I'm still here

Well, as you may have noticed, there hasn't really been any update as of late, or pictures for the projects I've done, or any new content what so ever. There are multiple reasons for this, but the primary one that has been happening as of late is due to me having little free time as one of the biggest changes of my life finally occurred. I moved out of home; slowly moving stuff over to my new place and have been organising everything. Currently most of the equipment I need is in boxes in the cupboard here, but that's not a big problem as it's easy to get to when I start working on the projects again.

I'll be doing separate posts for MEHA and SEPA about what is happening with them and also the planned modifications that I talked about in the previous post (11-10-17). I've also finished with the university project I was working on, whether or not the team leader (and only other person in the group) continues the project is a matter for him. I will be posting about that project and going through everything that occurred with it, although it should be noted that it will be from my personal view.

I also have a little bit of new equipment after getting a small income (part of it will be going towards funding these projects). I have a pair of nRF24L01+ wireless modules which will be used for testing them compared with the XBee modules ( the standard series, not the Pro series) I also acquired, as well for projects that require low powered wireless communication; although there is a slight problem with using 2.4GHz radio transceivers for MEHA and SEPA.

As part of the uni project, a telemetry/serial link was required as well as a human interface device which was in the form of a pretty standard 2.4GHz RC Transmitter/Receiver pair, just the transmitter also acts as a sort of effective 2.4GHz jammer (although WiFi seems to still work) causing the serial link to have plenty of problems (work intermittently) or drop data. There are possible other reasons to why this occurred, but time and time again, it was viewed that the RC Transmitter was a contributor to the serial issues experienced.

My problem comes as I've bought the same series of RC Transmitter/Receiver due to the low price point, this makes getting a reliable serial link to the microcontroller more difficult with the current wireless transceivers I have. The good news is that the solution is to just use the XBee Pro that runs on the 900MHz ISM band which means that the RC transmitter will have minimal impact on the Serial Link if at all. This change also does not really change the budget for the project due to the fact 2.4GHz XBee Pro modules were already in the budget. The other good news about that change is that the range of the 900MHz modules is much greater than that of the 2.4GHz modules. The wireless modules aren't needed at the moment, but will need to be acquired when flight testing begins, although the electronics will additionally have onboard data logging.

I also acquired a STM32F4DISCOVERY board and will be evaluating the microcontroller for future use in my projects due to the much higher processing capability. I also have my eye on getting a Raspberry Pi (Model B) board as soon as they're released due to the low price point but high potential to be used in a later project as processing nodes onboard a UAV.

As for new projects, there are a couple which have been added to my list of things to do. The first project is repairing some old Christmas tree lights that are no longer functioning, before upgrading them to be a little more feature packed/programmable via a low powered wireless transceiver (nRF24L01+ is what I have in mind). The first stage is managing to get them off the outdoor tree that they're located on, before looking at why it failed (I suspect the rechargeable battery has died).

The other new project is an alarm clock that I've designed in my head for a while that can be run off mains power or on an internal battery. It won't have an annoying buzzer (I have been known to sleep through alarms) but a wireless armband that can be worn and when an alarm is scheduled, will trigger the armband's vibration motor to wake you. Whether this will be effective is currently not known, and testing will need to be performed. The alarm clock base will also be able to have remote sensors to tell you the temperature and humidity outside much like an alarm clock I have currently, although the wireless has problems working well since it was a cheap model I found in a supermarket.

I promise that there will be more updates soon especially since I should have a lot of free time between when I get my desk in my new place (it's a slow but cheap move) and when my uni starts in March for hopefully my final year.