• Product Review | Totem 2WD Car Kit

    4 days ago 0 comments

    Billed as an upgradable smartphone-controller car chassis kit, the Totem 2WD Car Kit does exactly what it says; it is a small kit featuring a Bluetooth-compatible board and a companion app to control it. Despite its size the kit comes with everything you'd need to build a fantastic little platform to use as-is or to build upon.

    Unboxing

    The kit contains the following parts:

    • 1x X3-FBI board – Bluetooth motor controller;
    • 2x cables – with JST connectors, to connect motors and controller;
    • 2x DC Motors – N20 type, with JST connectors, L=16mm shaft, 75:1 gear ratio, 400 rpm shaft output at 6 V;
    • 1x Battery – LiPo, 3.7 V, 250 mAh;
    • 1x USB Battery Charger;
    • 4x Wheels – 2x driving wheels with D-shaft holes (to mount directly on the motor) and 2x idler wheels with O-shaft holes (3.2mm), 44 mm rubber tires;
    • Totem mechanics and Tools for building chassis frame.

    Building

    Building this kit was great fun! The instructions for building are available by following a QR code on the box. The manual is clear, well thought out and makes assembly as easy as possible. The manual is a tad difficult to read on a phone display so I'd recommend using a tablet or a PC, or downloading the manual as a PDF instead of using the onscreen widget. The kit had a few spare nuts and bolts which was a welcome site, they always come in handy.  I did notice that the tolerance of the small M3 nut/inserts sometimes varied ever-so-slightly, making is sometimes a little tricky to slot them into the beams. Using the butt of the driver tool as recommended in the documentation definitely helps with these parts. The quality of the included tools are also great. Taking time to align the beams properly when attaching the brackets before fully screwing them in is a good method to follow, and ensures for a flush fit.

    Finished Build

    Software

    ***Software review to follow***

    Outcome

    The final product is a great little platform! The X3-FBI board features in most of the robot chassis kits available, and as such means there are plenty of extra ports for expansion should you wish to build on top of this chassis. The board could benefit from an on-off switch to ease the wear and tear on the battery connector. Another nice feature for future boards would be a integrated charger for the battery, however I can see why they'd struggle to fit the extra components on the board alongside the rest of the things on there  (the light bar, speaker, position sensor and the motor driver and ports) without sacrificing the small for factor.

    The Totem Beam system is absolutely brilliant - the combination of light, plastic beams reinforced with metal inserts and brackets works really well together, and gives plenty of options for building. 

    All in all this kit was a fantastic introduction to the Totem system. I am really looking forward to assembling my Mini Lab from these guys, and I'm really looking forward to coming up with a custom structure from their Maker Kit too.

    Thanks Totem!

  • Product Reviews

    7 days ago 0 comments

    In a few days I will hopefully be receiving a wonderful package from Totem, and I can't ruddy wait!

    I came across the company a month or two ago while looking for an alternative to 20x20 aluminium extrusion for my #Digibone  project on here; I needed something light and sturdy to build a frame.

    After a few days of chatting to Karolis from Totem they were really excited to see what I could use their Maker Kit for, and very kindly offered to send me the kit to use in my project in exchange for a review of it.

    Furthermore they are also sending their mini lab kit, which I'm really looking forward to using to streamline my project development moving forward.

    When I receive these kits I shall be hosting my reviews as Pages on here, and with the Maker Kit I will be adding plenty of logs to document how I manage to build my DigiBone frame from the kit.

    Exciting times!


    Update | 15th October

    My kits have arrived!

    The Maker Kit will be making the basis of the DigiBone project - I'm really looking forward to building a frame and getting the electronics in place to start working on the code. This project has been long in the 

    works and it's finally time to get it finished.

    The Mini Lab looks absolutely fantastic - an all in one prototyping kit with loads of options and possibilities. I'm looking forward to building this and looking to use this as my main prototyping setup alongside a Pi with 7" touchscreen.

    The 2WD Car Kit was an absolute surprise - It's going to either something for my son to use or taken to work for driving around the office :-)

  • More Mac stuff

    09/29/2019 at 00:20 0 comments

    I've managed to pick up an old Mac Mini to use as a home server - booyah!

    Currently I have an ancient headless pc running Pi Desktop x86 software with a hard drive attached for media sharing.

    I always wanted to do more with this box (sticking a lightweight Ubuntu install and using it to run some test C# MVC Apps) but never had anything to host our media. Plus, the media wasn't managed; it was just a shared folder essentially.

    Now with the old Mac Mini (the old white one with a tonne of i/o; late 2009 I believe) the plan is to replace the hard drive with a chunky ssd, add some more ram and stick the Mac Server App on it, alongside Plex and potentially iTunes.

    Can't wait to finally have a proper little home server running :)