Wires, Codes, and Motors.

Wires, Codes, and Motors.

The landmine team works together to learn more about the functions of an Arduino, codes, and running motors.


All of the materials for the activity.
All of the materials for the activity.

When we began class this past Wednesday we were expecting the same old routine of learning more about our projects, the new advancements of drones, and how to build one. While we did continue some of the same routine business, new concepts were introduced to us via video presentation and Powerpoint. Professor Thomas Alberts from Old Dominion University presented us with different technical concepts and machinery that would help us in creating a better, more efficient drone.

To begin his presentation, Alberts talked about the different ways a remote can connect and communicate with a drone. Some of the ways were ‘ring’ or a circular pattern, ‘line’, and ‘star’, all of which seemed self-explanatory. Then, Alberts introduced something called “LiDAR” or Light Detection and Ranging. This device is a sensor that emits light to measure the range to the Earth. While planning out how we are going to build our landmine detection and detonation drone, our team decided we were going to use LiDAR or something similar in order to accurately and effectively determine the location of a landmine.

Alberts then finished his presentation by giving an overview of a device called an Arduino and the different codes that it can execute. An Arduino is basically an open-source computing device that can augment or control other devices. By having an Arduino open-source, anyone can create and upload different types of codes to the main Arduino website. So, for instance, after the presentation Alberts had the respective teams download a code that would activate a motor. This motor was given to us in-class in addition to a base, connecting pins and wires, and an electronic speed controller (ESC) which the motor would ultimately be powered up by.

We started with the code that contained commands for the ESC which would vary the electric motor’s speed and direction. The code controlled the force and speed the motor would run. We connected the base to the motor, motor to the battery, and the ESC to the Arduino. Everything was connected via

The motor and base, weighed.
The motor and base, weighed.

connecting pins or wires. Normally, the code would have run through the Arduino to the ESC and then to the motor, making it spin in one direction at a certain speed. Unfortunately for our team, our ESC was faulty and did not function properly, and so our motor did not run.

While our experiment might not have been a successful run through, we did learn a few things along the way. We learned how much thrust, or how much lift power a motor plus propeller makes, is produced when different amounts of power are given to a motor. We also learned how to control a motor, via code, through an Arduino.

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