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From software algorithms to material selection, Mr. Roboto strives to meet you
where you are — and what more would you expect from a complex service droid?
It’s quiet here in my town right now, so it’s the perfect
time to answer some questions!
Before I get started, I do have an addendum to an
answer I gave in my June ‘ 10 column dealing with creating
a custom servo controller that could control the span of a
servo. I noted the Pololu Serial Servo Controller ROB-08897.
Pololu informed me that this is a bit dated and that they
have a much better solution: the Micro Maestro six-Channel USB Servo Controller found here:
This is the replacement for the older board that I was
familiar with and it has better specs, too.
Figure 1. Micro Maestro
USB servo controller.
Q. I have heard of a method of using your printer to mask off where the traces go on copper clad boards. Are there any good books or literature
where I can learn more about this and what is the most
cost-effective method? Any ideas would be greatly
14 SERVO 08.2010
A. I have done this process a few times and I considered writing about my adventures, but I realized that there is a better place to get good
details on how to use a laser printer to make iron-on board
transfers ... www.instructables.com This link looks
exceptionally well detailed: www.instructables.com/id
Be sure to read the comments about how to dispose of
the etchant solution so you won’t damage your plumbing
(or your septic). One of the things that constantly plagued
me when using the laser printer iron-on method was the
iron temperature, force, and time I needed to get the
transfer to work well. It really depended on the iron and
the paper used. Your best bet is to use shiny paper (like
photo paper) and a heavy or “high quality” print so you
have lots of toner on your traces. Don’t press too hard
either; do multiple passes with only the weight of the iron
on your board. Make sure that your surface is flat and
sturdy so that you can apply even pressure across the entire
I’m sure that you can find other sites and examples to
help you out. The key to the process is to be patient and
consistent. If you don’t like the transfer, then scrub it off
and try again. You aren’t committed until you start etching
the board! Good luck and have fun!
Q. I have tried to get an Eclipse AVR plug-in configured twice now. Last month, it was on a Ubuntu 9. 10. The other day after installing Ubuntu
10.04, I tried it again. I get as far as having Eclipse installed
and running. It is the addition of the AVR plug-in that I
cannot seem to get accomplished. Could you elaborate or
go over in more detail how to install the plug-in?
A. Here is a detailed way to install this plug-in using the IDE. I was going to show the alternate method of downloading the plug-in and unzipping the files, but
all of the procedures I found on the Internet to do this were