We are back for the fourth season of Formula Pi and the first testing session didn’t go quite as smoothly for me as I had hoped. Not a complete disaster as I have competed before and there are a number lessons that can be learnt. Firstly, here’s the recording just as my run is about to start.
So what happened?
The Raspberry Pi booted as expected with the RGB LED changing colour to indicate that it was ready. The light sequence started GREEN, RED, GREEN… and nothing. A quick reboot and exactly the same so testing continued with the next competitor.
I checked the code to see if I had accidentally used the wrong controller code (Yeti vs Monster) but all seemed OK. For this season there was a new base SD image being used and a slight change to some of the controller code so I had created a clean install and made a few simple changes to improve the lane handling of the bot but nothing special. My intention was to just run basic code to check the upload was working and the base install was sound.
There had been a few problems with running the simulation software although I had assumed that this was due to upgrading my laptop to Windows 10. No matter, I’ll sort it after testing ready for the first round I thought.
Shortly after the testing session had finished I received an image from Tim Freeburn (Chief Robot Wrangler at PiBorg) with a picture of my lid and a screen showing an Exception – ‘IndentationError’. This is what stopped my car from moving off the line but how did I get into this position?
What I do know is:
My code stopped due to an indention error in the main Race.py code.
I had not tested properly as I couldn’t get my simulation code to run.
Some further investigation is needed but I am sure I can learn from this testing session, that will have to wait until next time.
With the design of modern laptops it would appear that this would mean the end of the device as the screen is secured inside the plastic housing with no obvious way to replace it. Fortunately with a little know-how it was relatively easy to source and replace the screen of my Toshiba Satellite C660D-1HK.
I had not been to a computer show featuring RISC OS for a few years so when I found out that there was to be one in Portsmouth I made sure I was available. The last time I had been to a show that featured RISC OS was the Acorn User show at Wembley Exhibition Hall in 1992 and I was not sure what to expect. Things have certainly changed during the last 21 years and Acorn no longer exist as a company but their legacy lives on in the ARM processor and RISC OS. Continue reading RISC OS Portsmouth Show 28th September
Using four different RS485 serial ports to communicate with four data acquisition devices, each with four channels it should be possible to sent commands to the each device in turn while waiting for a response from the first. This will greatly reduce the time required to poll all channels. So why is it taking over 40 seconds for all channels on all ports when it takes less than 10 seconds to poll all channels on one device. LabVIEW should be able to run each port in a separate thread.