All Japan Micromouse 2009 Sunday

Sunday crept up on me after another poor night’s sleep. Today was the all-important qualifying contest. In many ways, this was quite a relaxed day. After breakfast we went down to the Capio, got our gear set up and watched the opening ceremony. Once that was done, there was not much else to do except look at robots, watch the other contests and wait for our turn in the qualifying session. With 77 entrants to the expert class, the qualifiers were run on two mazes at the same time…


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All Japan Micromouse 2009 Saturday

I didn’t get much sleep at all on my first night in Japan. Or any of the others in fact. Probably over-excited. the view from the hotel room was pretty good what with the rocket, the planetarium and Mt Tsukuba all beautifully lit by the rising sun. Having missed out on the Akihabara experience on the day before, I resolved to take the Tsukuba Express and have a look this morning…


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All Japan Micromouse 2009 Friday

The 2009 All Japan Micromouse contest was held during the weekend of November 21-23 in Tsukuba. I was very fortunate in being able to attend and compete with some of the best mice in the world. This event was combined with the Robotrace line follower contest and the Microclipper event. In case that was not enough, the Tsukuba Challenge real world robot event was held the same weekend.


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Decimus 2 sensor geometry

Decimus 2 is now nearly ready to go. I don’t have much hope of having it ready for the Japan contest but it is worth a try. The mouse weighs only 2/3 as much as its predecessor at about 115g with batteries. This weight saving is almost entirely due to the use of the new 1717 size motors. It looks like everything is working so today, I set up the sensors. These have a different alignment to those I have used before.


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Decimus 2 takes shape

Decimus has been running reasonably well and each competition sees the plucky little micromouse improving in some way or another. It is clear though that it is not going to be fast enough to compete in South East Asia with any great chance of success. There are at least two faults on it. One is a damaged motor and another, I think, is a dry-joint somewhere on the PCB. Every so often, it will just do something unexpected like turn through a completely wrong angle. When I made Decimus, I ordered extra boards. This week the new motors came so, with only a short time to the all-Japan contest, I am trying to put another mouse together….


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Another STM32 Project Template

Earlier this year, I wrote about the fun I had setting up the GCC ARM compiler to run under MAC OS X. This kept me occupied for a few days and, eventually, I got it all working. Francois Gervais read the post and kindly offered to share his recipe for building ARM Cortex M3 projects using the GCC compiler. Read on for his notes about the project template…


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Bi level stepper driver

At the 2007 Minos micromouse conference, Martin Barratt gave a talk about his stepper motor driving scheme. For best performance, steppers really need to be driven by a high voltage. However, the current will need to be limited to prevent the motor overheating. Normally this is done with dropper resistors which waste all the energy or with chopper drives that can be relatively complex. Martin has an alternative approach that provides the high voltage needed to produce fast step rates and the low current needed to reduce dissipation and keep the battery size under control.


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Taiwan Micromouse contest 2009 Monday

Monday was our tourist day. The pressures of the competition were behind us and we could relax a bit while discovering more about Taiwan. The idea was that we would get the non-tourist tour of this part of the island. Taiwan is more than large enough to occupy any tourist for a good amount of time so this was always going to be a bit of a whistle-stop tour. Nonetheless, we got to visit some fascinating places and I would very much like to be able to go back and spend some more time in some of them. (more…)

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Taiwan Micromouse contest 2009 Sunday

Sunday – the big day. Saturday had given me a good opportunity to meet a few people, see the venue and get my mouse adjusted for the local maze conditions but this was it – competition day. We got off to an early start today. Breakfast was at 06:30 and I went down to be confronted with a huge variety of interesting option. I was told later that many of the things I chose were pickles rather than actual dishes so I had to go back and get some more. As it turns out, food was to play a big part in the day’s activities.


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Taiwan Micromouse contest 2009 Saturday

It took nearly 24 hours to get here but it has been worth the effort. The 2009 Taiwan Micromouse and Intelligent Robot contest starts tomorrow morning – September 19th. The venue is very good with a clear view for all the spectators and some excellent facilities for the competitors. As well as the local competition, there is an invited international event toward the end of the day. Competing here will be Ng Beng Kiat, Dave Otten, Fumitama Nakashima, Yusuke Kato and me….


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