not an easy decision to make the day before that event.
Afterwards, I took a couple of weeks off and then worked
on many of the leakage problems and improved the
software before RoboGames 2013.
I took Bran Dee to that event and found out I needed
to bring my own liquor and mixes. I had to rush out and
get some supplies to get ready for judging that night. I
bought limited supplies and had to reprogram the recipes.
Also, we were not allowed to fill the machines until right
before the judging.
I had barely tested the machine when the judges
showed up. Of course, after successfully pouring a couple
of drinks, I ran out of an ingredient. When one of the
judges selected a drink, both pineapple juice and air shot
out of a line, splashing the judge and his score sheets.
I climbed onto the table to refill the bottle and the
whole darn table tilted over. One of the judges (Mark
Setrakian) actually grabbed the mixer and hoses to keep
them from falling so, of course, he got soaked with mix
I yelled at the other judge to turn off the power
switches before he got electrocuted. Once this unhappiness
was over, I meekly begged them "Please don't judge me."
Well, they did anyway, and I ended up with a bronze metal.
(Of course, there were only three BarBots at that event ...)
BarBots 2013.75 —
Simone Davalos sent out a notice stating they we’re
going to do an unprecedented third BarBot event in
October. So, I redesigned the mixer and got rid of the lines
after the solenoid valves, then put in a new splash resistant
mixer made from a much larger funnel and a stainless
steel can. I tested it many, many times!
I also wrote a new purge and cleaning program to aid
in refilling the bottles. For some reason, my gas leaks had
mostly disappeared. So, off I went to the Odd Fellows Hall
in San Francisco, CA.
To my great surprise and delight, Bran Dee's Bar
worked great and served drinks all Friday night with no
problem. Even Beer2D2 was proud of her.
I returned to the hall on Saturday and was showing my
teammate Paul Walker the software when suddenly the
main computer froze solid. I powered Bran Dee down to
reset and power-up again. The computer said there was
no system disk available. Oh no! What happened to her
After about five more retries and a lot of panicking, I
had an idea. Maybe the 3. 3 VDC BIOS battery had died in
her main computer. I replaced it, re-set the BIOS, and
suddenly Bran Dee came back to life. (Phew! I thought I
had lost her!)
On Saturday night, Paul ran the bar while I had a lot of
fun talking to folks and collecting their drink tickets. I
added a couple of new unique drinks to Bran Dee’s
selections: a bright blue colored Romulan ale and another
one called an Orion Slave Girl.
Of course, I explained to Paul (a non-Trekkie) that
Romulan ale is Illegal in the future because it was so strong
(135 proof) in my recipe. So, I didn't recommend serving it
straight to actual humans. They could better handle an
Orion Slave Girl which was made with Romulan ale and
orange juice which turned green when mixed.
Paul “sold” a lot of those that night. It became our
most popular drink of the 16 choices on Bran Dee’s menu.
(I guess that makes sense since in the future, the United
Federation of Planets will be based in San Francisco.)
I've been thinking about upgrades for Bran Dee's Bar.
They will probably include a proper drain to allow for some
slight dripping that still occurs after a pour. Also, I would
like to streamline the creation of the recipes possibly by
loading them from the computer’s hard drive instead of
hard-coding them when I change the available ingredients
at an event.
It would be nice to add music and some speech so
Bran Dee could say things to the customers while she is
making their drinks.
I've learned a lot about the Processing programing
language both on the PC and the Arduino, and I've only
scratched the surface of what can be done. There are some
excellent books available such as The Arduino Cookbook
and Making Things See and Making Things Talk that will
help me on my way. SV
52 SERVO 02.2014