Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight something extraordinary happened.

At precisely 8.15pm BST, I sat on the bike, said a little prayer to whichever Gods may have been listening, and started pedalling.

Quite slowly at first, all the time looking for the tell-tale plumes of blue smoke and all the while sniffing the air for that unmistakeable smell of frying silicon.

Nothing.

So I pedalled a little faster…

…And the first green LED lit.  “…Huston, we have a green light on the board.  Ignition set for ‘Go!’…”

My heart was pounding, my stomach somewhere up near my throat.  Still no smoke or burning smell.

I pedalled a little faster still…

…And the other green LED to tell me that charge was being transferred first flickered, then lit properly. “…We have main lift off.  All engines running at 110%…”

I looked over at my multimeter, wired in series with the battery and set to read current.

It flickered, numbers rapidly changing.

So, I pedalled faster still, and kept that speed, and sure enough, both LED’s were still lit, and the meter had settled down to read a steady 0.5 A.  “Huston, we have achieved escape velocity…”

Okay, not earth-shattering numbers here, but its a start!

I had purposefully set the PWM width (…that’s how much I’m putting into the battery…) to be very, very slim, so this was entirely expected.

SO tomorrow, I’m going to pop down to Maplin’s first thing to get a ‘7805’ 5 volt regulator and a few de-coupling capacitors.  When properly wired up, this will mean that the unit is entirely free-standing.  No mains required.  The 7805 will power the little PIC processor and associated circuitry, and the power for that will come from the battery -it certainly won’t hurt any as it only takes a few milliamps.

This will mean that if all goes according to plan (…HA!..), I can take the bike, the circuit board and some lights down to LEAF on Saturday!  Volunteers will be able to ‘have a go’ at charging the battery, and we’ll be able to have lights to see by.

Synchronicity:

Just the other day, I bought a really ancient but otherwise fully working laptop in really gorgeous condition from ‘Taplin Computers’.  This will be used to show photos that we’ve taken while we’re down on The Plots.  The ‘synchronous’ part is that unlike many newer laptops, this one has a nine-pin serial port on it.   With a little initial ‘setting up’, this will connect straight into my little PIC programming board.  This means I’ll be able to make code changes on the site without having to come all the way back here to my main computer.

10.22pm News:

Just checked Maplin’s online, and they’re completely out of stock of ‘7805’ voltage regulators.

However, a good rummage through my parts inventory, and I’ve got a brand new one!

So, my mistress Lady Sleep will probably be a long time coming tonight.  I’d better get to work now then…

Print Friendly