I have finally started on coding for the solar tracker. As discussed previously, I am venturing out and using a new-to-me processor, the Propeller from Parallax. I am using the Propeller Proto Board for the prototyping. I am using the Prop Plug to communicate with View Port. These last two components provide an ICD-like environment for me to develop the application in. So far I have only scratched the surface with the code – I have basic flashing LED code working. In addition, I’ve run a couple of the View Port sample code applications. Next up: interfacing with two Synaptrons to drive the solar tracker hardware.
So far I am running into the typical issues with using a new micro: figuring out the architecture; determining the way to configure it; and most-importantly – figuring out how to navigate the documentation and web-site to find the information that I need. At the beginning of a design, this last point often becomes the largest hurdle. People, and especially engineers, extra-especially me, are creatures of habit and once we learn a way to do something, it becomes a bit hard to learn a new way to do thing. Related to this point, the biggest issue I am having is learning a new language: Spin. I know what I want to do, it’s learning the syntax that is causing some problems.
None of these issues are deal-killers – they are just typical issues when learning a new microcontroller. As this project is an internal project for our demo, it is necessarily has a lower priority than some other projects, so the progress is slower than normal. However, it is good to get going on the next step for the solar tracker. More details to follow.