Tuesday, September 27, 2022

One mile wifi range...

Mounted the wifi booster much higher and got a lot better range. I used a 32' long aluminum awning roller tube from an RV as the mast for the antenna. Those things are a dime a dozen because folks often don't bother repairing them after they've left their awning unfurled until the wind has come along and torn the whole thing up. The combination of an external antenna on the wyze cam v3 and my wifi booster mounted really high made a huge difference in the wifi range of the camera. 81,86,59,0,B

Monday, September 26, 2022

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Salvation of the righteous...

Psalms 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.  

Saturday, September 24, 2022

yet another Starlink launch...

They just keep going...and going.  Today marks 143 successful 
recoveries of an orbital class rocket by SpaceX 
and the 43rd launch of 2022 with 1353 satellites put in orbit this year.  

Friday, September 23, 2022

Thursday, September 22, 2022

external antenna test

Wired in a new external antenna for the Wyze Cam V3 and tripled the Wi-Fi range - from 250 meters to 685 meters. Finally lost signal when my greenhouse was blocking my wi-fi extender at the hut. I will do another test line of sight to see how much further I can get out of it. 87,90,65,0,B

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


New shifter mechanism went in like a charm and solved the problem.  This YouTube video was a big help.  Total repair time was 1 1/2 hours.  (One hour to get the broken part out and a half hour to put the new one in.)  90,95,66,0,B

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Added an external antenna to the Wyze Cam V3 that I use on the rover.  This should give it a little better Wi-Fi range.  Thanks to yet another YouTube turtorial... 90,96,66,0,B

Monday, September 19, 2022

The last adult...

This female (with 2 day old babies) is the last of the 7 javelinas that had been coming in over the years.  She just came in with them last night.  The last adult male has been gone now for about 3 weeks.  Javier disappeared about 6 months ago.  I don't hold out much hope for these new arrivals since this female had 2 previous litters and each time they only lived about a week.   91,95,68,0,B

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Know the Lord...

Jeremiah 31:34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.  

Saturday, September 17, 2022

new camera antenna coming...

Just figured out a convoluted way to add the Wi-Fi camera view to the HUD (heads up display) in mission planner. Getting ready to upgrade the Wyze Cam V3 with an external antenna and a new long range radio system for telemetry and RC control - so I figured I would do a quick test to see what the current range is with the stock systems I have been using. I don't expect to get a whole lot more range out of the Wi-Fi camera, but an external antenna should certainly help. I will fully attend to that issue later when I can afford the parts for a good long range FPV system. (Note: Not sure why there was such a compass variance once the rover started heading east - just another mystery to solve.) 90,98,65,0,B

Friday, September 16, 2022

...and another...

Along with my bad shifter...also been noticing my truck sounding a bit more clunky on the bumpy road.  Figured as long as I was ordering parts, I should take a good look at my suspension.  Had my front end worked on just a couple of years ago and already the sway bar link bushings are gone.  89,97,62,0,B

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Another truck issue...

Having a shifter issue with my Toyota Tundra. It began a couple of months ago, when I started noticing that when I would shift out of park - the lever would hit the windshield wiper lever and turn in on. Then two days ago, it wasn't going into park very easily. Found some YouTube videos that said that these issues are definitely a sign that the shifting mechanism is broken. Removed the shrouds around the steering column and sure enough the part was broken in the two spots where it usually happens - especially with Toyota trucks. Found another video that went over how simple it is to replace the mechanism (about 1 hour) so I am going to give it a shot. Found the replacement part on Amazon and also ordered some T20 and T30 torx bits for the bolts that have to be removed. I can still drive the truck, but I am going to keep that to a minimum until I attempt the repair when the parts arrive next week. 91,95,62,0,B

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

there and back...

Attempted this mission over a month ago and failed. Tried it again with dual GPS units in blended mode and some offsets on the X and Y axis to give the rover more accurate "situational awareness". Made it there and back even though I had to wing it setting up the waypoints at the turnaround. Mission planner is using a Google Map image from 2017 so I wasn't sure if the rover would be able to get around that spot. Distance traveled was 2,700 meters. Mission in real time was 46 minutes. 84,93,68,0,B

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

10.3 kilometers...

Ran another battery duration mission but it looked pretty much like the 8K mission so I'm just showing a couple of passes. Since I had some power left when I ended the 8K mission, this time I ran the rover continuously until the low battery warning shut it down. Made it 10,321.27 meters (just over 10 kilometers!) on a new 2s lipo. Mission time was 3 hours and 24 minutes. Uploaded this video in HD 4K. 84,96,65,0,B

Monday, September 12, 2022

8 kilometers...

Running a test with a new 5200 mAh 2S Lipo. The battery I have been using for all the previous tests was a 2000 mAh NiMH. Set up an easy mission for the rover so I could let it run without worrying about traffic or a crash. 24 loops around the airfield with pauses at each corner - the distance of each loop was approximately 300 meters. Total distance was 8087.05 meters. Run time was 3 hours and 21 minutes. Still had a good bit of battery capacity left at the end of this test. 89,95,64,0,B

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Saturday, September 10, 2022

new lipo battery test...

...and wired in a kill switch.

Friday, September 9, 2022

coming next week...

New transmitter to work with the long-range telemetry radio.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Back in business...

Truck is good to go again.  
Will Alexa remind me to replace my battery again... in 4 years?

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


Road is good to go - but... 
I am a bit overdue for a supply run and decided to also do a couple loads of laundry since the coast was clear now.  Got all packed up and - my truck battery was D.E.A.D.  Tried putting a charge on it and still nothing.  Since I never remember when I last replaced a vehicle battery, I've made a habit of writing the install date on it with a Sharpie.  Seems this dead one was put into service on 8/19/17.  Oops.  Five years was really pushing it.  Placed an order for a new battery at AutoZone in Alpine and a friend just happens to be there today and will bring it to me either tonight or tomorrow.  Also getting some new top post battery terminals as the old ones are in pretty bad shape.  87,94,65,0,B

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Going long...

Just ordered today.  Long range transmitter for both telemetry and RC signal.  I also ordered a different RC transmitter to work with this system.  It's actually quite brilliant in that the unit that mounts on the RC transmitter connects with the ground station software on my laptop via Wi-Fi.  This will allow me to view mission progress in real time and control mission parameters via the ground station and manual control if needed via the RC transmitter - all from up to 40 kilometers away.  That extreme distance is advertised for airborne vehicles with direct line of sight so I expect the performance for my land-based rover will be considerably less.  That test will be an upcoming video.   83,89,65,0,C

Monday, September 5, 2022

The Hard Way

A little over 2" of rain this past week has taken its toll on a couple spots on Mailbox Road. Someone who just bought property out here learned about road conditions after a good rainstorm...the hard way. Got her unstuck yesterday. As of today, I can't get through - but upon closer inspection, it looks like I can reasonably fix the bad spots enough to get my truck through them. I am going to work on them by hand tomorrow. Hopefully the road crew will be out to thoroughly fix all the problem spots before I spent too much time slaving away with just a shovel... 85,88,61,0,B

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Reminds me of someone...

Proverbs 6:12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. 13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Danny Huynh

I have been thinking about how I might detail the rover - leaning toward post-apocalyptic/steampunk vs space-age/modern.  Saw this on a friend's Facebook feed this morning and I find this guy's work very interesting.  Problem with finding something like this that I really like is to not just copy it - but to be inspired by it and figure out how to incorporate some of the aesthetic in an innovative way.  
77,82,70, .03",B

Friday, September 2, 2022

Waiting game...

It never fails - don't really need to get out but can't get out so I want to get out.  When I will be able to get out again depends on how much more rain falls in the coming days.  I prefer to wait until someone else successfully tries the road, so I repositioned my driveway camera to keep an eye out for the first vehicle to pass by.  Looks OK here but I know from experience that it is probably pretty bad further on.  The Wyze Cam motion detection feature will catch and record the first brave soul to make an attempt.  "Not a drop fell today" but another good chance of a downpour tomorrow afternoon.  (UPDATE:  got more rain from 8PM to midnight!)  If there is no evidence of any other vehicle traffic by Sunday, I will send the drone out to take a peek.  78,90,79, .59",B

Thursday, September 1, 2022

State of the Water Supply

Total rain so far this year is 4.41" - and I have 17,400 gallons on tap as of today.  It has been a while since I was this close to topping off all 20,000 gallons of my storage tanks.  The last time I was full to capacity was 2016 when I got 12.26" of rain over those 12 months.  76,82,70, .23",B

Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Long/slow rain over four hours this afternoon.  
Three tanks overflowing:
house tank, barn tank, and one greenhouse tank.
71,77,67, .92",B

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Dual GPS

Figured as long as I have two GPS units I might as well use both of them on the Pixhawk controller.  Positioning was a little better with the controller "blending" signals from both units - but still not super precise.  I will settle for now on what I have until I am ready to invest around $500 for a GPS-RTK system.  RTK (Real Time Kinematic Positioning) involves 2 GPS units - one on the rover and one connected to the base station that work together to provide centimeter level positioning!  83,86,67,0,B

Monday, August 29, 2022

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Saturday, August 27, 2022

now what...?

The Redcat Racing Everest 10 and Pixhawk came through for me. After 2 months of R&D, the rover finally made it to the mailboxes! Had one stop on this trip with a brief switch to manual mode due to an oncoming vehicle but made it without any crashes. The only change that I made to the rover was re-positioning the GPS lower so it wouldn't wag around so much like it was when it was mounted up on its post. Still hugged to the right a bit late into the trip - but I compensated just enough for that eventuality in the mission planning to avoid a run in or roll over. The 2000 mAh NiMH battery started at 8.4 volts and was running a bit below 7.2 volts near the end which didn't adversely affect the speed. Mission in real time was 1:12:44. Total distance was 4,304 meters. 92,96,68,0,B

Friday, August 26, 2022

made it a little further...

Programmed a new mailbox mission while the rover was powered up and connected to the ground station. Mission was going so well until about the 2800-meter mark. From then on, the rover started tracking right of the waypoint path along with the indicated heading position of the vehicle. I think the compass variance was caused by excessive vibration. It's a pretty bumpy ride and even with shocks on the rover and vibration dampening on the microcontroller there is not much I can do about that (due to the small scale) other than try again another day and see if the variance happens at roughly the same distance. 85,91,70,0,B

Thursday, August 25, 2022

First try for the prize...

Tried a pre-planned mailbox mission and knew from the start it was in trouble by "roving" to the right of the waypoint path. Figured I would go ahead and see how far I could get. Made it 2.4 kilometers before having a couple a run-ins with the right bank and ultimately rolling over. Continued on running partly in auto mode and partly in manual mode to see how far I could get before I ran out of power. Almost made it the highway before the rover pooped out at 4 kilometers. Total mission time was 80 minutes. The NiMH battery that came with the rover is 2000 mAh. I have a couple of 5200 mAh 2S lipos coming Friday. - so if I run the rover with both of the new batteries in parallel, I should have about 5 times the run time. 85,89,70,0,B

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Just running the battery down...

Warm up for the next mission (# 20 - a 4.3 kilometer run to the mailboxes). Let the rover roam around for a while today to run the battery down so I can charge it back up to full power for the power mission. 82,88,71,0,B

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

downhill from here...

Had a little solar maintenance to do at a friend's place up the hill from TFL. Good opportunity for another 2000+ meter rover mission on twisty roads. Had one false start then made the whole trip (184 waypoints) with only a couple of close calls along the edge of the road. The trip in real time was 32:45. 81,86,70,0,B

Monday, August 22, 2022

away from home...

A local neighbor bought some feed for me while he was in Ft. Stockton last week and just got back to the Big Bend. I went to go pick it up from him a couple of days ago. Decided it would be a good chance to try out quickly setting up and running a mission without internet access for my ground station. Mission planner found the rover on the map via its GPS as soon as I connected to it through the telemetry radio. Note: If you plan on starting from a very distant location, you have to "pre-fetch" the area in advance while connected to the internet and save it to a file in order to have good map detail at the new mission location. Mission planner only has the capacity for good zoomed in resolution for selected areas - not all of Google Earth map info. 73,88,73, .07",B

Sunday, August 21, 2022

the ungodly are not so...

Psalms1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.  

Saturday, August 20, 2022

changing direction...

You would be surprised how tricky it is to perform something as easy as a 3-point turn...autonomously. Setting one up for the rover in mission planner involves some very convoluted waypoint plotting. I think I have finally figured it out well enough to do it consistently - if the need for one ever comes up. 89,93,70,0,B

Friday, August 19, 2022

Pizza Delivery!

Thanks, remmij...
85,95,72, .11",B

Thursday, August 18, 2022

longer range

Successful there and back mission heading east. This mission was primarily to see how the rover would handle waypoints through the curvy parts of my road. Working my way up to a 2.5-mile one way run all the way to the mailboxes at the highway. 84,88,74,0,B

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Put the rover through its paces to see how accurately it can run the same mission over and over. Also made a point to see how much distance I can get out of a fully charged battery. 85,92,67, .02",B

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

No traffic this trip...

Trying longer distance missions now. Ran this "long mission" for a second time the morning after the traffic incident with border patrol. The rover made it the full distance with no major issues. I walked along with it again to make sure it didn't come across any other vehicles. Started through my back driveway, then did a segment along an old ATV trail before going back onto ranch roads. Did a loop through my old airfield to add a little more distance and finished coming up my front driveway. I also changed the mounting of the GPS and repositioned the Osmo Action camera to the rear of the vehicle. No onboard FPV since the rover was out of range for a good portion of the trip. Eventually I will have to upgrade the telemetry and FPV systems so I can always be in contact with the rover no matter how far away it is. 80,88,70, .12",0

Monday, August 15, 2022

14 years

Today marks 14 years of blog posts.  Glad I made the switch all those years ago from keeping a written diary to blogging.  My time here in the desert would all be a blur if I hadn't posted daily (with just a few days missed).  Instead of searching through handwritten notebooks, I can quickly see what I was up to on any given day by searching my blog.   A quick scan and here are some of the benchmarks for each year: 2008-Building TFL/Shipping Containers. 2009-Greenhouse/Pepino Swamp Cooler.  2010-Benita/Solar Ovens. 2011-Guns/Mr. Floppy. 2012- Christ/Ben. 2013-Sterling Silver Casting/Carl. 2014-Paramotor/Chupa. 2015-Broken Leg/Silver Ingots. 2016-Solar Oven/Javier. 2017-Goats/Drone. 2018-Solar Oven Baking/Silver AA Chips. 2019-Casita/Tomato Plants. 2020-Pandemic/Pocket Watches. 2021-Bronze Casting/Sober & Tobacco Free. 2022-Wyze Cams/Rover.  

I've done a lot of different things in this life because I have a bit of attention deficit disorder and in constant need of new things to keep me amused.  My parents used to refer to it as "losing interest as soon as the novelty wears off".  I can't imagine going through life with one job or career.  When I was in college, I used to freak out occasionally (usually during my morning shower) and think to myself..."what if I invest 4 years of education into a future I'm no longer interested in?"  Needless to say, I was not a very good student.  Five years of college and no degree, changing majors 4 times and flunking out twice. Oddly enough, I did make dean's list one semester.   But somehow I've been able to earn a living while staying amused in spite of myself. 

First person to comment with the correct number of blog posts that I have done since moving here wins some bronze...or something else if I lose interest in casting bronze which could happen at any moment...  79,91,72,?,B

Sunday, August 14, 2022

in the midst...

Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Border Patrol

Running a new/longer mission and at the last minute, I decided to walk along with the rover as it would be out of contact with the ground station for a good portion of the trip. Almost to the home stretch without incident and I came up on a border patrol vehicle on a blind hill. They were very cooperative and were quite interested in what was going on. I jokingly told them I was working on a robot that could track illegals in the desert. Time to install the lidar for obstacle avoidance. 94,98,73,0,B

Friday, August 12, 2022

backing up...

Three tests in one today (actually 4 because I increased the rover speed to max for the crawler - .7mps to 1.0 mps). Tried out 3 features in the waypoints menu today - pause, reverse, and return to launch. Reverse was pretty tricky to figure out as setting it up was not intuitive at all. Made a mistake in the planning of one test and the rover continued the rest of a mission in reverse (it goes backward just as accurately as it does going forward). Return to launch from the last waypoint got it back to within 18 inches of the starting point. BTW - at "full speed", the rover still makes it around the block no problem. 90,95,75,0,B

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Moonlight sonata

Once the sun goes down, I'm pretty much in for the night. But I really wanted to try a mission around the block after dark and I figured since the rover was going to do all the work, I should go ahead and just put it outside, set up the waypoints, and switch to "auto mode". I watched the mission from the comfort of my bed until the rover returned 20 minutes later. The Wyze Cam V3 does quite well with light from a nearly full moon. The rover just made it past a couple of plants that reached out to grab it. Probably time for some cable management before wires start getting yanked out of their sockets. 91,98,72,0,B

One of my father's favorite limericks:

There once was a young man from Sparta
Who was quite an elegant farta
He could fart anything
From God Save the King
To Beethoven's Moonlight Sonarta

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Spot on...

I had noticed that the stock GPS that came with the Pixhawk kit I ordered from Ebay seemed to be off quite a bit. This made setting waypoint missions rather tricky as I had to try to compensate for the position inaccuracy depending on which direction the rover was set up to travel. Tried out a RadioLink GPS SE100 and out of the box it worked like a charm. Nice to see the rover know where it actually is. The old gps was accurate to within 2 meters and only picked up 11 satellites. The new gps is supposedly accurate to within .2 meters and picks up 20 satellites. As far as I could tell - it was pretty much spot on. 92,98,71,0,B

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Monday, August 8, 2022

Improved turning authority..

Checking my new turning authority parameters. The rover's tracking during turns is pretty accurate now. (FF gain increased from the default setting of 0.2 to the max of 3.0) Once I get everything dialed in, I will be doing a detailed video of all my settings. Just got a new GPS and a lidar sensor for obstacle avoidance for more testing. 94,97,75,0,B

Sunday, August 7, 2022


1 Peter 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

no crash this time...

Finally tweaked the rover's controller parameters enough to make it all the way around the block (after about 10 tries). In the basic tuning section of mission planner, I adjusted the FF gain in the steering rate from .2 to .8 to give the rover more turning authority. Still having "drifting issues" that I need to figure out. The trip in real time was 22 minutes and 10 seconds. Total distance was 740.2 meters. 93,98,72,0,B

Friday, August 5, 2022

down and back...

Decided to try a round trip to the road and back. Tweaked the steering parameters and the rover seems to be tracking a little better but still meanders a bit. I'm also noticing that when it does an out and back mission, on the way back it tends to hug to the left of the waypoint path. Not sure what that is all about. There are newer GPS units available now, so I ordered one to try out. If the new one doesn't do much different, I can try both of them. The Pixhawk can use two up to 2 GPS units simultaneously and "blend" the readings for more precise positioning. The rover cut it a little close on the way home but managed to plow over and through a couple of obstacles. 97,101,74,0,B

Thursday, August 4, 2022


This test mission to show failsafes working and telemetry data readout in mission planner. Parameters set up to continue in auto mode when RC and/or GSC (ground station control) signal is lost. I was having latency issues with the Wi-Fi FPV camera (Wyze Cam V3) but solved them by changing the live view from HD to 360P. I use Google Drive to get the portions of video that I need off of the Wyze cameras and into my laptop for editing. Made good progress today dialing in the steering trim. Ran numerous short missions out to and around the end of my driveway and successfully got it back home without once having to walk out to it for a rescue and reset. As you can see from the "Dist Traveled" (lower left), the rover had already gone just over 1900 meters before running this mission. 98,103,76,0,B

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

around the block...

Made it around the block...almost. So close! Still having steering trim issues. Was pretty happy to see it make all the turns it was programed to do - especially through my back driveway entrance. Unfortunately, it was hugging the left side of the route a little too close and a stupid desert plant jumped out in front of the rover near the end of the trip. Total distance travelled was 744 meters at an average rate of .65 meters per second. Total mission time was 19 minutes. Wi-Fi and telemetry signals held firm but lost RC connection for a while around the far turn. All failsafes worked as programmed. 100,108,74,0,B

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

trip to mailbox rd...

Trying another driveway mission. Aside from making it to the road and circling around my entrance posts - another part of this mission was to test some failsafe parameters. Finally figured out how to get the rover to continue the mission in case of loss of RC and/or telemetry signal. This will come in handy for long range missions. I still need to adjust the steering trim as the rover doesn't track straight enough to suit me. 98,103,78,0,B

Monday, August 1, 2022

Circle test...

Testing some features in mission planner: auto wp circle and the "DO_JUMP" function to repeat the waypoint mission. The rover was programmed to run the route 5 times and seemed to stay on course fairly well. Ran into a little snag though on the way home (I'm going to need to add some obstacle avoidance eventually...). Wyze Cam V3 onboard running off a 5V power bank. 94,100,73,0,B

Sunday, July 31, 2022

let us mind the same thing...

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

the narrow path...

Tested out the rover on a mission to the end of my driveway. I was curious to see if the GPS and compass positioning was accurate enough for the rover to successfully navigate a 12' wide road. Set 13 "waypoints" in mission planner for a total travel distance of 214 meters. I walked along with it (just in case) but it was on its own and not receiving any inputs from me. The rover did a good job although it got a little close to the edge at one point. I think I need to adjust the steering trim a bit. It followed the mission quite accurately and stopped right where it was supposed to - so overall, I was very pleased with the performance. This is where I got the controller hardware.  95,101,70,0,B

Friday, July 29, 2022

Thursday, July 28, 2022

life in the slow lane...

Finally got the rover to run a waypoint mission successfully. After everything I went through, it turned out all I needed to do was reverse the steering. (At least I think that was what the problem was...) 92,99,74,0,B

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Back to square one...

I've screwed around with all the parameters so much; the rover behavior was getting worse instead of better.  So I decided to start from scratch by re-flashing the firmware on the Pixhawk.  As usual, I found a video describing the best way to do this.  Unplugged everything from the microcontroller, removed the micro SD card, and reformatted it.  The system wouldn't let me simply download and flash the same vehicle firmware.  Instead, I had to download a different vehicle first to erase the existing firmware - then do it again to erase that vehicle and put Ardurover back onto the microcontroller with all the default parameter settings.  And so it goes... 91,101,73,0,B

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Monday, July 25, 2022

baby steps...

Took all day yesterday to get the rover functioning (sort of).  Just getting it to light up correctly was pretty rewarding and I actually got it to move a couple of times the way it was supposed to.  Pretty steep learning curve for me here - very little about this is intuitive at all.  There are over 600 different "parameters" that can be adjusted - depending on the type of vehicle and remote controller being used and all the functions required for operation (it took 2 hours alone just to figure out how to program a 3-way switch on my RC transmitter for manual/auto/return to home).  I think I spent more time searching for answers on the internet than I did physically working on the project.  After almost giving up on them, it was about 8PM when I finally got the telemetry radios to talk to each other.  It took a very long time to figure out that I needed to find and install the correct drivers for them and set up the correct com port and baud rate for data transmission.  They are used to wirelessly communicate (300-meter range) with the rover from the ground station software called "Mission Planner" loaded on my laptop.  Along with the ability to adjust all the parameters, Misson Planner allows me to see the position and speed of the rover in real time on a Google Earth map and program the microcontroller (Pixhawk 2.4.8) on the rover to go to specifics points autonomously via its onboard GPS and two compasses.  Different versions of the same controller and software are also used for DIY boats, planes, and various forms of "copters".  The big plus for me is that my project is just a slow-moving ground vehicle and can't fall out of the sky.  90.98,73, .15",B

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Friday, July 22, 2022

one off coin...

...for a patron

Thursday, July 21, 2022

down the rabbit hole...

Not even autonomously roving yet - but already thinking about long range options.  This package sends telemetry data back to the ground station from up to 40 kilometers away.  95,101,81,0,B

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

everything but the battery...

Everything mounted and plugged in.  A little more "advance troubleshooting" before I add power and try loading a waypoint mission.  101,106,70,0,C

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

so far so good

Successfully flashed the Ardurover firmware onto the Pixhawk and calibrated the compass.  Connected the RC receiver and was able to see control inputs from my transmitter.  Also figured out how to set up one of my transmitter 3 position switch channels to toggle between manual, auto, and return to home.  Next up is to make all the rest of the connections then wade through a ton of menus and settings to fine tune this so it will be able to control the rover.  Nothing about this is intuitive at all - but it has been surprisingly easy so far.  99,105,72,0,B

Monday, July 18, 2022

Sunday, July 17, 2022

foolish and weak...

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

Here God calls those who are not necessarily wise, mighty, or noble according to the ways of the world. Instead, He takes ordinary people and gives them the wisdom and strength to extraordinary things.  This confounds or confuses those who consider themselves to be of high education, intellect, and position because of their pride. This is because pride, along with lust of the flesh and eyes, which is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16). When this happens, believers are despised and persecuted (1 Corinthians 4:10; James 2:1-6; 2 Timothy 3:12) until such time as God sets things right forever.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Last of the scrap copper...

Chopped up what is left (9.8 lbs.) of the 100-pound horde of scrap copper I snagged last year.  Made enough aluminum bronze to cast 32 more skulls.  I have cast 140 of them in the past year.  89,95,72,0,B

Friday, July 15, 2022

Thursday, July 14, 2022

skull bags

Due to arrive Saturday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022


Bit the bullet and ordered the controller, GPS module, telemetry transmitter/receiver, and assorted cables and connectors to add autonomy to the rover project.  82,99,77,0,B

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Rover double feature

Advertised range of the new transmitter/receiver combo is 600 meters.  I managed to make it out to 750 meters.  Had to use binoculars to steer the rover after about 200 meters.  The telemetry overlay is from my Mavic Pro that I flew out to meet the rover after it stopped.  Another FPV test with a Wyze Cam V3 coming up next.  95,101,71,0,B

Monday, July 11, 2022

a decade...


Sunday, July 10, 2022

a great wrath...

Zechariah 7:9 Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: 10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. 11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.