Week Review 3/7/2024

Working on the Float

This week I kept working on improving the float’s electronics while Ben worked on tuning the buoyancy of the float and making mounts for the hall effect sensor.


The main issue that we have been trying to solve is the hall effect sensor’s reliability. Right now the hall effect sensor is fairly accurate, but it is too vital of a component to fail even 1% of the time.

I am trying to make the consequences from a hall effect sensor failure lower while simultaneously trying to make the hall effect sensor less likely to fail.

The way I am doing this is my adding another hall effect sensor. This will have one hall effect sensor detect the magnets on the up stroke, and another hall effect sensor detect the magnets on the down stroke. If we do this the float will always know which direction it is going and never end up with a crashing or ejection failure.

This will also make the hall effect sensors more reliable because the magnet triggers them when its magnetic field aligns with the hall effect sensors magnetic field. With a little bit of extra electrical noise that is enough to push the hall effect sensor over the edge and trigger it.

After consulting with the hall effect sensor data sheet we are a little bit out of the voltage range for them. I added another tap to the battery pack and plan on powering the sensor with 5 volts.


I made a few code tweaks to improve the reliability of the float. I ignore any input from the hall effect sensor for a few seconds after the motor starts moving because that is the time that it is most likely to falsely detect a magnet.

This greatly improved the reliability of the float, but it is not at the level I was hoping for yet. I think this is a problem that needs a hardware solution.


I am making several changes to the electronics so I want to prototype it on a breadboard first. This project is still at the point where it is simple enough to prototype this way, and I want to be certain about the design before I order a PCB.

I am almost certain that this design will be too complex to make in the shop. Unfortunately we already had a JLC PCB order recently so the batch will be smaller and the shipping price will be higher.

Working on Computers

For the past few weeks we have been divvying up the computers in the shop. I personally did not want a computer both other people wanted help selecting and getting computers working. I helped Nate with choosing his computer and I helped Tanzy with getting his computer working.

Tanzerul’s computer did not have an OS on it so I helped him install one. We were originally going to use Linux Mint, but the shop only had 1 gigabyte USBs. The most reasonable ISO I could fit on that was Arch Linux so the installation process ended up being more involved than I was expecting.

Fixing Mr. L’s Computer

Mr. L’s computer got dropped, and then it started making a burning smell. After sniffing the whole motherboard to find the issue, I determined that it was the power supply.

On Monday we graded the Sophomores lightbox project. Mr. Christy wanted me to resurrect the stock box