04/19/2015 at 12:34 •
To date we have both been inundated with other work, we are students first after all. Our latest plan of action is re-developing the build into a kit that can be laser cut and used reliably. We decided that a custom board with integrated drivers etc. would be cool, it really is more of an exercise in custom development and design than a real necessity. We've started that development and will post updates as we go, but it won't be a particularly fast process. I'd reckon about 2 months will a working prototype MkII is ready.
Thanks to everyone who skulled and followed :) It's motivational to know people are interested, you guys make a difference.
03/29/2015 at 20:45 •
Since the prototype was completed we hadn't actually had a chance to test out the system on the real night sky. On Friday we met on campus (UCT) to test out our creation, and of course the 'demo-gods' (yes, demo-gods) would have it that cloud cover prevented us from identifying any major constellation or star...but we waited it out and to our excitement the cloudy night cleared just long enough for us to identify a star and calibrate the laser. Due to the location, we were forced to use a car battery and a DC-AC inverter (square wave, 1.5A). Star chosen (Rigel) and coordinates sent, we expected the laser to do as it was told. As any good first test should go, issues arose. The steppers were stalling and we didn't have a clue why. After a quick deduction, we guessed that the inverter/car battery combo wasn't giving us the current we needed (Still not sure why). "Bummer, guess we aren't destroying any planets tonight then."
We did however confirm our suspicions in the lab with a PSU, where all systems were 'go'. But getting late and not having had a full nights rest for a week meant that this tonight was unfortunately not the night. Pictures to come soon.
03/22/2015 at 16:56 •
We have completed the first working prototype and although not fully featured yet, it does indicate the sun with an acceptable degree of accuracy.