Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leaving Summit

The team is now in Kangerlussuaq after leaving this morning which was a good time to leave as 16 new people arrived.  It was nice having the place to mostly to ourselves as the only science group there.  Thanks to the crew for making our stay such a success and to my teammate as well, it was great trip! And thanks again to everyone that read my blog about Cool Robot's trip to Greenland! :)
The Cool Robot and all our luggage getting loaded last onto the plane at Summit.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last Day at Summit

Well with the robot all packed up there was not a whole lot to do today.  We all just mostly just relaxed and took it easy.  Some looking at data, some working on reports, and some just doing nothing.  It was a nice day!  A plane was suppose to land today and dropping off a couple people and supplies but it was to windy to land and after seeing it circle three time it went back to Kangerlussuaq.  Tomorrow were are suppose to leave for Kangerlussuaq and hopefully there will be no problems with that plane landing and taking off.  As our last day at Summit here is a nice picture of the Cool Robot in front of the Summit sign.
Cool Robot at Summit Station in Greenland 2013.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Packing Up

We ran the robot almost all day doing the air sampler survey starting this morning after the robot sat outside all night.  Then it was time to pack the Cool Robot up!
Ben trying to figure out how to fit everything to the box.
Everything packed and ready to be put on a pallet.
Cool Robot chassis going into its box.
Cool Robot all crated up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 21

What did the Cool Robot do today?  This morning and afternoon Jim and Alden ran a few grid surveys with the GPR.  Ben went for a ski collecting data point for a new fan survey for the air sampler. After Jim and Alden were done with their grids and before dinner, I manually drive the robot with GPR over where they thought the old freezer of the station was buried in the snow to see if we could find it.  It looks like there was defiantly something down there but that is all I could determine with my very limit knowledge of the GPR scans.

This evening we sent the robot on an night mission with the air sampler but the robot had some problems with the turns, getting itself really stuck.  We ran it through another couple of waypoints to see it would do on those turns; the second one went fine and third was a bit wonky but it made it through.  The robot also ran in slow mode (half speed) the whole time due to lack of power from the sun which it seemed to suit just fine except for the turns.  We decided to just leave the robot out there stopped and we will run it in the morning.  With more sun it will drive at its normal speed which should help the turning and hopefully it will not get stuck again.
Cool Robot taking off toward it next waypoint.
Ummm...what is this thing? Where did it come from in the middle nowhere?
Jim and Ben helping the CR out after getting itself stuck on a turn.


Here are some pictures of the skiway that I keep referring too.  It is a little over 3 miles long.  It get groomed often to keep the snow hard, especially in summer time.  Sometime after a grooming on a Sunday you might see some of the crew taking off for a run on it. 
View of the Skiway
Big tracker grooming the skiway.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 20

Jim and I learned a lot from last night's mission even though it go stuck twice in the snow, stuck in stop mode, and lost all of its waypoints.  Yeah it sounds like a horrible run and it was in terms of not doing exactly what we thought but because of what we learned I would say it was one of our better ones.  Here is why:  When the CR got stuck I could first figure it out that it was stuck by looking at printouts the robot was giving me on the computer which I confirmed by seeing that the robot was not moving.  So setting the robot back to manual mode I first backed it up for about half a second and then ran it forward and turning for about 1 second before set it back to autonomous mode, which is all that it needed to be on its way again.  Jim also figured out that it was probably getting stuck because the robot was trying to make such a hard turn while going slow that the inside wheels would be probably stopped while the outside one where spinning, digging itself in.  Another thing discovered with the turns is if the robot decide to stop (the turn taking more power) that the robot could not restart itself because there was some kind of flag in the code that could not be reset for that condition therefore the robot would just sit.  The lost of the robot's waypoints we was a bit perplexing but we are guessing it was due to a lost of power to the rabbit board (the microcontroller) because the battery voltage dropped to low.  Not sure if that is what was as it is the first time we have seen it happen and hopefully it will happen again.

Today we brought the robot in for a few code changes: removed the possibility for the robot to get stuck in the program's dead spot, updated the panel voltage and current calibration curves (they where not much different) and increased the duty cycle for better power tracking of the solar panels due temperature changes.  Also we have noticed that panel 1 is hardly producing any power for some time now so we checked its boost converter and discovered that it took a hard hit at some point and melted.  Ben spent this evening finishing building up a replacement and installing it.  After which Jim and I ran a short test tonight to see how it worked and how the max power point tracking was working with the changed duty cycle.  Both looked great or better than they have looked in the past few days!  Tomorrow we will do a longer run with more sun.
Melted chip insert on the booster converter board.
Ben working the booster converter replacement.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 19

Part of the fanned survey we did yesterday, for the air sampler, ran through the night.  After collecting the data we discovered that the robot was stopped between midnight and 2am but did start back up on its own!  Just not at a point we would expected it too, but still happy it could restart after charging the batteries for awhile.  After the Cool Robot finish that survey this morning Jim and Alden did some more grid surveys with both GPR units.  The CR pulling the smaller of the two and Alden pulling the big one behind a snowmobile following the same path as the CR.  I went out for a little while to help out and take pictures.
Cool Robot and Alden pulling GPR units and a tracker grooming the skiway in the back ground.
Closeup of Cool Robot towing the small GPR unit.
As for the coding we decide it would be best to only fix a couple of things at a time after yesterday's episode.  So only fixing the logic error I found two night ago in the drive code we have load that up and the robot was running fine.  Now we are again sending it on night mission doing the same fan survey we did last night but this time the robot should able to slow down instead of just stopping when the power is low.