Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another BEAMbot... Almost...

This BEAMbot is different in three ways.

1) It doesn't use a motor but the lens-positioning system for a CD-ROM drive,
2) It looks pretty pretty,
3) Errr... It doesn't work as it should. As in: not at all...

Quick and dirty, since it doesn't work, heh:

The Body:

Two bigger and two smaller discarded electrolytic capacitors, glued together after I stripped them bare of the plastic casing, and copper legs from electrical wire (also stripped of the insulator, obviously.)

The Head:

As I said, from a CD-ROM drive. basically it is a bunch of magnets, surrounded with fine copper-wire wound around it with a gap where you apply current, so it moves up or down. The purplish thingy I got from a toy, glued it on the system for a reason I completely forgot.

The 'brain':

A basic, free formed solar engine with L.E.D. The rubber sleeve is again from a discarded CD-ROM drive, it was a shock mount. It is there because in full sunlight, the L.E.D. tends to otherwise oversaturate and stuff then doesn't work.
And it worked, honest, for one split second. I wired it on a breadboard, and the L.E.D. blinked, the lens mount twitched once and then it was dead.
So why didn't I troubleshoot it? Because it was dead, Jim. I obviously fried something I didn't use a solar-cell to power it but a regular battery, an accu, actually, and these pack a lot of oomph these days, so I figured I somehow burned its poor brain out. Desoldering the transistors showed that yeah, one was dead.
I didn't have a spare transitor lying handy (booh! hiss! revoking geek membership!) so the thing just lay there forlornly for quite some time. And I kind of forgot about it.
Then my girlfriend saw it and she thought it was cute, so I 'finished' it as a glorified stand-in-the-way-on-the-coffeetable

it looks kinda nice, but I don't feel very good about it, because it is just standing there, doing nothing.
Nice looking failure.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Email arrives more than three months late...

Got an email today that said 'Happy Birthday!' which is a bit weird because my birthday is January 4. And no, it was not spam, just a thingie auto-mailed from a messageboard. An email that took a little over three months to reach me, good thing email is never used for important stuff, huh?