FormulaPi Summer 2018 Testing 1

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.

Screen showing the Exception - Indentation Error
Exception – Indentation Error. (Image provided by Tim Freeburn)

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:

  1. My code stopped due to an indention error in the main code.
  2. 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.

RISC OS Portsmouth Show 28th September

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.
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Certified LabVIEW Architect – What’s it all about?

I passed the re-certification exam for the National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Architect after my previous certification had lapsed nearly a year ago. What’s the big deal then?

CLA-R results
Passed the Certified LabVIEW Architect re-certification exam

From the National Instruments site:

  • Highest level of LabVIEW certification
  • Demonstrates mastery in architecting and project managing LabVIEW applications
  • Valid for 2 years from date taken, recertification required to maintain credentials
  • Benefits: use of certification logo, listing on, exclusive events including annual CLA Summit

Multi threaded LabVIEW execution

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.

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Running LabVIEW as a Windows Service

Today I finally got around to using Visual Studio to create a Windows Service that will call a LabVIEW executable every 10 minutes to log temperature to a database.

We have been running a LabVIEW application as a service using a free version of FireDemon but found today that our corporate anti virus software marks the executable as a Trojan. Getting an exception for this will take ages so after referring to google I found an article on MSDN with the title Windows Services: New Base Classes in .NET Make Writing a Windows Service Easy.
Continue reading Running LabVIEW as a Windows Service

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