Zeetah VI PCB assembly

After the PCB order had been submitted I created the BOM and ordered the parts from Mouser for delivery a couple of days before the PCB. I tried hard to reduce the number of different parts. One big change from Zeetah V (ZV) to Zeetah VI (ZVI) was that I changed all parts from 0603 to 0402 except when the power or voltage required the larger part. This made fitting the parts for ZVI easier but also made routing 0.2mm traces with 0.2mm space a little harder. This meant that there were very few ZV parts I could use on ZVI. (more…)

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Zeetah VI Mechanical and Electrical design

I missed discussing a couple of items in the last post: How are we going to attach the motor/axle brackets to the board and how do we handle the gap between the hub/gear and the bracket. Our original thought was to reduce mechanical complexity of the bracket, we wanted to support having axles that go between both brackets on the mouse.


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Bluetooth Serial Link

bluetooth serial link

Getting data back from the micromouse is a bit of a pain. Constantly having to disconnect and reconnect the serial cable every time you need to get some sensor readings or a data log gets old very quickly. Especially if you have done it wrong like me and about one in five reconnects resets the processor. So, as a quick hack, I made a carrier board that will connect to the existing serial and other pins on board. The carrier has a speaker, a push button, two LEDs and a Sparkfun bluetooth serial link. While larger that I would like, the Sparkfun module runs from 5V and is already set up ready to go. On a future mouse, I will make provision for the RN-42 module which is much smaller and runs from 3.3V. By default, the link speed is 115k baud and so far it just works. Turn on the mouse, tell the terminal software to connect to the bluetooth serial port and you’re good to go. Visit the Sparkfun web site for more information about the module. The carrier is way too high and way too heavy to use at speed but it should be a great help when getting the mouse set up. I expect to put a simple command line interpreter on the mouse so that it can be controlled remotely.


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UK Techfest 2011 Schools Events

The 2011 National Schools and Colleges Micromouse competition took place on Saturday 25th June as part of the TechFest event at the Technology Innovation Centre in Birmingham. After several years of male domination it was encouraging to see a strong female challenge by the girls of Central C of E School, Chichester and Wycombe High School. Indeed, the best all-round performance of the day came from Wycombe High School pupil Katharine Puttick, who won prizes in three different categories.


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