GPIO on the Pandaboard ES

I’m working on using my Pandaboard for robotics/UAV applications.  An essential part of this is being able to access and manipulate the GPIO pins to suit your needs.  Manipulating pins from inside linux isn’t really all that bad…

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Rezero Ballbot

yeah, I wanna build one of these…

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The Future is Ours

I saw this video this morning.  I love this kind of stuff. This is why I love engineering and making.


The Future is Ours from Michael Marantz on Vimeo.

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FPV Slinger Build

So, my dad got me a little present for my B-day! Its a sweet little flying wing. I decided to keep track of the build process. My plan is to make it an FPV Platform. I’ll cover building the ground station in another post.

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XT60 Connector Cap

Got a lot of XT60 connectors?  Want them capped off?
This is my first contribution to Thingiverse.

Get it and make it here.

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Ubuntu 11.10 “Waiting up to 60 more seconds for network configuration” fix

I had been running into an issue where the boot process would hang up after a minute or so and show “waiting for network configuration”.  Then after about 30 seconds I would get “waiting up to 60 more seconds for network configuration fix.  I’m on a Pandaboard ES and while I’ve tried other solutions such as removing “/var/run” and putting everything in “/run”, nothing worked.

I found a solution here.  I edited my /etc/network/interfaces file and removed the interfaces that were set to automatically setup.


auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp


auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

#auto wlan0
#iface wlan0 inet dhcp

#auto eth0
#iface eth0 inet dhcp

This reduced my boot time from 3:20 to 1:40.   I Hope this helps someone.

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Reflections on the FIRST 2012 Championship

I’m on the bus, headed back to Lubbock after attending the FIRST 2012 World Championship. I figure this is a good time to reflect on what happened this past weekend and the journey of the 2012 season.

This year was a struggle for me in multiple respects. I am still finishing my masters degree in Lubbock and helping Team 1817, but my main team, Team 148, is located on the other side of Texas in Greenville. As a result, I had to split my time between two teams and school.

This years game, Rebound Rumble, presented some great challenges to teams and ended up being pretty interesting.  Shooting balls isn’t really anything new, but being accurate when dealing with a basketball rim and a backboard turned out to be a real challenge, primarily because of the huge variance between the balls.  The bridge balance aspect was a fun end game, although the coopertition bridge was constant pain in my side.  I think in the end, the white bridge served the purpose it was designed to serve.  It really broke the rankings up and it ended up making scouting and strategy a lot more complicated.  It made for some interesting scouting meetings!

Going to the world championship is always a spectical to behold. The teams, the people, the venue, the city. All these aspects combine to make a great event.  If you’ve never been, you should.  The Wranglers competed in Galileo division and after a crazy bunch of qualification matches, we seeded 7th.  We were picked by the #1 seed, Team 33 The Killer Bees. That robot was beautiful to see up close.  They had a great attention to detail.  Unfortunately, we got upset in the quartefinals by the #8 alliance.  I’m not going to speculate on what we could have done different.  It demonstrates just how difficult the division really was.

The champions of the Galileo division (16,25,and 180) went on the win the Einstein field and were crowned the 2012 World Champions.  Having worked with team 16 before, I knew what a great group of people they are.  They built a fantastic robot and deserve every bit of it.

Looking forward, I’m excited for next year.  Then again, I always am.  I’ll be out of school next season, so I’ll be able to devote more effort towards the success of the team.  FRC always gives me a new challenge to think about and it makes me a better engineer.

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Time Based Processing on an MSP430 Launchpad

I recently saw a video on MyBitBox on using bitfields in time based processes and thought it was and excellent example of a fairly advanced topic in embedded systems.  In that blog, an mBed is used, which is an ARM based dev kit.  I thought it would be useful to port this example to the MSP430 Launchpad.  In this example, I’m using the MSP430G2231, but any MSP430 with Timer_A can be used.
This example is used to show that microcontrollers can be setup to run several tasks at multiple intervals.  The desired result is a system that executes these commands deterministically, meaning that at the desired time interval a routine WILL execute.  this is useful when a microcontroller needs to multitask or divide a workload.

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