Pi Wars Week -27: Peak Spaghetti
I've been suffering from plague over the weekend, hence the slightly later than usual update, but progress on R3L14NT is still definitely happening. Last time it was looking a bit spaghetti-ish, but manageable. Right now things have become... birds-nest-like.
Wise master once say, "to remove spaghetti, first embrace spaghetti". Or something like that.
It was probably worded differently. The point is, all of this Big Mess Of Wires has been for a purpose: making sure all the hardware works when connected at the same time. In the photo above I've got the motor controllers attached, the I2C multiplexer talking to the LIDAR sensors (there to solve a hardware problem I might talk about a bit later), the tiny monochrome OLED display displaying and a servo twizzling. Tack on the Arduino I was using for flashy lights and that's all the hardware I anticipate needing.
Now that everything more or less has a pin assigned to it, I can start soldering header pins to the proto shield which will hopefully be the permanent backplane of the electronics. This will let me do two things: use a single multi-pin female connector to connect each piece of hardware to the Pi, and get rid of the giant ribbon cable that's taking up so much valuable cabin space, as the proto shield sits directly on top of the Pi's GPIO headers.
There's still the small matter of the 24-pin DIP I2C muxer, and the larger Arduino Nano which will probably have to live on some dedicated bits of stripboard tucked away wherever they will fit, but they are still less of an inconvenience than a giant 40 pin ribbon cable. With those in place, I should be able to start working on solid mounting points for the accessory electronics (LIDAR, camera, screen, flashies) at which point we'll be approaching a fully working chassis.