I lived a few stories up in my old Jones St apartment. I couldn’t buzz people in, and there was no functioning elevator. I loved to use apps like Instacart, Rinse, and Uber Eats to get deliveries, but I didn’t love making the trip down and up to receive those deliveries. This served as the creative inspiration for an automated crane system. I was pleasantly surprised at the response to the system, some delivery people expressed obvious joy at being asked to put the delivery in the bag that was lowered, and none ever expressed anger or disappointment.
Seems obvious in retrospect, but originally I didn’t think I’d need a crane arm to give adequate clearance from a small ledge beneath my window.
An L298n H Bridge proved very inadequate as a motor controller. On occasion, it would get too hot because too much wattage was flowing through it, and would need a few minutes to cool down before resuming operation.
The vibration produced by the cranes would routinely cause screws to come loose until I began to take additional measures to counter-act this.
2x Arduino Uno Rev 3 (one for the crane arm, one for the crane itself)
I built this to automatically refill my glass of water at my desk. It uses an HX 711 load cell connected to an Arduino to open/close a solenoid valve based on the weight of the glass of water. With no weight, it closes the valve. When the weight is between a minimum threshold and a maximum threshold, it opens the valve to let more water into the glass.
This is an automated cereal dispenser I made with an Arduino to dispense cereal into a bowl automatically every day at 7 am. One less thing to do for the day. Note this shows only one loop of many, the Arduino can be configured to repeat this loop to fill up the bowl as much as I like.
This remote was built to drive this remote control car. The JSON structure of its commands was intentionally built to be generic, however, so it could be re-used to drive other remote-controlled vehicles without needing to modify/reprogram it.
I wanted a remote control car that I could control via WiFI, in case I wanted to program it to do stuff over the network. I couldn’t find a commercial product I liked that did this in August 2022, so I made this.
This car was built to be controlled via this controller. However, the control architecture was built to be generic, so it could support different types of controllers. I wanted the ability to record commands sent to it via Joystick, and then replay them so I could program routes or patterns of movement for the vehicle in an intuitive way. The ability to program another Arduino to act as a controller to send a series of commands for fixed routes by the press of a button or on a timer was also desired.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way:
The plastic cover of the car had a surprisingly powerful effect on connection reliability. The maximum reliable range appeared to be only 5 meters/16 feet, even with a direct line of sight to the router.
Arduino Uno WiFi Rev 2 does not offer good support for external antennas.
To get a better reliable range it was necessary to completely refactor the design to something that offered good support for external antennas.
It would have been wise to read the specs for my motor controller more carefully, which also offered encoder support. This was unfortunately not realized until after I wrote code to use the encoder shield.
It would have been smarter to use a differential steering library instead of writing this functionality myself. I didn’t do it because it was easy, I did it because I thought it would be easy when I started.