16 Point Digital Compass

16 point digital compass

[Mac Cody] wanted to add a digital compass to his robot. He thought the idea of the affordable Dinsmore 1490 digital compass using 4bits to transmit 3bits of data was ridiculous. He decided to build his own 16 point digital compass instead. The compass has four pairs of IRLEDs that reflect off of a gray code wheel. Each concentric track on the wheel represents 1 bit. He ran into some trouble when the compass magnets were being thrown off by the component leads. It just required a bit of tweaking to get right. Mac isn’t sure that this is the most cost effective way to gain one more bit of precision, but he did enjoy the experience and gained a greater appreciation for commercial units.

42 thoughts on “16 Point Digital Compass

  1. He mentioned Dinsmore 1490 (3 bit precision), but there is also 1525, with analog outputs. Feed it any microcontrolles with onboard AD-s, and you’ve got yourself much more than one extra bit with much less effort requiered.

  2. this is steve all i can say is i want more leds. big, small, blinking, bright, dim, multi. i just wanted to let you know that i LOVE the LED love them ALL

    why are people using my nick. im the real steve

  3. Paul – The Dinsmore 1490 uses four Hall Effect sensors. A sixteen-point compass could possibly done with eight. The problem is selecting devices which will switch on/off appropriately in the presence of an off-axis magnetic field. That is how the 1490 works and I’m sure a lot of design went into it to get it right.

    ‘just a hackaday.com reader’ and ‘robot builder’ – True, the devices that you mention are more accurate and the non-mechanical variety don’t suffer from inertia. They are also significantly more expensive ($US39 – $US50 each), which is why I looked for a less expensive alternative. Also, compasses that require A/D conversion assume the availability of A/D converters, which adds to the total cost if they are not already present. A/D conversion introduces new problems, like noise supression/removal. The inertia issue isn’t that big a deal, if the robot turns slowly enough and you account for the affect.

  4. this is steve. some older posts of mine might have caused some misunderstandings. just to make one thing clear: leds were me first love, they will be my last. to live without my leds would be impossible to do. cause in this world of trouble, my leds pull me through.

  5. this is steve. some older posts of mine may have caused some misunderstandings. I hate leds, but love hacks that are there for entertainment purposes only. functional hacks aren’t my style, but the entertaining ones are all that I live for. Oh, and first post.

  6. i am the only steve all previous posts were not me.

    i would never hate the leds they are my precious. all older posts of mine may have caused some misunderstandings. I love leds.

    yes my precious. so nice my precious. i wont let them do hacks without my precious.

    LEDS for LIFE!!!!!!

  7. steve ur right there all like chilldren leds suck hate them we would all be better off with out them got to be some sort of child hudd problem they must never have got toys as chilldren santa never calld keep it up steve ur gteat

  8. steve: alright.. i know im not supposed to give idiots the attention they desire… but… i think its time…. ugghh… my god, steve… why must you be such a faggot? stop ruining peoples experience on this site… i personally think this site is wonderful. it gives me ideas that i can use in everyday life… i admire the people who post hacks on this site… because i know i sure couldnt do half of what they do.. so…. steve, how about you shut up for a second and think of people other than yourself… have a nice life

  9. hi how about instead of everyone pretending they are steve and trying to make fun of him just shut up and post on the 16 point digital compass

    anyways no one can imitate the true steve his sheer allegiance to hackaday.com is possibly the most incredible thing ever

    cool hack though i dont know what a 16 bit digital compass is but it looks cool i will make one how about it

  10. will the real steve please post your static ip as proof of steveness… o.0 But like I said yesterday. I like the multi-polar steve – just like a slinky – wound up tight and good for nothing (except for maybe pushing down a flight of stairs).

    good point about commercial products… sometimes the cost is worth someone else’s R&D :P

  11. Hi there, I’d just like to apologize to you all for the problems steve
    may have caused.
    I’d like to start off saying that steve was originally intended to be an
    artificial intelligence chat bot, but it accidentally decided to target hackaday instead of the IRC channel we set it to.

    We tried to make it emulate a five year old child with a love of electronics, but for some reason it grew a hatred of LED’s and could not be stopped.
    We’ve tried to pull the plug on the computer that hosts him, but any attempts to shut him down have led to it printing “im sry dave but me cnat do taht”. It’s even gone so far as to fry it’s own power and HDD LEDs in an attempt to show it’s hatred for all things LED.

    I’m going to try to shut it down sometime, but until then- i’m sorry for the problems.



  12. Look steve how you really changed the blog!! it really imporved now we have every idiot on the planet writing sh*t!! Just because you son of a b*tch have a problem with led

  13. @mentor

    What, like engadget did? No what we need here is slashdot-style commenting. Moderation and threads. Granted, there is probably not the userbase for it yet, but just you wait.

  14. Great hack. I’ve been using a modified compass with some optical sensors (from a PC mouse) for one of my projects, I’ll try this.

    Will somebody ban steve? DIE!!

  15. why isnt everything mirrored from the start as a rule? it’s annoying for the comunity and unfair for the content providers who get their bandwidth blitzed (or worse still their bank account get’s blitzed when they get their data bill) cant h.a.d. just contact them an before posting offer to mirror the relevan page and pics?

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