I already knew everything what they were teaching us, from years before.

    So I started electronics as a hobby, then I got employed into electronics industry, and I am still doing electronics at work, and at home.

  17. #57
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperUniverse View Post
    I started playing with electronics at the age of 11 (31 years ago).
    I went to a college of Electronics, in my youth, but I did not learn anything new there, because I already knew everything what they were teaching us, from years before.

    So I started electronics as a hobby, then I got employed into electronics industry, and I am still doing electronics at work, and at home.
    please share electronics learning sources (links, walkthroughs, book names, tutorials, video links)
    time to amp up the beef

  18. #58
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperUniverse View Post
    I started playing with electronics at the age of 11 (31 years ago).
    I went to a college of Electronics, in my youth, but I did not learn anything new there, because I already knew everything what they were teaching us, from years before.

    So I started electronics as a hobby, then I got employed into electronics industry, and I am still doing electronics at work, and at home.
    That means you are a geek in electronics
    I think, you are making lots of money our of it.

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  19. #59
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by moti barski View Post
    please share electronics learning sources (links, walkthroughs, book names, tutorials, video links)
    31 years ago. This is pre-internet. There was no such thing as walkthroughs or 'videos' - Betamax or VHS. You learned by educating oneself on the basics of electricity and subscribing to a magazine once a month. [at 11 years old] you scrimped and saved for a few (one or two) cheap project books, a breadboard, 555 timer a few capacitors and resistors. looking through an electronics catalog at all the cool parts and imagine how they could go together.

    You learned what DC is and what AC is; the basic components - resistors, capacitors and inductors. You experimented with what you had - you didn't follow tutorials, you said 'I wonder what happens if I do this instead of that?'. And you did it. You ended up with soldering iron burn marks on your hands, the table and the carpet. You figured out that taking a piece of solder and shorting it across an outlet makes a bit of a mess. Trial and error.
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  20. #60
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I started to learn electronics at 11 years old too!! I did that for 5 years, then I moved to Canada and I started to learn programming. (I continued to do electronics 2-3 years ago.)
    There was an electronics store in down town, I was going there almost every week to pick up the weekly electronics magazine. I was doing things by trial & error too. I miss those days.
    Last edited by CVMichael; Jul 7th, 2011 at 09:32 AM.

  21. #61
    Fanatic Member SJWhiteley's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    If you are 'into' electronics these days, you'd better have good eyesight: have you looked at the SMT technology? I just purchased a Netduino and the soldering must have been done by 6" elves.
    "Ok, my response to that is pending a Google search" - Bucky Katt.
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  22. #62
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    lol, these boards are not done by hand, they are done by machines/robots. There are companies where you can submit your schematic and PCM board design, and they make the whole thing for you on mass. They can even give you an estimate before you give it a "go"... You can do the submission online.

  23. #63
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by CVMichael View Post
    lol, these boards are not done by hand, they are done by machines/robots. There are companies where you can submit your schematic and PCM board design, and they make the whole thing for you on mass. They can even give you an estimate before you give it a "go"... You can do the submission online.
    Do you see any 6" elves walking around? No, because they are slaving away in these factories
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  24. #64
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    haha, that's a good one

    By the way, here is an example of what I was talking about in the previous post:
    http://www.futurlec.com/PCBService.shtml

    Under the "Services" you can see "PCB Manufacture", "PCB Design", "Board Assembly".

  25. #65

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I'm currently designing a PCB



    http://github.com/AdamWard/Protopeller

    It's Open Source too, so help yourselves.
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  26. #66
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I use DipTrace to make my schematics & PCBs... http://www.diptrace.com/ It's free for 300 pins.

    What I like about it is that it's very easy to use, and when I want to make a PCB for my schematic, it "links" them together, so that if I make changes to the schematic, I can tell it to update the changes to the PCB.

  27. #67

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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I've got the full version of Diptrace

    It's great but there are some annoying bugs I could do without.
    I don't live here any more.

  28. #68
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Yep, i do some electronics. I love PIC's. I made some FM radios (i was so happy when i switched them on and i heard our local stations), then did some LED / LAMP flashers, some power supplies (regulated 0..12V, 5V), now planning to make dual +-15V for OP amps projects.

    Also i love building amplifiers, i have made C70 amplifier (search in Google) designed PCB's by my own (because there isn't any public PCB for it) and now im looking for good VU meter, etc. Lot's of work to finally complete it. For my ears it sounds incredible. I Tested it with the best speakers i had around and sound is so good with such a good bass. Even preamplifier isn't needed, which is good actually. It will keep sound cleaner and nicer.

    I will try to get my site running asap and can show some pics and vids.
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  29. #69
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Using 2N3055? I love those transistors!

  30. #70
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Yep Michael, with 2N3055.
    Do you also love building amps or amps in general?

    I have built plenty of them, also when i started with electronics, some simple, some harder. Not all of them started working at first time or worked at all.
    Years passed and now i built C70 and it started working with the first time.

    I carefully designed PCB to avoid any errors, it's not best, but it works.
    Actually i already started that project on summer 2010, but stopped at some time, now i picked it up again.

    I have to do some things for it. VU meter, tone regulators, speaker protection and maybe some other things i forgot.

    Im putting this all into old amplifier case.
    I don't know exactly atm, how i will do the front panel.
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  31. #71
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    I hope you guys are OK if I revive this thread?

    Here is the latest thing I made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3Dpe1v6G-w

    Soon I will be working on a laser range finder... can't wait! Tomorrow I am getting the Linear CCD Arrays, and I am hoping to have the laser finder done in a few weeks.

  32. #72
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    That is awesome! Wish I was good at electronics then I could create a robot to keep our kitten entertained.
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  33. #73
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwalker83 View Post
    That is awesome! Wish I was good at electronics then I could create a robot to keep our kitten entertained.
    I used to have a cat, so I know what you mean. I wish I had a cat now

    Well, something relatively easy you can do is get an Arduino (because I hear it's easy to learn for beginnners), and 2 servo motors.

    Connect the shaft from one servo to the body of the second servo. This will give you pitch and yaw control. Then connect a 5mw laser pointer to the second servo pointing forward.

    It will look the same as the servos I have in front of my robot, except instead of the ultrasound sensor, it will have the laser pointer.

    [edit] Take a look at this: http://www.odec.ca/projects/2004/kra...ml/laser1.html


    Tilt the whole thing to point the laser on the floor, and write a simple algoritm to move both servos randomly.

    This will keep your cat in a good shape for sure
    Last edited by CVMichael; Apr 16th, 2012 at 09:42 AM.

  34. #74
    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    As for the laser range finder: Would it be cheap enough for hobby work? I haven't tried the new ultrasonic sensor I picked up (after concluding the SRF08 was wildly useless for anything beyond about 50cm), since I am currently working exclusively on brain software, but the key to the brain will be some kind of sensor that can tell that object O is N distance away with some kind of accuracy. This can be one O in front of the bot, or pretty much any number in any direction. There was some rumor of a low cost, 360 degree laser range finder coming out based on some new vacuum competitor to the Roomba, but as of a month ago, I see nothing on the market. Low-power laser range finders are all $1000+, which is a bit much for a toy. The XV-11 rangefinder looks great:

    http://www.ros.org/news/2011/02/neat...er-driver.html
    http://www.hizook.com/blog/2009/12/2...neato-robotics

    Except that the device is not nearly as cheap as it was supposed to be. The vacuum is only $400, and the laser range finder can be picked up for $200, but that means that it could be considerably cheaper, and that's what I'd like to see.
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  35. #75
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    ...since I am currently working exclusively on brain software...
    Can you explain that a bit more? because it's first time to hear about it.


    About the laser range finder. I did not do this yet, I will get the linear CCD arrays tomorrow. But here's how I plan to do it.
    The CCD array is ELIS-1024A-LG, it's a surface mount, 1024 pixel linear array. It works at 20MHz. I will use a microcontroller to read the 1024 pixels, and calculate the distance based on triangulation. It will have to see where the laser dot is, and based on that to do the calculation.
    Because the CCD array works at 20MHz, I am hoping to read the distance at a few hundred times per second. Of course it all depends on how fast the microcontroller is. So basically the top speed will be 20,000,000 / (1024 + (however long it takes to calculate the distance)). So the distance read speed really depends on microcontroller, but I'm hoping something between 300 and 1000 readings per second.
    I will make the PCB board with the laser finder, and assemble it on a stepper motor. When the stepper motor moves each step, it will do a range reading. This way I can read the distance at 0.9 degrees, in a full circle (360 degree), therefore 400 steps from the stepper motor and therefore 400 range readings.
    So this will be horizontal reading. Next step will be to add another stepper motor that will move the laser range finder vertically.
    This way I am hoping to be able to map in 3D everything around the robot.

  36. #76
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    By the way... In terms of price: I bought the ELIS-1024A-LG for $13.50, but including shipping & handling it's about $30 a piece. All parts added together I don't think it's more than $100 for the entire range finder.

  37. #77
    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Yeah. What's the power demand?

    Frankly, the device you describe would be incredibly valuable in the hobby robot world (which probably means that there isn't enough demand to make it worth selling, unfortunately). I'd sure like one, but I'm not at the level with hardware that I could build one myself without some serious instructions.

    As for the brain, this thread discusses the basics:

    http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?t=598244

    however, you can see that there was a HUGE gap in the middle. That was due to me working on a different project that was absorbing all of my time...and then it was canceled. So, now I am back to hobby work. Inline with the last post in that thread, I began working on a program to design a pseudo-neural net. While I am still adding occasional cosmetic features, that part is pretty much complete. That brain designer will allow me to rapidly (and mostly graphically) design brains, such that the code underlying the brain will already be tested, which makes it more reliable. That just leaves two difficult problems:

    1) How to design the brain.

    2) How to talk about it.

    Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, it occured to me that I need to be able to have single neurons be replaceable by entire brains. That's a remarkably easy change to make, and will allow layers of brain activity. For example, the first brain, which will test the concept, will just be focused on training the bot to figure out how to turn, how to turn on a slippery surface, and how to turn when one track is blocked (such as by a carpet threshold, which will block this bot if it hits it at an oblique angle). That's a relatively simple problem that can be a discrete part of the brain, so it makes a good case to test whether learning can happen, as well as testing performance of the brain (a brain with N neurons takes X milliseconds, so I can figure out the timing cost of a much larger brain).

    However, a higher level could then be written completely independently, then hooked into the existing Turning brain such that it would be saying "instead of this input, perform this whole brain load worth of stuff." That way, I can take an existing, working, brain, and build a whole other layer that can be dropped in dynamically to radically change how any particular decision is arrived at.

    Talking about the brain is almost as hard as designing it, though. The Brain Designer tool is pretty cool, but of what value is that if a person doesn't understand what it is building? It is like a neural net, and could create something like a neural net, except that it isn't a neural net at all. It is also somewhat like a neural net where every connection is, itself, a neural net, or at least could be. But why this should work is more a matter of faith, at this point. I believe I have to actually develop some test cases, such as that Turning brain, just so that I can figure out the language to describe what it does, and whether it is feasible. After all, I rather would like to put the source code out for anyone to use, but putting out the Brain Designer in the CodeBank would be almost worse than useless, as it would be a highly complex, specialized, tool with no suggestion as to where or how it should be used. Until I can discuss some techniques for using it to design a brain, it won't be of much value, and I can't discuss that until I understand it.

    After all, the real goal is to make a learning engine, then let it learn. I'm not nearly as interested on WHAT it learns as I am interested in WHETHER it learns, and how flexible it can be even with a rigid mind.
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  38. #78
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Just FYI:

    Lately I am working on projects that require fast processing. I was using PIC18 microcontroller but it's too slow for some things I want to do, so I decided to upgrade. I thought if I go next in line (PIC24) then eventually I'll have the same problem. So I got the best PIC there is at the moment... PIC32MX795F512L

    I bought the chip from Digi-Key, I put it on a test PCB board, I made a small program (LED test), but when I was about to write the program to the micro, I discovered that my ICD2 does not work for the latest PIC32s... I bought the ICD2 back in 2007, since then they made a new one ICD3.

    So basically my choice was to get a PIC that ICD2 can program or get the new ICD3... so... I purchased the ICD3, it was $244 (with shipping + tax), I will receive it tomorrow. Can't wait to get it

    My next dilemma after this will be the compiler... Right now I use mikroC PRO for the 8 bit PICs I currently use, but for PIC32 the compiler is different. That's another $250

    PICs are expensive!

    Shaggy Hiker
    Are you still working on your "brain" project? Because my goal is to make a robot, and it sure could use a brain
    Last edited by CVMichael; May 3rd, 2012 at 08:28 PM.

  39. #79
    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?

    Yeah, I'm on it more than ever. I've run into a problem, though, which will take some thought: It is possible to create a standard Neural Net as a single class. The class would take the number of inputs, the number of outputs, and the number of hidden layers as arguments to the constructor. The rest can all be done in code. That makes NN kind of easy to get your head around. I have built my Brain Designer, but I have yet to come up with even a vague rule of thumb as to how to use the thing, which means that I can't let anyone use it, yet, because I can't explain what a person is supposed to do with it. Heck, I'm not even sure, yet, myself. So, the result is that I have an idea, and some software based on the idea, and it is pretty cool, but I can't explain it, so it is technically useless.

    My next step is to try it out in some scenarios to try to figure out some guidelines as to how to use it. It's an interesting situation. If you have an idea that you can't describe, is it really an idea? Perhaps a concept is only valuable when you are able to communicate it to somebody else.
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  40. #80
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    Re: Anyone into Electronics?



    I voted for... all of them..

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