The clock is definitely counting down before we head to the desert, and as always, we’ve been busy! We are SO close to our stretch goal! If you can help put us over the $2500 in the last couple days, that would be super super great! Kickstarter is here.
This week we completed fabrication of all the lamp posts – so as promised, I have some spark-filled metalworking photos:
After some frustrating wrangling with shipping, the broken charge controller was returned and completely functional! It was a big relief to see the display that told us the batteries were receiving charge from the solar panels. For fun, we disconnected the batteries to see how well the panels were doing, and they worked well enough that everything was running fine with just partial Minnesota sun!
There’s also been a lot of time spent making sure all the hardware is cooperating with the software. The software now happily records and plays audio back on all channels. It’s pretty amusing to watch someone studiously peering at a laptop with a phone receiver crooked on their shoulder, knowing they’re working and not having a conversation or on hold for tech support or something.
Other parts, of course, have been trickier than imagined. For those interested in some geekier details, I’ll describe one of the more frustrating problems and the somewhat ridiculous work around:
The original version of this installation ran using a controller that output 5 volts, and relays designed to run on that amount. This version of the project runs with a controller that supplies 3.3 volts. Most often, components are happy to either supply or accept either voltage, but these particular relays are not. So, to get around this problem, another custom program was written for the old controller to act solely as a voltage converter. One more component in this mix is not ideal, but it worked!! (If I haven’t mentioned it enough already, I am incredibly grateful to have the help of very smart people.)
We’re also troubleshooting an intermittent problem with so many audio devices trying to be recognized all at once when the computer starts up. Intermittent problems are the worst kind! Our success rate is quite high, so we’re not overly concerned. It can be programmed to restart itself until everything is working the way it should be.
Kickstarter is here.