Chris Anderson's Blog – May 2009 Archive (24)

Day one of Maker Faire



Massive day at Maker Faire yesterday, with Jordi manning the booth in the Maker Shed and me bouncing around with kids between that and the GeekDad booth (shown above), which is my other hat here. We gave a UAV talk on the main stage at 6:00 and then did a photo shoot… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 31, 2009 at 6:49am — 3 Comments

Other things you'll need to complete your BlimpDuino kit

Your Blimpduino kit comes with most of what you need to compete the blimp, and all the hard-to-find and unique parts. Here's what else you'll need:



  • A soldering iron and solder
  • A FTDI cable (DIY Drones cable recommended) to program the board.
  • Helium (Available in the balloon kits available for $18 at Target, or a…
Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 30, 2009 at 10:30pm — 21 Comments

Loading the Blimpduino code

Here's how to load the Arduino code on Blimduino:



First, you need to download and install the latest Arduino IDE.



Then, download the latest Blimpduino code from the code repository.



Unzip the file. You should have a directory that looks like this:…



Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 30, 2009 at 12:00am — 5 Comments

FMA no longer carrying Z sensors

I'm sorry to report that FMA is no longer carrying Z sensors. They ran out of existing stock and because their basic Co-Pilot doesn't require them, they won't be making any more. They will continue to make XY sensors, which the Co-Pilot does use, and those should be back in stock in a few days.



We're currently exploring alternative sources for the Z sensors, but in the meantime, I suggest you buy them from Dean Goedde for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 28, 2009 at 8:30am — 44 Comments

ArduPilot Shield now even cheaper: $32.50!

Jordi figured out how to make the ArduPilot shield $5 cheaper--now it's just $32.50 with the differential pressure sensor.



Features:



--Airspeed sensor

--Battery… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 27, 2009 at 7:53pm — 25 Comments

A better failsafe: one fifth the size, one fifth the price

The more we get into the RC world, the more we're shocked by how overpriced and underpowered a lot of RC equipment is. Most of the specialty electronics, from ESCs to servo amplifiers, are just cheap PIC chips with a few support components. The parts cost a few dollars,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 24, 2009 at 11:00pm — 27 Comments

Delivering Blimpduinos to Maker Shed warehouse

Blimpduino boxes at the Maker Shed loading dock, at the O'Reilly campus in Sebastopol. Around the corner there were loads of trucks being packed up for next weekend's Maker Faire. (Sorry for the iPhone… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 23, 2009 at 5:17pm — No Comments

200 Blimpduino boards, programmed and tested



Just finished programming and testing 200 Blimpduino boards. Jordi wrote me a batch file that made it easy. Only one board blew up in my hand, sending sparks everywhere (I think a polarized capacitor was on backwards). All the other boards tested fine. The kits will… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 22, 2009 at 10:31pm — No Comments

Blimpduino available for pre-order!

Blimpduino is now available for pre-order at the Maker Shed. Price is $89.



We'll be selling it in the DIY Drones store as well after Maker Faire (Make took all of our initial… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 19, 2009 at 2:24pm — 5 Comments

UAV Resources Wiki now live

Update: the wiki implementation is terrible in the beta version. I've removed the app until Ning can get its act together. Sorry for introducing it before it was ready.



As some of you have noticed, I've enabled a wiki here. It's the "UAV Resources" tab above. I've populated a few items from… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 18, 2009 at 1:30pm — 6 Comments

DIY Drones production lines, day two



DIY Drones factories North (Berkeley) and South (LA) are working hard this weekend. Down in LA, Jordi is populating ArduPilot expansion boards with pressure sensors using our in-house reflow… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 17, 2009 at 3:00pm — 3 Comments

New Ning apps--which should we use?

I'm beta testing the new third-party apps platform that Ning will be rolling out soon and trying to decide which are right for us. At the moment, any app I add to the network will appear on every member's profile page (as well as the front page) so I need to choose carefully.



One of the more useful ones is a wiki, which you can see I've enabled in the tab above right (but haven't done anything with it yet). The question is what's the best use for it. Options include:



1)… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 16, 2009 at 9:30pm — 15 Comments

Blimpduino assembly line up and running

You can't beat child labor! 200 Blimpduino kits being readied for Maker Faire. (And yes, as you can see out the window our house is a construction site at the moment. We're building a drone lab, among other… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 16, 2009 at 8:30pm — 6 Comments

The rules for amateur UAVs going forward

Folks,



As you know the FAA is midway in a long rulemaking process to figure out how to integrate UAVs in the national airspace, but the bottom line from the inititial recommendations are as follows:



For us (non-commerical hobbyists), you must stay within these limitations:



--fly within line of sight

--under 400' alt

--under 30 knots

--under 4.4lb

--Fly at least 3 miles from any… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 15, 2009 at 2:51pm — 26 Comments

Sparkfun contest plaque arrived!

Very nice! (the photo doesn't do it justice). We'll either have to win again next year or return… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 12, 2009 at 11:06pm — 11 Comments

A Quick Start Guide to loading code on the UAV DevBoard

Good news for those of you with Bill Premerlani's UAV DevBoard who have been reading about his impressive new DCM code and other software but are a little fuzzy about loading it on the board. Bill has just released a tutorial on programming the board with a PIC programmer.



For us ArduPilot users who have been spoiled by Arduino's easy to use IDE and cheap FTDI programming cable, PIC programming can… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 11, 2009 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

Slightly modified ArduPilot 2.1 uploaded

Just a small bug fix: the previous 2.1 code set the altitude for all waypoints at 75 meters and ignored the altitudes set in the configuration utility (this was a safety measure we were using at the Sparkfun contest and we forgot to switch it back). Jordi has just uploaded ArduPilot 2.1.1 which reads the altitude settings for each waypoint correctly.



Thanks to… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 10, 2009 at 8:00pm — 2 Comments

Blimpduino ready to ship



Here's a stack of Blimpduino boards being programmed in preparation for being sent off to the distributor. We're going to start selling the full kits, blimp, senors, beacons and all) through the Make Magazine store… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 10, 2009 at 11:00am — No Comments

A random walk through a bedroom

This isn't about flying robots, but it's cool all the same. A 30-minute long exposure of a Roomba cleaning a room, as seen by the track of the central LED. What's interesting is that although its movements are essentially random, it looks like it didn't miss… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 8, 2009 at 8:48pm — 5 Comments

ArduPilot out of stock--will be back by Mon

ArduPilot is selling faster than Sparkfun can make them! It's out of stock again, but the boards are on the PNP machine now and it will be available again by Mon/Tues. Total sales at this point are approaching 600.

Added by Chris Anderson on May 8, 2009 at 1:34pm — 3 Comments

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