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04.26.17 Independent Study, Journal 13


04.26.17 More Parts & Relaxation via Deconstruction

I ordered more parts from E-bay. I know Chinese parts suck, but sometimes the cost difference is worth the risk. I also ordered one more expensive version from Amazon.


I basically got voltage regulators and power distribution blocks so that I can be 100% sure of my power system. I tried to order batteries too but had some issues with my credit card and did not get it done. No idea why.


After that, I need a break in a huge way. I rested all day yesterday but now I need to do something easy and gratifying. I bought this CD changer at Goodwill for 3 dollars. I am going to take it apart and salvage the parts.


04.27.17 Making Peace

I am making peace with the money I am going to have to spend on motors and batteries. I have done a lot of research and I think I have them picked out. I sent it to Wade and he thinks it will be good. I am only concerned that the motors may not be fast enough. I don’t quite know how to imagine the RPMs.

I am thinking either these motors:

Pair of Car Window Motors

  • Voltage Rating: 12VDC
  • Speed (No Load): ~ 85RPM
  • Torque:
  • Includes 5″ wheels

Pro: I like these because they come with wheels attached so I think the wheel/motor connection will be easier and more secure. I also like the look of the wheels. I feel like they will be more agile than what I have.

Con: They will require a pretty significant redesign of the robot. They only have 65 RPMs and I have no idea if that is fast enough.

or these motors:

12 V Geared Motors

  • 165RPM HD precision planetary gear motor
  • Maximum torque: 680.5 oz-in. (12VDC)
  • No load current: 0.53A
  • Gear ratio: 51:1

Pro: they are the same basic design as my other motors so I should be able to mount them the same way. They also have 165 RPM so they are faster than the others and they have even more torque. I am not sure how much speed I need. I hope 165 RPMs is enough. The torque is great. I would be in no danger of overloading these motors. I am not sure how much battery power I will need, but I guess I can figure that out.

Con: These cost more. The window motors cost $62.85 for the pair and they come with the needed hardware. These cost $73.98 ($36.99 each) and I will need additional hardware to use them. I am guessing at least another $12 for the hardware, more if I need new wheels.


Thinking about Gene and Independent Study

I am disappointed with how this independent study has gone. I know it is Independent Study and that means “independent” but I thought I would have someone to ask questions and get feedback but that didn’t turn out to be the case. I feel like I just annoyed Gene and didn’t really end up with many answers that I could not have just figured out on my own. That really is fine in the grand scheme of things. If I had been told that Independent Study would mean working completely on my own and then turning something in, I would still have done it. I don’t mind the process of figuring things out even when it is stressful. I am ok with that. I just need clear expectations.


I have over compensated by maintaining lots of detailed records of what I do because I am always so afraid I am not doing enough. This project is particularly bad in that regard because I know that the work is way below graduate level work. I just watched a pair of undergrads design 2 robots in the time it took me to figure out my power system. I take too long and I don’t know enough and the work is too basic. I know it is. Wade says it isn’t, but I just don’t agree with him on this one. I should be better than this for a Grad school project. If you take away the “Grad School” from the situation then I am totally proud of myself because I think I have made some pretty remarkable progress. Wade is right about that. I have learned a lot. I started at nothing and that is impressive. I have a right to be proud. But that does not change the fact that it isn’t Graduate level work.


Next time I do an independent study I will make sure I have a much clearer desired outcome so that I don’t overcompensate so much.


04.28.17 Laser Printer Deconstruction

The lady at the story where I bought my computer said she had some old printers. “Some” turned out to be 5. I took them to school. Printers are too messy to take apart here. I took the first one apart after class Thursday. I intended to just do some of the work but there was a yellow toner cartridge exploded inside it. It was so messy I decided to just do it all at once so the mess didn’t spread any more.


It really was fun to take apart. I got some very cool parts. I didn’t take picture because of all the mess. I didn’t want to touch my camera but I will do it later


I Emailed Gene to tell him about all the parts.


E-mail to Gene

Hi Gene,


I salvaged a lot of parts from the biggest laser printer. I did not intend to take it all apart in one day but one of the toner cartridges was exploded inside and it was so messy I felt I had to just get it taken apart rather than try and move it.


I salvaged 7 motors. One is a giant 24V geared servo motor. Steve thinks the gears are something like 20:1. It’s pretty cool. OI can’t identify all the other motors and I have not tested them yet.


I also saved the circuit boards, there are some good voltage regulators, transistors and capacitors. Wade also thinks I can salvage a few of the ICs.


It looks like one component is a very large transistor.


I saved a good bit of hardware. I really needed some casters and small parts. I think I got them. I saved the long metal rods that held the cartridges. I left a few in the printer because they were just so filthy. I wish I had been able to get at them but it was just too much. I feel like I can use them for something. I don’t know what, but something.


There were also some metal edging pieces I wanted to keep but I only managed to save 1 of them because of all the spilled toner powder.


Given that the printers were free, I think I did pretty good.


I still have another laser printer to take apart and 4 ink jets.


I know I don’t have the skill set to do much with these parts yet, but someday I will. Maybe I’ll think of something.


I also saved the laser. It is a “class B” laser. Wade says I must be careful but maybe I can play with it someday, when I know more. Also, when I have safety glasses and stuff.


I spread everything on the table beside my cabinet in the common space. I will organize it into baggies later.


04.30.17 Caught Up

It feels good to be caught up. I did some more reading about electric circuits today. I still have to decide on the motors. I wont get them in time for the end of the semester anyway so I can afford to be sure.