Design and build a wired &/or wireless network connecting at least two processors
Choosing Wi-fi & making the board
I chose to focus on wi-fi for the networking and communications week. This was probably a mistake since I ended up, once again, going down a rabbit hole instead of just getting something done. The first thing I did was to create the board based on Neil’s Hello World schematic. Unfortunately, I was victim of a common issue — the ESP8266 didn’t have AT loaded on it. It had the NodeMCU firmware. I was unable to do anything with it so I ended up ordering a NodeMCU development board online. This is the screenshot of my first try. I was unable to give any commands. I tried different baud rates but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I switched to the NodeMCU version next.
Trying to make it work in many ways
Once I finally had a working board, I attempted to find some tutorials online to follow. It turns out that these tutorials really are only useful if the version of the ESP8266 matches. I discovered CoolTerm - a simple Mac OS serial communications interface - and attempted to get the board going. These boards come pre-loaded with user.lua scripts that need to be removed. Once removed, it should work.
As you can see, the loop to remove the user.lua can be pretty obnoxious.
I decided to switch to the Arduino IDE. There is a great library available to speak to the 8266 with the Arduino IDE. It handles flashing the board through USB. I followed this tutorial. Well, it should have worked. But it didn’t. And debugging these things is just not worth the time. I imagine the problem is something simple but I am loosing patience at this point.
I decided to switch again to MicroPython. I followed this tutorial. This time I needed to flash the board more manually using ESPtool.
This is as far as I got for networking & communications. Unfortunately this marks two weeks in a row where I didn’t manage to accomplish what I needed to.
Making final project boards
I took some time to make a bunch of components for the final project.
This was my first week looking at building a break beam sensor with a laser emitter and a photo-resistor. I have some work to go with it but this is on its way.
I took another stab at the force sensing board. I managed to get predictable resistance but still am a long ways off from this being practical.