on Jan 20th, 2012Lunamod

The Lunamod was a project in Make and at the end of my first year subscription to that magazine, I decided that I had to so at least one project to deserve a second year. I was originally attracted to it because it has wood in it and it looks pretty. So it was really more about the process and the techniques needed to do this project, not about the outcome. In fact, I have to admit, that I did not play much with it once it was done. Lunamod is a sound generator and if you are really interested you can do some funny stuff with it (here is an example of somebody playing with it).

Michael's Lunamod

For me, it turned more into an exercise in fiddling with the components, getting back into soldering after a long break, and getting a sense for what kind of equipment I need in order to do projects like these.For that, it was a pretty expensive project, but it kind of made sense to go the full monty and get everything on the list from the tools to the processor to the organic wood treatment. And I was darn sure that I messed up, so it was very surprising to see it run right away. It seems I got all the wiring right.

backside of the Lunamod board

sneak peak into the board and the components

The whole project took me about 3 working days spread over a much longer period because I had to buy new stuff (chasing down the components was the first harsh learning curve, but obviously necessary).

Things I messed up:

  • the cover – because I drilled too my screw holes too deep
  • the battery positioning – my box was slightly different in size and shape and my 9V only fits in there the wrong way, which blocks the cover a bit (but I can live with that)
  • I messed up some soldering spots but I managed to clean them up (which was a good experience, and it answered my question why you need a magnifying glass with your magic hand stand)

This project uses a Picaxe, which is a much more basic processor than the Arduino and I almost failed to get the software installed, because this one needs an old-fashioned serial cable (it seems there is also a USB version, but I missed that one somehow). Good that I had my old desktop still working.

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