Robotic Yachts

Seawind
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Seawind 998

Teensy 3.6 + WiFi + MA3

Yamaha Round the World
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Tamiya Yamaha 985

Round the World

Victoria
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Victoria 779

Teensy 4.0 + WiFi + MA3

Ragazza
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Ragazza 1000

Teensy 3.6 + WiFi + MA3

Dragon Force
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Dragon Force 65 V6

Teensy 4.0

Micro Magic
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Micro Magic 530

Teensy 4.1

Proboat Westward
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Westward 460

Teensy 3.6

Duplex 575
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Duplex 575

Teensy 3.6

Yardstick
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Yardstick

Decommissioned

I share my experience building robotic boats. I started using a Windows 7 tablet onboard Birdy II. Because of the weight and size of the tablet, the model boat has to be sufficiently large at 1.5 meters. I could plug in a USB compass, USB GPS, and a USB Servo Controller. All was ok until I tried to read signals from a Radio Control receiver. Because RC receivers communicate using PWM, I searched and discovered the Arduino Uno.

It wasn't long before I upgraded to the Arduino Mega, which became my workhorse for a while. The Mega meant I didn't need a tablet and could thus reduce the electronics' weight, size, and cost.

My microcontroller of choice, at the moment, is now the Teeny 3.6 and 4.1. More powerful than the Arduino Mega with a smaller size. Small enough to fit into a 47cm boat. I have progressed from breadboards to soldering with PCB boards with varying success. The Raspberry Pi and BBC Micro-bit were interesting to learn, but I have no plans to add to any boats.

I solved the problem of sailing downwind in a straight line in 2017. My current challenge is sailing into the wind. When the sails are tight, the yachts will naturally head up to the wind. This behavior is what we want, however too much; then, the boat will effectively stall. To avoid this, we need to monitor the mainsail or the main boom. I do this using Hall Sensors and a magnet on the boom.

Microcontrollers

Arduino UNO
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Arduino Uno

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Arduino Mega
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Arduino Mega

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Arduino Due
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Arduino Due

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Arduino Nano v3
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Arduino Nano

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Arduino Yun Mini
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Arduino Yun Mini

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Intel Edison
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Intel Edison

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ESP8266
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ESP8266

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Teensy 3.6
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Teensy 3.6

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Teensy 4.0
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Teensy 4.0

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ESP32
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ESP32

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BBC microbit
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BBC Micro:bit

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Raspberry Pi 3
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Raspberry Pi 3

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Articles

Rudder
April 2017

Rudder Logic

Tricks and calculations to try and stay in a straight line.

Wind
April 2017

Wind Logic

Trick to find the direction of the wind.