January 14, 2017
We are back from winter break and have made a lot of progress. We have finalized our design for both the body and the legs and are printing them out. We are currently working on connecting the one server we have to the Arduino and building the code required to actually control the robot.
December 10, 2017
While working with the 3d printer we have been experiencing many frustrating setbacks. First, it takes very long to print the pieces. This means that if there is a flaw in our design we have wasted a lot of time. Second, the prints have been messing up and it is difficult to figure out if it is a design flaw or just by chance. Lastly, we have had some issues with the files being compatible with the printers. We are going to work on all of these problems in the coming weeks and hopefully fix them.
November 26, 2017
This week we started working on the 3d modeling for the legs and body of the robot. This has proven challenging but very exciting as well. With every revision we are discovering and fixing more problems and soon we hope to have a nearly-perfect product.
November 19, 2017
We have picked out the parts we are going to use to create the robot. We will use an arduino uno connected to a bluetooth transmitter/receiver. This other receiver will be attached to the arduino uno on the robot. We are going to use servo shields to attach and control the servos. Our parts list is almost complete and soon we are going to order the parts.
November 12, 2017
This week we have been researching how to create the “spider robot”. We have decided on a 4-leg system and are now prototyping different ways to make the joints work. The most challenging is going to be the knee joint. We intend to use servo motors to make the robot move but they are heavy and we do not want them to actually be on the legs.
November 5, 2017
This week we worked a lot on the robot as well as a poster for the poster presentation on Monday. Ben and I have built the prototype for the leg and our idea for the joint works. Now we are preparing to build the actual legs. Before we do that, we need to decide on the size and dimensions of the robot. These decisions have been delayed slightly because we have been working on our poster. Unfortunately, we are in-between projects so it has been a little difficult to put together a good poster but after a lot of work I am happy with the outcome.
October 22, 2017
Abe, Felix, Ben, and I have decided to change projects. As we were working on the plane, we found that the project would be too ambitious to complete in one year. As much as I do not like giving up, this is our last year as part of WISRD and we want to have a completed project. The new project we are working on is for a sort of “rover”. We are still brainstorming it, but we want to create a remote controlled vehicle that can navigate rough terrain. Instead of wheels, we want to have 6 legs that have a “hip” and a “knee” joint that the robot can use to navigate terrain unsuitable for wheels. Ben and I have been brainstorming ways to construct these legs. The hip is fairly simple and can utilize two motors to tilt the leg left/right and up/down. The difficult part is the knee joint. We don’t want to have a motor on the leg so we have been thinking about different systems to make this work. We initially were looking into a “tendon” system with string but we decided that too much strain would be placed on the strings and chafing might be an issue. Now, we are looking into a system with a rod attached to a motor on the robot to the lower half of the leg. As the motor spins the rod would move forward or backward and push/pull the lower part of the leg. Ben and I have designed a simple prototype for the leg that we will use in the coming week to test out different ideas and motors.
October 8, 2017
Abe, Felix, and Ben have decided to attempt to build a flyable model plane from scratch. We intend to build our own controls and eventually attach a camera to it that is VR compatible. The past few weeks we have been using tinkercad to design the fuselage of the plane. We have settled on a design and are now 3D printing it. Felix and Abe are designing the wings while Ben and I are doing research on what batteries and motors we are going to purchase.
September 24, 2017
After a lot of research and work, we have decided to stop working on the helicopter. Creating a fully functioning helicopter would require too many purchased parts and we would not be able to complete it within a reasonable time frame. We still want to create a remote controlled vehicle, but a helicopter is not an option for us anymore.
September 10, 2017
We have started researching what we need for this project. I am looking into what motors and power source we need. We also plan to control the helicopter using an arduino, so we have been looking for a transmitter and receiver that is compatible with the arduino code.
August 27, 2017
Abe, Felix, Ben, and I are currently brainstorming a project to create a helicopter from scratch. We intend to build it using as few purchased pieces as possible. We have also been thinking about attaching a vr-compatible camera onto it. I think that it would be very cool to navigate it from it’s perspective.
May 14, 2017
This week we salvaged an old printer. We were disassembling it to look for motors and other things that some of the other groups could use. Taking it apart was fun, as well as valuable experience. We got to see how all of the parts of the printer affect each other and what each piece of circuitry does. We also took apart an old scanner. After salvaging most of the electronics from it Felix and I used the dremmel to salvage the piece of plexiglass that is used for the scanning process. For next week if we have nothing left to salvage, we are going to go back to work on the lathe. We still need a custom spacer for the gear assembly so we may try to design and make it using the CNC.
April 16, 2017
This week we started and completed an ambitious project. For this project, one of the other WISRD groups needed a piece of PVC piping attached to a soda bottle. We had a couple of options such as hollowing out the PVC and sticking it on the bottle or hollowing out the PVC and attaching the bottle cap to the inside. Instead of this, we decided to put threads on the inside of the pipe. We re-arranged the gear assembly and tested it to make sure it was the correct thread count. After that, we discovered that our tool would not fit into the regular toolholder. We improvised and decided to attach it safely to the part of the lathe that normally secures the tool-holder. While the threads were not very deep, we were able to successfully thread the inside of the pipe and the soda bottle can now be screwed in directly.
March 12, 2017
This week we were able to complete 14 pound threads on all 4 pieces for the Hydroponics team. The threads look really good and fit pretty well into the other pieces of PVC. This is a really great milestone for us because it shows that we have the potential to produce high-quality complex pieces. For next week, we are going to perform some maintenance on the Lathe. We have encountered a rattling sound when the lathe is run. We have determined that it does not pose a threat to our safety or to the lathe but we would like to fix it regardless. We are going to look into the gear rails as well as the belts from the motor to the lathe. These are the areas we think the sound is coming from.
March 5, 2017
This week, despite having only two class periods, we were able to make 14 thread count threads on a piece of PVC piping. This is a huge breakthrough for us and we have been working on this for a long time. While we have not completed the actual piece yet, we had success on two different test pieces. Next week we are going to make the actual piece.
February 26, 2017
This week we fully assembled the gear assembly and tested it to make sure it was capable to cutting the correct thread count. Now we are preparing to apply threads to a piece of PVC piping. To do this, we cut a piece of stock material and planed it down so we could stick it into the PVC. We drilled a center hole into the end sticking out so it can stabilize the PVC. Unfortunately, the PVC is so flimsy that it needs more support to make precise threads. To fix this, we plan on planing more of the metal piece so more of it can be inside of the PVC piping. We think that this will stop it from shaking as we try to apply threads to it. We hope that we will have this completed by the end of next week.
February 19, 2017
This week we assembled the lathe and encountered some breakthroughs and a few challenges. Firstly, we are working on using the lathe to apply threads to a piece of plastic for one of the other WISRD groups. After deciphering some of the instructions printed on the lathe, we were able to figure out the gear assembly necessary to make threads of the required thread count. We are excited to try this out next week on a piece of stock metal and if it works there, we will move on to the main piece. One of the challenges we faced was with the speed adjustments to the belt from the motor to the lathe. One of the pieces for the belt is attached to a metal bar. It has a set screw to hold it in, but the set screw has no hole. Because of this, it is making a loud rattling sound. When we get the opportunity, we are planning on drilling a hole for the set screw so this problem does not persist.
February 12, 2017
This week we acquired some rustoleum and we repainted the gear piece with it. This took a while because we needed to apply multiple coats on each side. Next week it should be ready to attach back onto the lathe. We are still in the process of looking for a replacement screw for the gear assembly. Once we get the thread count of the broken one we can buy a new one. In a few days the lathe will be fully functional again and we are excited to work on more projects. We have some pieces of stock metal and we may try to make something with them so we gain experience working with the lathe. Additionally we are looking into a new bit mounting system for the lathe. Our lathe has a system where is it takes a while to change out one bit for another. I am looking online for a system that will allow us to change the bits in just a few seconds. This will allow us to be far more efficient when working on complex projects.
February 5, 2017
This week I used the dremel to finish filing down the welds on the gear assembly. After this, we tried to re-mount it but found that our key was not fitting into the keyhole. Rather than force it and get it stuck again, we decided to use the dremel and file kit to file it down to a usable size. After we did this, we mounted the gear rail to the lathe and re-assembled the gear assembly. We had to make some changes to the order of the gears because one of the screws attaching the gears is broken from when the rail broke. Currently, we have a setup that works and we will use this until we can attach the final gear.
January 29, 2017
This week we have been working organizing the WISRD shop area. We have been moving around all of the tables and organizing all of the power cords to the different computers and machines. Because many of the machines we have require training to use, we are working on getting a lock for the power cords for them. This way, they can only be turned on with access to a key. This will make sure that people only use these machines under supervision.
This week we received a bench vice. We drilled holes into the table the lathe is on and bolted it down. This is a lot more stable than our previous setup with a portable vice clamped onto the table. We have also received the bits for our dremel and we used that with our new bench vice to file down the welds on the gear assembly. We are being very careful not to compromise the integrity of the welds. We are just filing it down enough to fit properly on the machine. For next week we are going to work on attaching the gear assembly and bolting down our drill presses.
January 22, 2017
This week we received the fixed gear assembly. It was welded together where it broke and we think that the welds will be strong enough so that we can use the piece without the risk of it breaking. We worked on filing down some of the welds with a bench grinder and our file kit. We did this to make sure that it would fit back onto the lathe. The welds are not very big, but they had some protruding parts that we wanted to get rid of. There are still some irregularities in the welds, but we want to try counting the gear rail first to see if it fits because filing it down is very time-consuming. We took apart more of the area of the gear assembly and cleaned all of it. We were considering taking apart the piece that attaches to the lathe that holds the drill bits. We decided against this however because it currently works perfectly, and we don’t know much about how it is put together. We will probably only take it apart in the future if it begins to break/wear down or if we are confident we can put it back together and re-mount it correctly.
January 15, 2017
In the past two weeks we have encountered some issues and been able to solve some of them. First, as I was adjusting the gear assembly, the gear rail broke. I was not putting much strain on it so we believe that it might have been damaged previously when the lathe fell over. While we can still use the lathe, some of it’s functionality has been removed. To replace this piece, we needed to take the broken rail off. Unfortunately, there was a half-moon key that was locking this rail into place. This key has likely not been removed for 50 years or more. We tried to remove it but it did not budge at all even when we used vice grips on it or pounded on one end of it to pop it out of the other side of the curved hole. Even using a portable vice to try to pop the key out of the other end we were not able to make any progress. We even tried cooling the key down with dry ice to attempt to make it shrink and be removed easier. Finally we used a propane torch to heat up the exterior multiple times. After this we hammered it on one side and got it to pop out of the other side of the key hole a little bit. Finally we were able to use vice grips to pull the key out of the hole. We removed the gear rail and are looking into replacing it. We are also looking into replacing the key because it was damaged a little bit while we were trying to remove it.
December 10, 2016
This week was very exciting because we were able to make a huge amount of progress. While some of the functions of the lathe are unavailable, we were able to complete our first project using the lathe. We took an aluminum cylinder and marked 1 1/2 inches off of the end. This section, we shaved off about half an inch of metal off of it’s diameter. The original piece was very round with about a 20 thousandths of an inch of error. Our finished section only varies by 1-2 thousandths of an inch in roundness. We were also able to use scotch-brite to make it as smooth as the original piece. After all of this we had a long cylinder with about 1 1/2 inches at the end ground down to a smaller cylinder. Next, we drilled a hole into the smaller cylinder and we used a threading tool to apply a thread in this hole. We were able to successfully screw and unscrew a bolt in this hole. This is a very exciting milestone because it shows that we are able to use this machine to actually make something we couldn’t have done with the other tools in the lab.
We still have a lot of things to work on with the lathe. We are having an issue with another piece of the gear assembly. It seems that the gears are not locking into each other enough and they are slightly stripping each other when they run. Additionally, our belts are a bit worn out and sometimes they do not catch correctly and they start smoking from the friction. We will continue to work on all of these problems in the coming week and start to learn more about how to operate the lathe.
December 4, 2016
This week we have made a huge amount of progress on the lathe. We have completely cleaned the gear assembly and have even used the lathe to shave some metal off of a sample piece of material that came with the lathe. This is an amazing milestone for us because we are now able to actually use the lathe to make things for other projects. Unfortunately, we also are dealing with another problem with the lathe. The gear rails broke when we were trying to re-adjust the gear assembly. While this does not make the lathe unusable, it does remove a lot of it’s functionality. We are looking for a new piece but this piece is not very common and this model of lathe is not being made anymore. We are in the process of contacting people to see if we can find a replacement piece.
November 6, 2016
This week we have been in contact with the help desk and are planning to receive a replacement power distribution unit. We have the address to send it to and we will send it off once the new one arrives.
I have also been working with Will and Felix to help clean up the area. We have been organizing tools, and I worked on getting rid of some dead batteries that had been leaking acid. Will Felix and I are going to be focusing on maintaining and training people to use the various machines in the lab including the CNC machine, the bench grinder, and the lathe once we get it working.
October 30, 2016
This week the help desk has still not responded to be, but my problem with the power distribution unit seems to have disappeared. I have no idea why the issue went away. I have not touched or affected the detector in any way since I last saw the problem. I have let it set for periods of time before but the problem did not go away then. I really don’t know what else to do other than hope does not come back. This week I also worked a little bit on the lathe. We received a new part that we needed and we have successfully attached it to the lathe. Right now we are working with cleaning up the gears and making sure that all of the pieces are working properly.
October 23, 2016
This week I succeed in getting rid of the light leak in the detector panels. I took a cardboard box, put the panels in it, and sealed it off from any light, allowing only holes for the cords to get through. This has worked so far but I have encountered another problem. I am having trouble adjusting the power that is given to the panels by the power distribution unit. It is only allowing me to adjust the voltage from 1.8 to 4 volts instead of the usual .3 to 1.8. I initially thought this could be happening because the detector was on too long but I had it off for a couple of days and it still remained. I checked every wire connection on the device and checked the power supply with the volt meter but every thing looks to be in order. I sent an email to the help desk but I they have not contacted me back yet.
October 1o 2016
This week I only had one class period but I was able to make a good amount of progress. I updated out setup for the detector panels by putting them inside of a black garbage bag a couple layers thick then taping up the edges. Hopefully this will reduce the amount of light leak more than our previous setup. I plan to collect data this week and hopefully do a half-life study on it. I have the software set up and everything seems to be in order.
September 17 2016
This week I worked a bit on the cosmic ray detector. We have found out that there are light leaks in all of the detector panels. This means that the earlier problems I had found were all because of this. While it is nice to find out the root of the problem, it is hard to solve it. We have wrapped the detectors in material that doesn’t let light in but the current setup is large and unreliable. I tried to re-tape one of the panels to reduce light leaks but I wasn’t able to make any progress. I don’t know what we are going to do to fix this. It appears to be completely insulated but I know light is getting in.
I have also been looking into starting to collect data again. I am looking through the users manual to make sure that I have all of the commands corrects for configuring the detection settings. I was not able to start collecting data this week but I want to try next week.
This week I was able to experiment with some radioactive substances. Specifically, cobalt-60, strontium-90, and polonium-210. I tried placing these near the detector panels to see if there was any change in counts. The strontium and polonium did nothing but the cobalt made the counts go 3-4 time faster. I am interested in why cobalt worked better than the other two. I am going to look into that this week.
September 10 2016
This week we have mounted the motor on the lathe and connected the belts for it to run. We have ran the motor with the lathe and used it to turn the gears. I am very happy with how quickly we were able to get this working. We still have a bit of work to do on the lathe. Many of the parts are not attached yet and need to be cleaned/repaired. Additionally, we need to make sure that the gears are oiled properly and ready to be used. We also need to find a place to put the lathe. Currently we are using the space upstairs but the machine creates a lot of noise and the table we have it mounted on wobbles too much when the machine is running. We don’t currently have any other space for it but we are looking to move it soon. We should have the rest of the pieces repaired and cleaned in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to being able to really test the machine.
September 4 2016
This week we continued to work on restoring the lathe. Will and I finished replacing the old power cord in the motor and we have it grounded to make it safer. Currently we are in the process of figuring out how to mount the motor to the lathe. We discovered a bunch of parts we didn’t know we had so we are going to be spending a lot of time next week cleaning them off and replacing them if necessary. We are using the oil we ordered and it works really well for cleaning the parts off. Felix has been working on the main piece of the lathe and once we get all of the pieces in place we might be able to use the motor to run it.
August 28 2016
This is my first week back from summer vacation. I have been working with my friend Felix on restoring and repairing a lathe. We need to clean the machine and repair or make the parts we need for it. We have ordered the oil we need to clean the parts off and now we are working on taking apart the motor. I found a diagram on the internet of the motor and we are working on cataloging all of the pieces as we take it apart so we know which ones we might need to replace. This coming week I plan on taking apart more of the motor and beginning to clean off some of the pieces.
This week we have mainly been focused on a minor issue with EQUIP. We have been trying to get EQUIP working for data collection, but we have been having some strange issues with it. EQUIP allows us to graph the count rates of each detector panel. Essentially this means that we can visualize how many particles each panel is detecting. When we did this, however, it showed the third panel as detecting way more particles than any of the other panels. I emailed the help desk and used their advice to look for what might be causing this issue but I haven’t found the source of it.
There is not light leak into the detector panel, and it is not set to receive too much voltage. Next, I tried switching where two of the detector boards connect to the DAQ. In this case, panel 3’s input was switched with panel 4. If this were an error with panel 3, then now I would have seen in the graph panel 4 having a large amount of counts. But instead of this, channel 3 remained too high. From this I assumed that the issue must not be with the detector panel itself but with the DAQ board or EQUIP. I have not made any more progress on this issue but next week I am going to be studying this error more and trying to fix it.
Additionally, I have revised my poster because we are having a poster presentation this week. I am excited to show off my progress.
This week I worked a lot on my paper and turned it in to our editor Caleb. I feel confident about it and I included some examples of collected data and a completed muon study.
This week we also received the new power distribution unit. So far it is working great. We are looking into how to collect data using EQUIP. We have found out that it is possible we just need to find out how to select a file the data will be recorded to. After we do this it will be a lot easier to collect data because EQUIP makes it a lot easier to set up the DAQ board for data collection
This week we solved all of the problems we were having with data collection and upload. I emailed the help desk regarding our problem with the power distribution box, but we were able to fix it ourselves. Even so, they are sending us a new one because ours is getting old. With help from other people at the help desk we fixed our issue with data upload and now we can collect and upload data whenever we want.
This week we tried to participate in International Muon Week, but we were unable to collect data for it. We had not set up the GPS correctly, and I don’t know if we can make up the lost data this week. If we can’t do this, then we might be able to use data from another school or have data provided to us for the next step in the process.
This week we met with a lot of successes and failures. First off, we are trying to participate in International Muon Week. This is an event that is organized by QuarkNet where people collect and share data from their detectors. This event was over the past week, and unfortunately I don’t believe that we will be able to provide our own data for the event. This is because I am having issues uploading data. I do not know where this problem is. I have double checked to make sure that the parameters for collecting data are correct, but I still get an error message saying that no valid events are found when I try to upload data. I have sent send an email to the help desk and I am going to continue to investigate this problem.
We solved an important problem this week involving the power distribution box. Every once in a while it sets the amount of voltage given to the detector panels to maximum. My teacher opened the box up and found out that a particular piece of the circuit had come loose and may be shorting a particular part of it. This means that a connection is being made where we don’t want it. We have tried running the detector with special care to not let this piece make this connection and so far this problem has not resurfaced.
We are participating in International Muon Week. We just posted a youtube video about it and we are going to be collecting data for the rest of the week. We are going to be taking down our current setup and going back to the stacked version
This week I tried to upload raw data to the site. Unfortunately, it was rejected because it did not have any valid events. I am going to look into exactly what I need in my data for it to be accepted by the site. For now, I plan on filtering my data for events that included two detector boards because that worked when I was uploading data before. Additionally, I am going to look and see if any of my data was collected at the same time as data from nearby schools so I can use their data in my next study.
For next week, I am going to be working on collecting data and figuring out the exact parameters of the shower study. Additionally, this Monday is science night so I will be showing off my cosmic ray detector to everyone there.
This week I worked on the setup for uploading data. Because our detectors are in a new position, I have to update the site where we post our data. To update the detector position, I need to know where they are in relation to the GPS coordinates. To do, this I need to find out how many meters north-south and east-west the detectors are away from the GPS. Unfortunately, our detectors are set up in a square that is not in line with the compass directions. Our square is 30 degrees off of north. To find out how far north-south and east-west our detectors are, I used a graphing program called Desmos. In this program, I used the point (0,0) and the x,y axis to first map out the detectors as points. Then I graphed 2 lines to represent the north-south and east-west lines. These lines were in y=mx+b form. Then I plugged in the x and y values of my points to those lines to find the b. From here I now had 2 more lines that were each parallel with either the north-south line or the east-west line. After that, I used the distance formula and found how far north-south and east-west my detectors were from my GPS.
For next week, I plan on working more on my paper and uploading data to the website.
Was able to use the distance formula for finding out the detector geometry. Really excited to be able to apply my math knowledge.
This week we got the detector setup functional and it is currently collecting data over the weekend. I was able to get progress done on my paper and it is coming along well. So far I have learned more about what they are and how they are created. They appear to be created in the remnants of supernovas, and mostly consist of protons. These are only the particles that are created outside of our solar system. Many of the particles that we detect are actually muons that are created by these particles colliding with our atmosphere. Currently I am working on describing our setup and how exactly we collect data and what we use it for. For next week, I am going to upload the data collected over the weekend and continue working on my paper.
This week we encountered some problems but we got a lot of progress done. We were unable to set up the detectors in the new setup. We realized that we would have to drill through a wall for the wires so we decided to go with a new approach. We are still getting the details arranged but we should have a new shower study setup completed next week.
This week I started on my paper for cosmic rays. Currently I am delving into the background of cosmic rays. I learned that a french physicist named Henri Becquerel discovered that some elements would break apart into others. Shortly after his discovery, people found out that an electroscope (a device used to measure electrical charge), could be used to measure radiation. People also discovered background radiation that was present all the time. Victor. F. Hess studied this radiation and found that the radiation came from outer space. Thus cosmic rays were discovered.
This coming week I plan to get the new detector setup functional and keep working on my paper. I have almost 2 pages so far and I have a lot of ideas for information that I can include in it.
This week we set up the detector boards in the new arrangement and we were able to collect a lot of data. Unfortunately, we were unable to upload it. I was not there when the upload failed and have been unable to check the error message. I am going to upload it in smaller portions because I think the size of the file made the upload not work.
We are also making our setup bigger. Previously, our setup involved the boards being on a table about half a foot away from each other. Now, we plan to have them be 20 feet away form each other in the corners of our classroom. We have started setting this up. We are running the wires along the ceiling so they don’t get in the way. We have 2 boards set up right now and I think that we will be able to get the last two set up very soon. Then, we will be able to collect data again.
This week, I plan on breaking up the current data into smaller files and uploading them individually. I also plan on finishing our new setup and collecting data with it. Lastly, I want to run a shower study on our data and see if we detected any showers.
So, where is the background research?
This week we made a huge amount of progress. We have successfully uploaded data and we are working on setting up for a shower study.
For this study, we have had to modify our current setup slightly. We usually have our detector panels stacked on top of one another for collecting data because our previous experiment was measuring the half-life of a Muon. For this experiment, we want all of the panels set at the same elevation in a square.
A cosmic ray shower is when one cosmic ray collides with an atom in our atmosphere and the impact creates a bunch of particles that are heading towards the earth and they land at the exact same time. We have our panels flat so that we can detect those showers. If all of the panels detect something at the same time, then a number of particles must have hit them at almost the exact same time. When this happens, we can assume that a shower has taken place.
Got a response from the help desk and after some troubleshooting we got our first piece of data uploaded.
Got the GPS set up permanently. We can now record data for periods longer than a few hours.
This week we began collecting data. We first used the plateau data to set all of the counters to the same coincidences per second. We tried this first:
Channel 0: .66
Channel 1: .74
Channel 2: .67
Channel 3: .73
When that didn’t really work we tried:
Channel 0: .66
Channel 1: .74
Channel 2: .77
Channel 3: .91
After fiddling around with the resistances we finally got a set of values that worked:
Channel 0: .91
Channel 1: .74
Channel 2: .7
Channel 3: .91
We also set the threshold level to -300. Previously we had misread the instructions and set it to positive 300.
Additionally we attempted to upload data, but got an error message. We sent an error report to the help desk and we are currently waiting for a response. We tried to do some troubleshooting of our own but we were unable to get the error to go away. Despite not being able to upload the data this is a huge milestone for our work. Once we get this resolved we will be able to start uploading large amounts of data and using it for the different studies that are on the website.
Started first data upload and received an error. Sent report to help desk.
This week we fixed a lot of problems. The first one being all of the variable resistors being set to give 1.8 volts to the boards without being able to be turned down. We redid some of the soldering and we believe we fixed the problem. Next, we had trouble connecting the DAQ board to the computer. After we tried redownloading both zterm and the silabs driver we rebooted the computer and it worked fine.
Another problem that we fixed was that we were not seeing any of the counts on the data readout until the voltage passed about 1.1. We fixed this by reducing the computer threshold from 300mv to 100mv. In the instructions they recommend 300mv but it is not required for it to be that high. What that setting was doing, was only letting counts through if the board had enough voltage going to it. By setting it lower, we are able to get a data readout even if our plateau is at a low voltage.
This week we got the logins working for our accounts. We are now able to upload data when we can get everything working. We went through a long series of troubleshooting trying to get Equip working. First, we needed to link the port the DAQ was connected to to the computer. For that we used a program called Zterm. We ran the setup with file zt115a-1 and when it asked for disk 2 we selected file zt115a-2. After this, we found out that Equip was not starting. We tried to reinstall Equip but then realised that we needed another thing to get the DAQ working. We needed Silicon Laboratories CP210x USB to UART bridge. This would connect the DAQ to the computer. The earlier file Zterm connected the DAQ to the port but this program gets the computer to recognise the DAQ. When we were installing it we had a little confusion as to what installation we should do. We thought that the x86 installation meant 86 bit but it actually means 32 bit. Even after this we had trouble connecting the DAQ to the computer. We downloaded and installed Hyperterminal from hyperterminal-private-edition-htpe.en.softonic.com/download/#downloading. We tried to connect the DAQ but we had further trouble because Hyperterminal wanted an IP address but the DAQ does not have that. Finally, after updating the CP 2102 USB to UART bridge controller we got the DAQ to connect on COM3.
The first time we ran HyperTerminal we used the settings:
Bits per second – 19200
Data bits – 8
Parity – none
Flow control – none
This did connect it, though the data readout was a stream of unrecognisable symbols. The second try we used:
Bits per second-115200
Flow control Xon/Xoff
Now we have a data readout and we can capture and upload this. Unfortunately we are still unable to run Equip. We will continue to work on Equip next week and we might capture and upload some data as well.
This week I made some progress involving data collection. I set up all of the detectors with the appropriate commands and voltages. After that, I ran into a problem. I use two different programs named Equip and Hyperterminal for interacting with the Cosmic Ray Detector. I use Equip for interacting with and reprogramming the DAQ board and I use Hyperterminal for data collection. For some reason, Hyperterminal was not showing the data of the boards. After fiddling around with the commands and the voltages I realised that unless the boards were above 1.2 voltage, their data was not being recorded. This is strange because when we ran it in Equip, we did not experience this problem. This is a big problem, because while Equip can show data, it can’t collect it. We need to get Hyperterminal working to collect data.
I have two ideas for why this is happening. First, I have been using the wrong commands. I think that this is unlikely because when I used the same commands in Equip, they worked perfectly. Second, the settings that we set in Equip such as the pipeline delay and gate with might not be transferring over. I think that this is the most likely scenario, but I don’t know why this would be happening or how to fix it. I don’t have a definite plan of how to go around fixing this, but I am going to fiddle with different commands and settings until I see some results.
This week I have been shifting my focus from making progress on the cosmic ray detector to expanding my knowledge on the subject of cosmic rays. I have 2 main issues with my work that I am addressing. First, I have a huge lack of background knowledge on cosmic rays and particles in general. I need to expand my overall knowledge on the subject so I understand what is going on. My focus has been too directed towards the detector and not enough towards my learning and what I can take away from this class. My second issue is that when I leave wildwood I don’t know who will continue my work on the cosmic ray detector. I have not left behind many useful resources for people to continue my work. My weekly reflections are not as descriptive as they could be and to be honest, it is just impractical for someone to have to go through the same journey of piecing together resources as I did.
To solve this problem I have decided to make a compilation of my learning. This will serve two functions. First, it is a place where I can store information that I have learned. It will function somewhat like a paper, but I will be updating it as my knowledge expands. Secondly, it will act as a resource for anyone who wants to know what I have been doing and prepare people to work on the cosmic ray detector. I will compile sources and explain some of the complicated aspects of the work involved. While I have barely started working on this, I believe that I can turn this into a showcase of my learning as well as a gateway for others to work on the cosmic ray detector.
I only had one class period this week and I was unable to make any progress on collecting data. We are still experiencing software issues and I am researching ways to get this fixed.
This week I have made a lot more progress. I have successfully plateaued all of the counters and I am ready to collect data. The counters all plateau at about .84 voltage so that is the voltage we are going to use.
The thing that I find odd about the data is that the coincidence counts actually start to decline after a while. Wouldn’t increasing the voltage make them go up and up? Additionally, what makes them plateau and then start to drop? Why isn’t the line a curve? I am going to look into all of these questions as I continue to collect data.
This coming week in AT science I only have one class period because of Thanksgiving but I have 2 things that I want to get done. Firstly, I want to deal with the GPS. I want to see when we can put the cord through the final wall and what I can do to make that happen as soon as possible. My second goal is to use my plateau information to collect a piece of data and if I have time upload it.
This week we have made a lot of progress. I have recorded a lot more data and graphed it. While I only have two complete graphs, both seem to plateau at around .7. When I have finished plateauing the other two counters, I will collect some more data around that area. I am very happy that I have something to show for my work. I have been thinking about what other projects I could do once this is finished. On the website, the flux and shower studies look very interesting. I am excited to explore those options. Before any of that though, we need to get the GPS to be running 24/7. I believe we are still waiting for facilities to put the wire through the final wall, but I’m sure that we can still be making progress in that area before that happens.
This week in AT science I have found two large issues I need to address. The first one of them is staying aware of deadlines and dates of important events. This week I failed to turn in my poster on time and I was not able to present at the open house. The open house was on Tuesday and the poster needed to have been turned in by Monday at the latest. I missed this deadline even though all of our due dates for the class are on the school calendar. It is unacceptable for me to be missing these deadlines especially for something as important as this poster. Because of my poor scheduling, I was also unable to participate at the open house. I had left a lot of homework to be done that night and because of this, I couldn’t go. These are things that should never have been an issue had I stayed on top of the deadlines and schedule for the class. In the future I need to prepare for these deadlines and plan my work accordingly.
Looking back on my recent weekly reflections I realise that my work has slowed dramatically. I am not making much progress and I don’t give any solid explanations for the reason why. I need to work harder and make sure that I am using the opportunity I have with the cosmic ray detector to full use. I need to be making visible and meaningful progress. In the following weeks, I am going to make sure that I am working efficiently and not missing any more deadlines in the class.
This week I have been working a lot on my poster. I think it is almost finished and it looks great. Hopefully I can peer review it with someone before I have to turn it in.
Earlier this week I have been trying to interpret the data we have collected. I am starting to see a plateau forming, but it is not very clear. So far it seems to be plateauing at around .7 voltage. After that point it fluctuates from 500-750 counts but it seems to be overall a straight line until the end of our data. There, it actually seems to be going down. I really don’t know why that is happening and I think I should be really careful with recording data from now on.
For next week I want to collect more data and start identifying where all of the boards are plateauing.
This week we were finally able to start collecting data. We used the procedure I created a couple of weeks ago and everything worked great. So far we have gotten about twenty data points and they follow the plateau lines we are looking for. The same problem I ran into last week with the variable resistors came up. By the end of the week the problem had disappeared and we haven’t come up with any ideas as to its cause. For the following week I want to collect more data and be able to upload some of it to the cosmic ray website.
This week in AT Science we did not make progress plateauing the detectors. It took a lot longer than expected to find out how to interpret the excel table and get the detector working. We have been having one frustrating problem with the variable resistors on the power distribution box. Occasionally all of the resistors will be set to full and we are unable to turn them down for a period of 1-5 minutes. We had the problem last year and believed it to be caused by part of the wiring in the box coming loose. Since then we have fixed some wiring breakage but none of that has solved this problem. I need to brainstorm what other ways we could try to fix this problem but I want to get the counters plateaued as soon as possible.
We did make some good progress this week regarding the GPS cable. We were able to string it into the PE office and now we need to wait for facilities to put the wire through the final wall above the door. We have also attached the end of the GPS cable to the female end of a cat 5 cable. So after we get it through the wall we should be ready to have the GPS be set up permanently, weather permitting of course.
This week in AT Science we got less progress done as we had hoped, but we are making headway nonetheless. We have been working on a somewhat complex problem involving the wiring of the DAQ board to the GPS outside. Our classroom is located towards the middle of our building and the closest entrance to the outside is through the PE office about 50 feet away. The GPS needs to have access to the sky so this is our closest option. In the past, we have ran the GPS wire across the floor through the PE office at the start of each class and then taken it down at the end. This posed a couple of problems. Firstly, we were not able to record data for more than 1 hour or so at a time. Second, the process was very time consuming. And third, the door to the outside was used a lot and the wire ran the risk of being pinched by someone who forgot to leave the door open with the doorstop. We will run our wire with the other utility wires through a small hole above the door to the outside and bypass this issue. We have ran about 90% of the wire, and soon a lot of our earlier problems will go away. Unfortunately, this week we have outdoor ED so I will make little to no physical progress but my goals remain the same as last week.
This week Equip started working. We don’t know why it was not working before, but we don’t think that the problem will come back. We are now looking into plateauing the counters on the Cosmic Ray Detector. We are using the powerpoint found here: http://www.i2u2.org/elab/cosmic/library/resources.jsp. From the powerpoint I have put together a procedure of what we have to do to plateau the counters.
Hopefully we should be able to plateau the counters this week and be able to start uploading data.
This week in class we have been working on getting our logins to the cosmic ray elab site. Currently, we are having problems logging into the site. Rob has been working on getting my account working. The logins are almost working so we will be able to start uploading data soon. I have been helping Conor a bit with setting up the Oculus Rift. We had some trouble getting the software installed and getting the display settings right. Now it is almost functional and I am excited to try it out.
This week was my first week in AT science since last year. AT first I was somewhat lost for what to do, but I quickly slipped back into the rhythm of work. I organised the resistors in an old tackle box and labeled them. I have also looked into uploading more data to the Cosmic ray elab site. There are some other tests that I want to do with our data like the flux and shower studies. I also am thinking about another possible project. I think it would be interesting if I could assemble a cosmic ray cloud chamber. This would only cost roughly $60. Additionally, most of the parts can be purchased at any hardware store.