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10. Output devices

==Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.== - Arthur C. Clarke


Maybe, just maybe I am slowly moving along this spectrum …

I went and asked my tutor for advice on what to do this week. Some questions needed to be answered on the different elements of which my final project consists - and I needed an outside perspective on what is feasible and what is not. First we discussed producing a device with an audio output, and initially that seemed quite demanding. After talking it through, a solution with a database of words on an SD card would be an option. Not too easy for me to work on this week however, so Henk advised me to try out a couple of things with a servomotor and an Arduino first. And that’s what I did, and that was fun. I actually programmed something that actually did something.

Last time I worked in the Arduino IDE I wasn’t able to proof-eat the pudding so to speak, but this time I had a working board and an actual servo at hand. After much reading of pages of alumni, of instructions on the Arduino site and much much more Arduino servo Jai Hanani Arduino coding I managed to connect my board in the right way, and code and upload different commands to the machine. I found it rather spectacular, to be honest…



Things I learned amongst others: That coding is very new to me, and that I had to figure out the most basic things in order for something to work. Neil’s code I could not get to work, I am afraid simply because I cannot see what is code and what is not. I tried, but failed to use it. Precision, again, is key. Finding the right kind of questions is also key.


I observed my peers doing many measurements, but with my level of understanding found it hard to make myself useful.

Design It was back to Kicad, and like with all the other things I learned in this intense period, some of it was overwritten with new information. For instance, I struggled with not being able to update my PCB from the sketch - solved by starting up an entire new project, and copying the items I already had into there. A comical one: in making the sketch, I was feverishly searching for alll the components, and forgot what I was actually doing. So trying to cram a servomotor on my board instead of a connector was a crazy idea in hindsight. I understand it came from the desire to be complete, but it totally missed the point. What stimulated my miscategorizing things was this icon icon Helped by the community (thank you Daniel and Rico), I realize how I was stuck in the wrong concept, and I was able to finalize my design - without the icon that led me astray.

Milling and soldering Today was millingtime, and programming my board to work with the servo. Long story shortish: I made a whole list of mistakes, and did not get to copying the programme I did on the Arduino with my own board. what went wrong: I made a design with very thin traces. They were easily damaged in the process. I used thick solder - did not heat up as easily, lumpy results - which resulted in shortcircuits. I messed up many times in mods. Faulty settings, faulty origin, double outline (forgot to uncheck the ‘print board edges’ in the export), and even -again- started to mill the mirrored or negative of what I needed. When finally I had this awkward board it gave a warning on my laptop that I did not recognize, but Henk interpreted it as a shortcircuit. After an hour of trying to fix that I decided to make a new board.

twoboards Different mistakes in mods, setting the wrong origin was one of them. It was not my day at all, not feeling well, lack of concentration. In the end it took me a full day almost to produce a board - which I haven’t been able to test yet. I found out the hub I got especially for the purpose is ‘too new’. So I need to do some debugging with an old hub. But hey, I commanded movement :) And not through magic, but through technology.


I breathed life into my board… life

servoboard pcb servoboard schematic


Last update: July 9, 2022