…I worked on the Tide Tank project at Rocking the Boat, an awesome nonprofit organization in the South Bronx that teaches kids how to build wooden boats from scratch.
Here’s a quick overview movie about the project; many more project details as well as source code and schematics below the fold if you’re interested.
Combining elements of electrical work, microprocessor trickiness, mechanical design, and a touch of plumbing, this was a multifaceted project and I really enjoyed working with the great students at Rocking the Boat to bring it to completion.
As usual, there were a series of challenges/difficulties that came about, including:
- Trickily leaky plumbing
- Surprise electrical difficulties (do you know how much voltage drop there is over a 50 foot length of telephone wire?)
- 1.5″ diameter PVC ball valves which were remarkably difficult to operate by hand
- A mysteriously burned out servomotor, dying just a few weeks into service
- An ethernet connection problem that took a full day to solve
- And many others!
But through the grace of lots of troubleshooting hours (including a moment when I printed out the entirety of the Arduino code and laid it on a table so I could try to understand what was going wrong) the water level in the tank is actually consistently modulating as it’s supposed to….