Github

So I got a Github account yesterday.

Previously Github was something that happened to other people with my total experience being solely downloading stuff on it via external links. Recently however I’ve had a rather annoying issue whereby I may write some code at work, or on either computer at home, want to edit it later and would always have to locate the right flashpen only to find that I hadn’t copied the most recent revision onto it.

This combined with the nagging worry that should the flashpen suffer one of the many tragedy’s that befall these little devices I’d end up losing the lot >_<

As I said, previously I’d only downloaded from Github and to that extent all it looked like was a hosting service that was popular with techno geeks because well, it was popular with techno geeks. Much to my joy it appears to be much more and in fact the perfect solution to my problem, namely distributed version control. Basically this means that it will handle all the version tracking and backup of the code along with the ability to sync the most recent version to any computer my account is setup on. Example, I make some changes to some code at work during lunch. The software on my computer recognizes that I have made some changes and asks me If I want to commit them to the repository and add a comment to detail those changes. As soon as that happens it is instantly available on any other computer I’m setup on as well as available as an online download. Neat.

I haven’t delved to deeply into the copyright and security side of things but to be honest that doesn’t worry me at the moment, I’m not writing anything revolutionary and to be honest with no formal training I imagine some of it would cause proper programmers to tear their hair out and so it doesn’t really matter who downloads what. Most of it is all based around Arduino and Reprap which are based themselves on an open source philosophy and feeding back into the community.

Have a browse through, https://github.com/JCT250 most of the code that is going up will be related somehow to other projects on this blog and may answer any questions about how parts work. Over the next few days I’ll try and upload more 🙂

Chur

Nor will I have to carry my own shopping

This last weekend say a lot of hardware related work done on the Kart. On Saturday morning with fully charged (but still not proven) batteries I departed from home on the scooter to work on the body with Matt and Dave. After thankfully making the trip without having to push anything and after Vicks dropped off the rest of the raw materials we made a start.

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The rest of the day was a mix of measuring, cutting, grinding, welding and lifting the body on and off the base more times than I would have thought possible but basically by the end of the day we had the following.

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Steel box section welded to the front of the frame. Front legs of the body bolt on to this. A section of the frame each side had to be cut out to allow access to the bolts. We had hoped to shift the body forward but then the seat wouldn’t have fitted inside without hitting the back of the body.

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Another section of box steel was welded to the seat post to support the rear of the body. Tabs were also welded on either side to prevent lateral movement. Eventually these will be bolted through.

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Rear legs trimmed to clear wheels, these will probably end up being cut back a bit more to allow the stock mudguards to be reinstalled

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Cutouts in the body for the footwell and for the steering column to pass through.

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Steering column extended so handles clear the top of the trolley.

After completing all that and waiting for the rain to stop the Kart was then driven back (once again thankfully without any pushing)

Next step will be to wire up some of the electronics. A couple of brackets have been printed to mount the rear taillight and the stock controller (that has had its LEDs and buttons removed) will be wired up to an Arduino to give more flexibility and features and an overall more “pimped” experience.

A couple of pics to finish with, the first being the charging socket, relocated to the chassis of the scooter from the original but now unused plastic body, the second, a shot of the drive electronics, not much to it really.

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Ill never have to walk anywhere again

For the last few months in the pursuit of laziness I’ve been kicking around with several people the concept of building an epic, completely impractical but o-so-awesome mobility device.

This started with the procurement of a body for said mobility device which will be unveiled in due time and in the weekend with the purchase of an old Plega Mobility Scooter. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of it before ripping it apart to have a look at its guts and how it can be modified, so the Trade-Me photos are all I’ve got of it in its former glory 262259488

Front view, broken cowling and one broken arm rest were the only damage to it as far as aesthetics go but this doesn’t really matter as it’s all going to go anyway. Please note the safety features included in this model, namely the front headlight and indicators 😛

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Rear of scooter, LED brake lights and indicators. Also features a rear crumple bumper to absorb the shock from those unfortunately frequent fender benders. Charging port to the right of the badge.

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Control panel, 4 speed settings, battery level in bottom right, indicators, headlight and horn.

And now some pictures from after I ripped off the cowlings to expose the frame.

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Firstly this thing has an awesome steering lock on it which is going to make it so much more maneuverable than I originally thought.

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It also has hot swappable battery boxes, 1 x 12v deep cycle battery in each which you can just lift in and out without having to disconnect the battery terminals from the wiring.

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2 x rear motors, optimal as it means that no differential required.

Taking the thing apart was a breeze. Firstly the seat (which slides backwards and forwards and has 5 locking rotation positions!) lifts out of its stand. You can then lift up the center section of cowling to expose and then remove the batteries. The rear drive section then disconnects from the front 2/3rds of the scooter by pulling one pin directly behind the seat post. All cabling is connected to a large connector with a plug / socket on each side which connects / disconnects automatically as you attach / detach the drive section. No having to plug and unplug / work out where a large mass of connectors go here.

The large black box between the motors contains the main PCB and a massive transformer to bring the 240V down. 6 bolts and you can remove one side of the box to peek inside. Remove the grey rear bumper and 3 bolts underneath and the rear cowling comes off.

At the front of the scooter once again excellent modular design makes itself apparent. everything is really simple to remove / re attach, every bolt has either a tapped hole or a captive nut so no trying to hold one side in an awkward position whilst trying to undo the other side. Cables have connectors in just the right place and are routed in just the right way to make the scooter easy to service but not at the cost of functionality.

The only hard part of the tear down was removing the front cowling. I guess it’s not a part that you would actually have to remove to service anything as everything was already accessible and so when putting it together they had used thick double-sided tape to hold the cowling to the metal frame. This stuff stuck really well and  I didn’t want to use too much force in case the cowling broke further but it came off eventually.

The batteries are on charge at the moment, ill have to see what condition they are in and whether they will need replacing but at the moment every thing is looking pretty good…