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November 24, 2014 AT 12:00 pm

Arduino-Based Tide Tank Project Created In Collaboration with Community Education Initiative “Rocking the Boat” #arduino

Educator Robert Zacharias contacted us about a TideTank project he created with the nonprofit group Rocking the Boat:

…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….

Read More.

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