Autono-mow – The DIY Autonomous Lawnmower – Day 2

Day 2 of robot lawnmower resulted in the second drive motor and wheel being added and “Better” electrical on/off system implemented.

This new electrical system allowed Forward/Off control of each motor.

The following video shows a test run without any extra weight.

Download Day2-UnloadedMP4

The following video shows a similar test run with a calibrated weight added to represent the extra load that will be imposed on the mower with cutting drive, battery, etc.

Download Day2-LoadedMP4


Autono-mow – The DIY Autonomous Lawnmower – Day 1

Work began today on my Autonomous robotic lawnmower.

The intention is that this robot should be able to mow the lawn in my back yard without major human interaction.

The mechanical works began today with an old Rover mower having the back wheels removed and new rear drive wheel added. Driven by EK Ford Falcon windscreen wiper motors.

The Mower for Modification

The video below shows only one wheel added and being powered by a 12v sealed lead acid motorbike battery. As can be seen in the video the battery is connected directly to the motor terminals.

Download Video – Day1-Bump Test

Atmega128 UART / RS232 test code

This bunch of code can be used to test UART or RS232 (depending on your circuit).

I use as a windows terminal.

Compile and flash this code and your microcontroller will tell you that its running via UART. You can then send it a request (ending with a character return) and it will respond with the baud rate register value (just used as an example).

The archives below have all the source code that you will need to get basic UART running on your ATmega128.



Key based authentication for tortoisesvn with ssh

To checkout using ssh and key authentication with tortoise start by installing both tortoisesvn and putty (using windows installer)
Get Putty here

Get Tortoisesvn here

Run puttygen

Start Menu

Click Generate and wave the mouse around in the box


Generating your public and private keys

Fill in the Red boxes, copy and paste the text in the blue box and then save your private key somewhere safe.

Now take the string you have copied and pasted and insert it as a line in the text file on server


you may then have to change the permissions on this file using

chmod 700 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Now run Putty from the start menu like in the first image

and configure it as shown in the next few images.


SSH auth settings

Click the auth item under ssh and browse to your private key location


Set the auto login username

Set the auto login username


Save your session

Set your hostname, name your session and click save.

Now click open and you will be authenticated with your key plus your pass phrase.

If you want to have your pass phrase remembered each time you can now run Pageant from the start menu and add your private key and pass phrase.

This will run in the background and automatically sign you in when putty needs authentication details.

You should now be able to test it by running putty and double clicking on the saved session.

You should now be logged in to the remote terminal.

You can now checkout using the a checkout url similar to this

Where the svnsession in the red box is the name of your saved session.

When checking out you are now challenged for your key pass phrase.


Note: For those who wish to have this passphrase remembered for that login session simply grab your private key file and drop it into your start menu startup folder and on boot you will be prompted for your passphrase and you will remain logged in.

How to run Minecraft on Ubuntu 10.10

Install the openjdk
Copy and paste this into the terminal window (Click Applications –> Accessories –>Terminal)

 sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jre openjdk-6-jre-headless

Then just download the game to your home folder and run at the terminal

 java -Xmx1024M -Xms512M -cp Minecraft.jar net.minecraft.LauncherFrame

If you have trouble you could try this, it appears as if the filename has changed. This is due to Linux being case sensitive.

 java -Xmx1024M -Xms512M -cp minecraft.jar net.minecraft.LauncherFrame

Backyard wood fired pizza oven DIY – Day 5 – Morning

This morning we lit a small fire on the new slab to allow it to heat slowly as the inside floor slab has only had about 12hours to cure. We should probably have left it for a week or so but the oven is scheduled for use later tonight.

The finished floor slab


Lighting the first fire


First signs of smoke


Oven beginning to smoke


The first fire


The first fire


The fire burnt down.

During the inital fire lighting we put a thermometer on the top of the chimney and it reached 200 degrees celcius before we decided to take the thermometer as the temperature reading was still climbing.




In order to take full advantage of the ovens potential it was used to cook breakfast.


Cooking apparatus





Backyard wood fired pizza oven DIY – Day 4

Today we added 75mm of small (25mm) loose rock to the inside of the oven, this layer of rock was then covered with a 40mm concrete slab.

This slab will lock in an air pocket between the base of the oven and the floor level that will act as  insulation between the ground and the inside of the oven.

We have not got any pictures of this process.

Backyard wood fired pizza oven DIY – Day 2


Today we stripped the formwork from inside the oven… This took about an hour or so.



The oven at the start of day 2



The oven at the start of day 2



Cutting the door out with power saw and hand saw






Door arch removed



Photos of the inside formwork




Photos of the inside formwork



Photos of the inside formwork



Photos of the inside formwork



Removal of formwork



Removal of formwork



Removal of formwork