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Battle Tanks?


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I tried to talk to darren about this on twitter(@valkyries), but this probably got over looked. But i keep hearing you guys talk about some type of battle tanks. Well for the past couple of years we have been building these little tanks that would be programmed by our customers at our trade show then each night they would autonomously drive themselves around and battle other tanks. The Black boxes on the corner of the board are IR receivers(to see the other tanks), the blue diodes are IR transmitter(to let the other tanks now where it is) If there is enough interest I can explain the drive system, the tracking system, its ability to not drive off your playing field, Lithium-ion battery charging system. edit: I forgot the bring up that all the PCB(Gerbers) files will be open for anyone to have and the code should be also open for anyone to use with the pcbs.

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the old design uses 8bit MCUs; two on the top and one on the bottom. So the with the old design you would just program the "A.I" and then set it and let it go. The 7 segment displays tell you how many life's you have left and how many rounds your tank has left. You'd get 99 rounds and 9 life's. The tracks and the gear box are made by Tamiya and are about 20$ worth of parts, the rest of the chassis is made from PCB material. The whole system is powered by two Lithium-ion batteries.

Now we are working on the 2009 version of the tank, the biggest change is the tanks are now R/C. But they are driven through a Wifi card built onto the tank. Each tank will also be streaming video, So you now can drive these through your own computer. There are also going to be 8bit and 32bit MCUs, a bit more high tech

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let me update the site real quick and I'll post it here. till then here is what we did last year.

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cows and cow boys. The customer had to program the cowboys to go out and heard the cows. This year will be the first year they are remote controlled.

added the links to the original post

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  • 3 weeks later...

To give everyone a little update,

the tanks will have two modes of competition, autonomous(this is what we have had for the past 6 years), and a doom style gaming setup(FPS if you may). So each of these tanks will have their own type of web server on one of the PICs, this will connect itself to some type of linux(maybe) game server. So for this game, the tank is your sprite and the death cam is the little wifi camera mounted on each tank.

This project should be fully complete with 50 built tanks within two months. More pictures and possibly video coming soon.

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Im guessing about 2 weeks worth of coding left, Looks like we are ditching the pre-built wifi cameras(they are just way to big) and building our own camera system into the tanks. only 5-10fps(our wifi modules seems to max out at 2mbps) but that is plenty for these tanks. We have existing building blocks to take care of the video processing. We also happen to be the main driving force behind Suitsat 2(we also built suitsat 1, hence the avatar)

sry I skipped lunch today for some stupid reason so the image is blurry.

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  • 4 weeks later...

they are about $100 each with no wifi camera, but we bought 40 pcbs of each board so that drops the price down a little.

I was playing with the tanks the other day, had alittle idea to mod one of the pcbs to be a wifi web server that will hang off my badge at work. it would be about 1" x 1.5" and less then 1/2" thick(not included a power source). I might have to start another thread on this one thou,

here is a size comparison of the wifi module

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how are you going to install hardware to make it wifi? are you using a internet card?? It may have been posted but I may have missed read it.

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the 2009 version of the tank... are now R/C. ... driven through a Wifi card built onto the tank. Each tank will also be streaming video, So you now can drive these through your own computer.

do want!!

only 5-10fps(our wifi modules seems to max out at 2mbps) but that is plenty for these tanks. We have existing building blocks to take care of the video processing.

at 2mpbs it should be possible to do 30fps with some video encoding hardware, although 5-10fps is still respectable

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gear boxes came in the other day,

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same goes for the tank tracks,

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separating out all the gear box parts,

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to many parts,

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we should be ordering 35-40 PCB sets either this week or next.

put together two more prototypes together today,

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dude you guys need to buy me a ticket and send my ass over there to help out lol

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well thats only a days worth of work. right now we are debugging the wifi traffic, and getting the I2C up and running. Once everything is 100% working we should be able to give out the schematics and code(SHOULD be able to but don't quote me.).

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look familiar?

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your a tease buddy, a freaking off the top tease lol im looking forward to your source so i have somthing to guide me in the proper direction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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40 gear boxes,

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80 tank tracks,

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Bottom of the lower board of the tank,

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Top of the lower board of the tank,

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hey Darren if your following this, If i have an extra tank after all this I'll trade you one of your pineapples for one of these tanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok so the tank is nearly 100% complete. We ran into a slight problem running 4 tanks and 4 live video streams through 802.11 that we decided to change the cameras over to 900mhz(they also use about 1/3 the power). The tank now how software you run on your mac or pc to control the tank.

This weeks video is just of the tank being controlled from about 20feet away. When the tank shoots we simulate recoil by driving the tank backward for 1/2 a second.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXZBTRZ045E

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the 2009 version has the following MCU's:

pic16f1937 > game pc

pic32******** > rules pc / tcp ip stack for the wifi

one more pic16f767 > motor control / battery charger / edge detection

the top board has the 16f1937 and the pic 32. For the AI competition we only let the players program the 16f1937. this is so people cant cheat in the game, and so they cant screw up any of the main functions of the tank. Also on the top board is a zero-g wireless card. The second pic16 goes on the bottom board to take care of the motor controller, the lithium-ion battery charger and the edge detector.

we found a 2.4 ghz camera with a four channel receiver, but in close proximity with four cameras running it kills the wifi in the area. so we are going to try 2 2.4ghz cameras and 2 900mhz cameras. the camera is about 1inch cubed, they run about 3 hours with a 9v battery

edit: We are using C to program all the MCUs

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