Tuesday, May 03, 2011


After two failed blogging attempts let's see if I can't keep this one updated regularly. No promises.

So, what's the deal with this blog? I am a fourth year Electrical Engineering student at the University of Florida and this upcoming Fall semester I will be taking  EEL 4665: Intelligent Machine Design Laboratory. The goal of the course is to design, build, and program an autonomous mobile robot of our own design by the end of the semester. We have the choice of either designing our own PC boards to control the robot or buying a pre-built board. That's where this blog comes into play.

Since the class is only a semester long, the most sensible choice would be to purchase a micro-controller board. Every semester a large percentage of the class purchases the same board which is built by two of the previous teaching assistants. Their board is based around the Xmega128 and is a very well designed board that would more than suffice for my robot. However, the board wouldn't be available until the second week of the semester and is more expensive than the board that I will be using.

Long story short, I have decided to use the Arduino Mega 2560 as the "brain" of my robot... or I at least better use it as I already ordered it and it should be here tomorrow. For my previous electronic projects I mostly utilized PIC18F based processors so I have limited experience with ATmega, aside from what I picked up before I fried my Arduino Duemilanove's FTDI chip last year.

I will be using this blog as a personal reference as I learn to use the Arduino Mega 2560. Since the Arduino itself is Open Source and I'd love to contribute to the community, I'll be posting all my trials, tribulations, and triumphs right here on this blog. I don't actually expect anyone to read my blog, but if they do I hope they find it useful.

See you space cowboy

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