Tuesday night was the inaugural class for my Gadgeteer and Robotics series of classes around controlling different types of motors and I was very pleased with the results. The class is in response to requests from professional developers locally and for the FIRST Robotics High School teams in the Calgary area. The series is made up of four classes
- Encoders and DC Motors
- PID Controllers
- Servo Motors
- Stepper Motors
I could have chosen a number of different platforms to teach this on, but Gadgeteer was really the only one that made sense as nothing else makes it easier to teach and highlight concepts involved in the material without getting washed over in specific hardware details, plus the project boards I put together give attendees lots of ways to experiment with concepts to help them understand causes and effects. For example in this class I cover PWM and the boards allow for adjusting both frequency and duty cycle and with the motors geared the way they are the can literally see the duty cycle at lower frequencies as the motor pulses for different duration times depending on the duty cycle setting.
The only negative point was I managed to kill the presentation screen or at least the HDMI plug for it, so we ended up using a Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved Monitor and while a couple of those would be great in my office, it wasn’t enough so I’m looking forward to the theatre presentation screen being fixed for the next class.
In short I was really happy with the class, made a couple of small tweaks and now I think I’m ready for the High School FIRST teams. Not sure if the Deadhead roadie will teach those classes or not as kids today likely have no idea what a deadhead is.
Last year I taught over 20 Hands On Gadgeteer Sessions and I can see that I’ll easily beat that number with these classes this year as there are already waiting lists for the classes I’ve scheduled so far.