Week something, Post 5

Huff, spring break just passed and I haven’t even written this in advance… I need to stop procrastinating…

But anyways, I think it is week 11, but not too positive, and spring break sure is a time to do stuff. I posted two posts on my “diary” website, but yet again, my crappy server broke down and the website is not accessible. So I will just post some of the pictures I posted there here. These are for V1 of my car, built on Mar. 15, 17. If you are on a mobile device like the iPad, click on the images to view the caption (they’re pretty important). If you’re on PC, I don’t know if captions show, but there are captions on most of the photos.

So, after that, I did a few upgrades, fixed the motor that didn’t really work, and plugged all the Input Outputs! I realized that the Pi can never power the motor, on its own, to make it work as normal. So I basically added another power supply to the motors. This means I will have two battery packs on my car, one for Pi, one for the motors. This is V2.0.

In my meeting with my mentor, I started writing code the car. The first step is to set up the initial initialization, like assigning output to the motor’s pins (24-27). Then, I have to figure out a logic for the car. This includes a exclusive list of the things it will perform under one of the many conditions. So much work for me in the coming weeks…


De Bono Time:

The six hat conversation:

First, I would like to say that most of the time we are talking, we are just confirming our thoughts or proposing a solution that may well be the only one suitable, and we are only talking like 30% of the time in the 2 hours, so I will try to skip over some mumble jumble. OH, and also our conversation is in Chinese, so it is hard for me to translate it into English word for word. I will just say the overall message. Legend on bottom.

Me: Telling my mentor the different things I’ve added since he last saw photos of it. (1.0 to 2.0).

my proposed diagram
my proposed diagram

Also tell him of my logic diagram I am working on. Also tell him of my goal for the night, which is to find out if my diagram works, my car’s design works, my motors function, and some python coding if we have time.


Mentor (and me, but mostly him): Confirm what I said, suggest a new method of figuring out what the logic of the car is. Demonstrates the method and work out the car’s reactions to different input values when it is first starting. (put down on the ground and motors are 0) Everyone agrees that this method is a lot better to follow when writing a code. Ask me to list what the car should do in each situation (ex. right IR sensor detects black, nothing else). Discuss about the type of line & and thickness for IR sensor.

20 min. later.

Me: Discuss how to control the motors, and testing a test code to see if motors function.

test code didn’t work,

Mentor: tells me why code won’t work. Deletes, or comments out most of code that didn’t work.

looking up pwm (pulse width modulation or something, it makes the motors spin slower)

Mentor: (don’t know python, but know the usual syntax and logic of the language) Copies a LED code over to the motor, changing some values. It is meant to fade an LED back and forth. He thinks that it should work, because they are both outputs, and there really isn’t much difference between them.

didn’t work at first, but when the work percentage/duty cycle  is higher (spin faster) it works. We tested that it can start moving at around 65% when it was stationary through a lot of trials.

50 min. later.

Mentor: Suggest a new code that don’t fade out, and allow us to call it up pretty quickly using the “def” function. We also discovered that it allows us to change the variables pretty quickly (time and duty cycle). Also suggests that I put comments on my code so I can remember what they do later.

Me: It also makes your code easier to read to other people so they can know what you are doing.

Me: commenting code is boring, basically you just label the code, but I feel like I will probably forget what this line means in like two days, so I should probably still label it.

me labeling code for 20 min.

Some other little things we discussed that I won’t document here, and our meeting is finished.


White Hat – info

Red Hat – feelings, instinct

Black Hat – criticism

Yellow Hat – the good stuff about something

Green Hat – brainstorming/creativity

Blue Hat – the agenda



The End




The 8th week…. (My 4th post)

First of all, here are some updates on the overall progress of my project. I have basically finished all the learning portions of in-depth, and I will move on to constructing my final project. This doesn’t mean that I’m done learning, it means that I will progress from reading 80% of the time to reading 20% of the time. My final project has a lot of things where it could go wrong, and there are a lot of room for improvements and upgrades. So, I think from now on I will learn through doing.
My progress report is, or was, on my personal blog, but the server crashed while I was writing the report and my site, along with several of my dad’s sites went down. (I must have done something wrong, the WordPress sites could no longer be accessed) I have a copied-and-pasted version here, but all the images are gone. Sorry…
Edit: its now back on, go to this address: tonysun.win

Edward de Bono time:

How to listen:

First of all, my mentor had a different idea about the state of the connection when a capacitor is charging and when it is fully charged. From my readings, I thought that while charging, a capacitor allow the flow of current, and when it is done charging, it will block all current, and it will “open” the circuit. (no current could pass through) Through listening, I saw a different perspective and saw that his reasoning are valid, while my perception of what happened could explain the results of an example circuit, his way of seeing things is more valid. In the end, we are both wrong, and we had a laugh about it. It was after my mentor tried to explain to me his views for 20 minutes, using diagrams and everything. He kept using words that I haven’t read about before, and he is sometimes saying things based on the assumption that I know some things, which I may or may not know. For example, the term “short-circuit” appeared in my readings once (I can’t memorize things that well, and it didn’t come to me), and he kept saying that, resulting in me not understanding the whole phrase he is saying. I tried to wait patiently, because I know everything will be written on my face, and asked a ton of clarifying questions. Finally, I got what he was saying, but we decided to search it up anyways. Turns out we’re both wrong! I also got some interesting facts by paying attention to the matters of interest that arose. For example, since some light bulbs use AC, which has voltage that goes up and down, like a wave, those light bulbs are actually flashing. We can’t see they are flashing because the AC frequency is very short. In the US I think it is 60 times per second. Finally, by paying attention to his use of words, like open circuits or using t0 to t1 to describe an event, I can communicate more professionally with others, and also make my words easier to understand for an experienced person.

How to ask questions:

Fishing questions and shooting questions, they are kind of like the surface/shallow and deep questions we learn in middle school. A shooting question has two results, you miss, or you hit the shot. It is very straight forward. A fishing question is like fishing, you throw in a bait, knowing that it will attract a range of fish (or questions), but you won’t know which fish you will catch, or whether you will even catch one. We ask these questions and differentiate between which question to ask all the time. As de Bono observed, we ask shooting questions when we suspect the answer is no, and when we have an idea what we are asking. If we have no clue of the answer, we ask a fishing question.

Just like de Bono observed, we ask for clarification and explanation more than anything else in our conversations. This is very true for my mentor and me, as I often need him to explain something in plainer English. I also asked a lot of questions when the ultrasonic sensor that we finished last time didn’t work this time, after being transported to a different place. I asked for the possibility of some things going wrong to try to cover all the possibilities (shooting questions), like the connection of resistors, the order of the resistors in the voltage divider, whether the GPIO pins we are connecting to are malfunctioning, etc. We changed the GPIO, the variable names in the code, downloaded a version of the code online that people made, and non of that worked. Finally, we realized that it was supposed to be connected to 5v, instead of 3.3v. This part is when I asked a multiple choices question, of which scenario have the greatest possibility of happening, and therefore which one we should check first. I think using the multiple choice question is great because it lets us examine all the options before making a decision.

I asked for an explanation of the meaning of “short circuit”, which I believed to be a circuit without resistors. But that

description didn’t fit in with the context that my mentor was talking about. He explained, using a diagram, that it means, basically, that there is little to no resistance between the two poles. It also means that, like in the diagram below, all points in the red line have a V of 0. That is because they are all connected to ground, and they cannot have a voltage, but suddenly drop to a 0 when it reaches ground, for no reason. Sorry if that makes no sense.

courtesy of eschooltoday.com

I hope you are still staying with me after 1000 words, but luckily, or not, this is the end.

Courtesy of giphy.com