Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pulse Rifle: So Close!!

Yesterday, German and I worked tirelessly on the Pulse Rifle in an attempt to get it ready for the MLTA's first game of the summer season for laser tag.  We got SO close, but as you'll learn from this post, the Pulse Rifle never left my basement.  After nearly 7 hours of continuous work, we ran into one kink in the design that would set it back and leave it on the workbench.

However, there was STILL more than enough good things happening to make our work worth it. The only trouble was that we couldn't field it just yet!  Above, you can see the Arduino Mini installed on breadboard that has all the neccissary wirings and resistors mounted on it.  This is the board before we started hooking it up to all the components and switches... still pretty clean looking.

 Work on the internally-mounted sensors and hit lights took a BIG step forward.  To the right, you can see the deadbug sensor before and after it's wiring.  Both of these sensors are to be mounted in the white housings built from the 3D printer in the second picture to the right.  In the foreground, you can see an older design of the housing that didn't accomodate the space needed for the Airsoft barrel to run above these sensors.  The row of red LEDs are actually taken off of a Laser Challenge Team Force pistol and will light up when the sensors on the Pulse Rifle are hit.

The last picture on the right shows the housing inside the metal vent cage that it's designed to fit inside.  The housing will be painted later, but this gives you a clear idea of how it'll fit in the cage.  The top barrel of the Pulse Rifle runs along the open section of this cage.  Reflective panels will be installed inside the cage to get the entire section to glow red when the sensors take a hit.  Unfortunately, right now the lights aren't working properly, as they are staying lit when the blaster is turned on.  Additional wiring checks and programming checks will be needed to see if it's a physical problem with our wiring or if there's a bug in the program we've installed to the Arduino.

You can see the first signs of life in the Pulse Rifle.  This is a picture of the internals after we sent power through them for the first time.  The blue light is from the amplifier for the sound board, which is not getting power for some reason.  You can also see the 3 LEDs shining, as we didn't figure out why they were staying lit.  Still, it appears about 85% of the wiring we did is good, though there are still problems to sort through.  I should've expected hiccups in it's production, since this is still the first Laser Tag blaster we have made to be fully compatible with the Phoenix LTX laser tag system.
This is the adapter plugged into the Arduino that allows us to program the board.  It allowed us to figure out what problems the programming were causing as well as what problems there were potentially with the wiring/design of the internals.  We're really close to getting this thing buttoned up and rolled out, but this snag was more than enough to sideline the Pulse Rifle for our first game.  Oh well!  These things happen!

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