The Workbench

The Workbench
Making my Dreams a Reality

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First Post

I guess this will either work or it wont...

This will be where I can put some of my thoughts up onto the web. Was looking through the family blog I set up back in 2006, didn't work out... Was cool to see what I got up to. Just deleted it actually...

Any Way...

Lately I have been working on my Bright Sparks Competition Entry; The PICAXE based data logger. Plan A was to make it interface with a graphics calculator (Casio FX 9750G PLUS). Plan B is to have it interface with a computer and have that upload inot a spreadsheet.

Windows - hate it! If I was to go with plan B I would have to spend MUCH more time on windows. As if my gaming wasn't enough. I would say that a coupla hours on windows is an eternity - but I digress.

Plan B would have MUCH more memory than Plan A.

Plan A would involve wiring the PICAXE main board, (consisting of a 28X1 chip), to a 32K EEPROM. This EEPROM would store all of the sensor's variables with their time.

Real Time Clock - AKA RTC. I need a RTC of somekind so the 28X1 doesn't have to count, (which it is CRAP at!). This RTC would be read by the 28X1 whenever serial data was sent over the wireless network, (of my smaller 08M chips with sensors).

To put it simply:
28X1 = Main Board
08M = Sensor Board

The 08M transmits data (the variable\s) the the 28X1. The 28X1 read the data and stores it into its own variable\s. Then it would read the time from the RTC. The time and the variable\s would be stored as ONE variable in the EEPROM.

When the user wants to collect the data, he\she pulls out their casio calculator and plugs it up. They flick a switch on the 28X1 box. This activates CASIO mode. When the 28X1 is in CASIO mode, it no longer listens to the sensors. It will wait until the casio begins to ask for data. The 28X1 will begin the, (possibly slow), process of transmitting the variables (with time) to the casio. The casio will store it in a statistical list.

Actually... What if I didnt store the time and data together. That would make it easier right? That was I could transmit the time into list one, and the various data into differant lists. I can tell the casio is going to have a REALLY complicated program.

This is why I have my plan B. If I can get the whole system set up for CASIO mode, maybe I can convert that to COMPUTER mode. In COMPUTER mode, the 28X1 would be plugged up to the serial cable. The computer would begin, (the most likely quick), reieving of data. The data would be stored into a table, (maybe I can write a python App to put it into the linux equivilant of excel...).

We all know that all schools have excel (schools are my target audience). So they could hook the module up to the computer and get all of the data out of the EEPROM. Excel is very capable of graphing data (into a single graph!).

Plan B Subplan B would be to have the 28X1 ALWAYS hooked up to the computer. That removes the need for; a battery for the 28X1, an EEPROM, and an RTC.

I would say that is all I can really say about my bright sparks project (also will be my science fair project).

Next post will include pictures of this thing coming together!



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