Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation
Table of Contents
Team Vision for Final Demo and Handoff
The goal of our final demo phase was to close out remaining subsystem testing and then integrate each subsystem together for a final test of the prototype. Further leak testing and seam sealing was conducted to ensure the pontoons could stay inflated for a long enough period of time to conduct testing. Additionally, further testing and calibration of the IMU to retrieve an accurate magnetic heading was to be done. Once complete, full integration testing could be completed. Unfortunately, due to issues with calibrating the IMU and an accidental overvoltage of the microcontroller and Xbee, testing of the electronics in the water was not done.
Subsystem Build and Test
Going into this phase, the pontoons still has issues with holding air. To close out this issue, more iterations of sealing and leak testing were conducted. At higher filling pressures, the straight seams were still leaking very slowly, which is assumed be caused by the textured surface of the fabric used at that seam. A final effort to seal these was through the use of ‘Flex-seal’ which was applied to these seams. The final prototype of the pontoons can hold sufficient pressure for a few hours, long enough to conduct testing of the prototype. An image of a fully inflated pontoon can be seen below.
With the pontoons complete, testing of the mechanical subsystems were conducted. First, the pontoons were tested individually, and then with the frame attached. This testing was conducted in the pool. Below are pictures of testing. The test results can be found in the test plan here.
Full System Build and Test
With the mounting of all of the electronics and components to the frame mocked up in the previous phase, the last parts of full system build integration were to wire up the electronics and test the wiring. Unfortunately, while the full system wiring was in progress, an error was made and the Arduino Due was given 12 volts, along with the Xbee connected to it. Those two components were broken beyond use in our project, leading to no full system testing of the electronics.
A pool test was conducted with all of the components mounted to the frame. Below are pictures from the test.
Test Results Summary
Overall, we were able to achieve at least partial completion for every ER we set for this project. The 8 hour time requirement was partially met because the battery we have should have the capability to run our equipment for 8 hours based on calculations, but the run time was never verified with testing. The 25 foot position tolerance was also verified with the accuracy of the GPS used, but a full scale test was never done with the GPS so full verification has not been achieved. ER 6-9 were not fully verified because full scale testing was never done specifically in open water. The max weight, size, and communication distance were all verified to an extent that we feel their respective ERs were met, along with the controllable via GPS and equipped with lights. A table of the test summary can be seen below.
Risk and Problem Tracking
The risk management and problem tracking documents can be seen here.
Final Project Documentation
The poster created to advertise the project can be found here.
The technical paper can be seen here.
The final Bill of Materials can be seen here.
The file for the final CAD model can be downloaded here.
The final system schematic can be seen here.
All of the software written is compiled as a zip file. Contents include:
- navigation_algorithm - main driver for the buoy, contains navigation instructions
- heading_calculation_test - test file for calculating heading from GPS coordinates
- distance_calculation_test - test file for calculating distance between two coordinate sets
- due_parsing - GPS parsing code
- BatteryVoltage - battery voltage level code
- alter_pwm - test file for managing pwms for the trolling motor and winch
- IMU - IMU configuration and calibration code
- Linear_Actuator - test file for controlling the linear actuator and its motor driver
- Pololu Driver - files for sensing current feedback from the winch
The zip file can be downloaded here.
Recommendations for Future Work
- The aluminum frame should be welded instead of using brackets.This will reduce overall weight for better functionality and easier transport.
- “Bumpers” can be added for collision protection with sailing boats. The pontoons could also be made longer and extend further away from the frame rails to serve this purpose.
- Use more durable and vibrant fabric for the visible cover
- A better pontoon design, perhaps with internal inflatable bladders, should be made to avoid air leaks and simplify fabrication. Other seam sealing methods should also be looked into
- More precise current sense on the winch driver board would allow it to detect the anchor hitting the bottom for automatic stop. This would improve position tolerance.
- Look at alternate solutions for heading calculation, the IMU was somewhat inconsistent in regards to heading data
Plans for Wrap-up
Our customers have said that they would like to have this project continue as an RIT MSD project with future groups of students in order to complete a fully working prototype. The prototyped hardware along with any materials specific to the build will go into storage at RIT. Other more general materials will go into surplus to be used by other MSD teams. The project will be pulled out of storage and ran again starting next Fall so long as a new local customer can be identified. Chad will be reaching out to the local sailing community to help do this.