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Collab Log #004: Epic 5 hour soldering session with Beck and Brenda

Collab Log #004: Epic 5 hour soldering session with Beck and Brenda

Today was a big day in terms of Robot Missions milestones! Beck and Brenda are the first beta testers of assembling the Bowie Brain Kit! Woohoo! They will be following along all the steps to get their own Bowie brain alive. This was a pretty epic work session. They spent 5 hours working away on it, by the end, they didn’t even realise how much time had passed! It was 11:30pm by the time we left. 😀 Here is a video update:

Going from a small amount of previous soldering and robot experience, to now soldering this board, they mentioned that the instructions and photos have been super helpful. It was amazing to see their progress on this. Sometimes there were mistakes, but it was ok because we fixed them along the way.


Beck and Brenda found a lot of bugs that should be fixed! Here’s the list of them:

  • Overview:
    Just remember – if something is extending over the edge of the board before soldering, it’s probably in the wrong place. Avoid cold solder. Resistors do not have directionality, but most of the other parts do. Oh yeah, and you can remove the tape after it’s done being used to hold the soldered component in place.
  • Part 2, Step 13 – Should be resistors inserted into R10 and R11 (it’s plural). Make sure the leads of both resistors are not touching.
  • Part 2, Step 16 & 17 – It is not clear what direction the diode should go in. Polarity
  • Part 2, Step 18 – ‘Resistor’ should be ‘diode’ 😛
  • Part 3, Step 3 – Need to write about using tape instead of twisting the leads, because the leads from the speaker can snap and break
  • Part 3, Step 8 – ‘Resistor’ should be ‘LED’ 😛
  • Part 3, Step 12 – LEDs not resistors
  • Part 4, Step 10 – Could also add something about using tape to secure the capacitor in place prior to soldering it and snipping the leads
  • Part 4, Step 2 & 3 – There is no directionality for the PN2222A, should mention what side the flat gets inserted
  • Part 4, Step 6 – Directionality?
  • Part 4, Step 8 – Do not flip the board
  • Part 4, Step 14 – Needs clarification that the row of holes the screw terminals go in are the row of Z3,2,1 – not the holes nearest the edge of the board.
  • Part 5, Step 1 – Should be Xbee headers (shallow F headers) instead of just shallow F headers to correspond with the packing list properly
  • Part 5, Step 2 – Add a bit about keeping the headers perpendicular to the board, not inserting them crooked
  • Part 5, Step 4 – Should also mention about how adding in an Xbee as a placeholder will improve the reliability of these headers (just based on previous experience of the forks getting jammed)
  • Part 5, Step 5 – You don’t have to flip the board
  • Part 5, Step 8 – Orientation

Way to go Brenda and Beck on this progress! More to come next week.

Collab Log #003: Eng. design group meet

Collab Log #003: Eng. design group meet

We met with the University of Ottawa Master’s Engineering Design project team tonight, where we showed them a tour of the Prototyping Lab at Bayview Yards and discussed their project plan. We tried to determine what resources we might need for achieving all aspects of the project plan.

The group is super curious about the robot, and robotics in general. Their module will be useful, to see if IR light is useful in detecting plastics. It will be interesting to try it both in the day, and at night.