The motorized orange thing project is a wrap. Well, as wrapped as it will be for the time being…Katie is full term, so we are working on borrowed time. I managed to introduce remote control to the orange thing via Android and my IOIO board.
I found a goofy motorized alarm clock, Clocky, on Woot a while ago. My first thought was something along the lines of ‘that looks like a great thing to tear apart.’ The unit is designed to make a lot of noise, and drop off the nightstand when the alarm is triggered…key features are its ‘ruggedness’ and two-wheel design. Pretty slick platform for horsing around with my IOIO.
Once it arrived, I began ripping it apart:
My focus points were fairly straight forward…keep the drive train system intact, and gain control of the motor function. The stock power was via four AAA batteries, so I did some testing with my 3.3V outputs on the IOIO:
My 3.3V connections really made the unit crank. The on-board DC motors were fairly snappy…looked promising. I broke out the leads from the battery holder as well, figuring that I *may be able to drive the IOIO with the 6V. That is when thing got sort of dicey…I could run over a hard connection, but the current needs of the board / bluetooth setup was too great for this application.
I determined that I would need to introduce some technology, which ramped up the complexity of the build by a bit. Luckily, I had a Adafruit MotorSheild collecting dust on my bench. I scrapped one of the H-Bridge chips, and mounted it on a simple test board:
This approach worked. DC motors are power thirsty little bastards…keeping my power sources isolated was the key to getting everything running w/o issues. Basic setup became this mess:
Zip ties, electrical tape, Altoids tin, some swearing, etc. later…
…weird orange thing is ready to roll. Check the video:
Down the road, I would like to turn orange thing into a mobile mount for the phone itself. The end-goal of this whole bizarre project would be to have a web-controlled vehicle with on-board video streaming. I need to do some research and figure out how to mash around the video feed…going to have to step the Java game up a few notches. That takes time, and spare time is not abundant…it could happen though.
I will dump this code on GitHub and throw the apk on the Android Market. Stay tuned.