…I worked on the Tide Tank project at Rocking the Boat, an awesome nonprofit organization in the South Bronx that teaches kids how to build wooden boats from scratch.
Here’s a quick overview movie about the project; many more project details as well as source code and schematics below the fold if you’re interested.
Combining elements of electrical work, microprocessor trickiness, mechanical design, and a touch of plumbing, this was a multifaceted project and I really enjoyed working with the great students at Rocking the Boat to bring it to completion.
As usual, there were a series of challenges/difficulties that came about, including:
Trickily leaky plumbing
Surprise electrical difficulties (do you know how much voltage drop there is over a 50 foot length of telephone wire?)
1.5″ diameter PVC ball valves which were remarkably difficult to operate by hand
A mysteriously burned out servomotor, dying just a few weeks into service
An ethernet connection problem that took a full day to solve
And many others!
But through the grace of lots of troubleshooting hours (including a moment when I printed out the entirety of the Arduino code and laid it on a table so I could try to understand what was going wrong) the water level in the tank is actually consistently modulating as it’s supposed to….
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.