Saturday, 19 May 2012

I haven't been getting as much done as I would like to over the last two weeks but things are progressing and its about time I wrote an update.

I have been mainly working on the control system and have also been talking to a few people from UNI and other places about it but have gotten really mixed advice about how to develop it, which has really confused and bogged me down, to the point where I am not sure what to work on.

Choices are:
Do a really detailed simulation in CADAC++
Investigate a more optimal controller (LQR has been suggested) and use a more powerful micro controller.
Keep doing what I was planing on doing

What I was planing on doing is using a simple PI (turns out I don't need the D) and using simulink to program an arduino to demonstrate a proof of concept tethered stabilised vehicle; hanging or to the ground if that is too difficult.

I think the problem is my goals are not clear enough. The entire reason I started this project is to learn and programming a detained simulation in CADAC and learning about optimal control sounds like fun, however, if I did everything at a university/professional level I wouldn't get anywhere because it would take too long. I really need to decide if I want to do everything to a high standard or if I just want to get something that works. I could easily see my simulator talking to the deadline I set in June and I would probably be less motivated to work on it. Considering the amount of time and money I have put in and that I probably wont be able to work on it next year as I will be working full time I think I just need to get something working rather than study everything in depth.

 I have also started on an electronics box for all the flight electronics:

I gave some thought on how to package everything so that it would be still functional after a decent impact. Scott had the idea of mounting everything inside one box which was padded inside another. I liked the idea but it is a bit complicated so I just decided to pack everything in foam and have several levels of electronics stacked on top of each other. The top level isn't finished as I am waiting on some switch mode power supplies. Annoyingly I ordered some but they were only step up and wouldn't transform down. I am slightly worried that they will create noise which could interfere with the magnetometer on the IMU.

Also the miniature boring bar finally came yesterday which means I can continue work on the stainless thruster. I made a few attempts to make my own out of 1/8" square tool steel stock but none worked well enough. 

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