Energy and measurements project

The second project of my Mechatronics education was to build a cart that could sens and record acceleration data and predict the carts path. The acceleration data also needed to be collected for post processing and analysis. My part of the project consisted of programming the Arduino and creating the python Gui and data analysis program. It also consited of designing and building of the hardware.

The setup can be seen in Figure 1. The cart gets accelerated over a predetermined path until it reaches the ramp. After it reaches the ramp the carts needs to give a visual indication if the carts turning point is between point a and b or not. This indication has to be done before the return point of the cart is reached.




The on-board hardware consists of a battery, a RGB-led, a Arduino Pro mini, a MPU6050 and a APC220. This can be seen in Figure 2. This electric circuit was turned into a PCB as can be seen in Figure 3.  The MPU6050 consists of a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope, for this project only the accelerometer was used. The APC220 is a transceiver operating on 433Mhz, which is used to send and receive serial data from the Arduino to the PC. Because of the Arduino’s limited processing power and the need for a quick calculation, the Arduino uses two setpoints to determine if the carts return point is between a and b. The setpoints are compared to the measured acceleration of the cart during the acceleration phase. These two setpoint where calculated in advance. This was possible due to the fact that the tracks position was known and the friction coefficients where derived from a test setup. If the cart was not able to reach point a, then the RGB-led would turn orangje. If the cart would pass a but not b the RGB-led would turn green and if the cart would pass point b the RGB-led would turn red.

 Electric circuit
Figure 2 – Electric circuit



Figure 3 – PCB








Data sample
Figure 4 – Data sample







The acceleration data also needed to be recorded for later use. All groups decided to store their data onto an SD-card. Except for our group, we decided to transmit the data to a pc. We did this so that in order to processes the data the cart did not needed to be removed from the setup and analysis of the data could be a lot quicker. The pc used a python script to record the data from the card and store it in a CSV file. This CSV file could also be read by python so that recorded session could be easily analysed. See Figure 4 for recorded session. A other benefit of using python and wireless data acquisition is that it was also possible to give a life plot of the data.

International Mechatronics education project (IMEP) Germany week

I’m currently doing the IMEP project during my study. This project has three international weeks one in the Netherlands, one in Germany and one in Belgium. During the Germany week we learned to use and program FANUC robot arms. To do this an assignment had to be completed. The assignments had to be done in groups of three. Our assignment was to program the FANUC LR 200iC robot to sort cylinders. These cylinders are notched with 1 to 4 notches. (See figure 1). The robots starts with picking up the cylinders. Then the picked cylinder gets scanned be a laser sensor. The cylinder is then placed in the right location based upon the number of notches.

Figure 1: Notched cylinder
Figure 1: Notched cylinder

Changeover from blogger to my own site

I have decided to switch from using blogger to using my own site. One of the main reasons was that I wasn’t happy with the layout options in blogger. Most of the time it was a real pain to try and place a picture on the blog. Also uploading a video to blogger meant that the video quality would be downgraded.

All my old posts from blogger have been copied to this new website. I just need some extra time to copy over all the pictures and video’s. Also comments aren’t copied over, but this will stay this way.