FarmBot: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

It took Rhona Watson and me about 15 minutes Thursday to figure out that when I was working alone I had put two motor controller cables in the Y axis cable carrier instead of a motor power cable and a motor controller cable. If that’s incomprehensible to you, just know it’s not a good thing. The fix was to open the Y axis cable carrier back up, change out and reroute the cable, and then close it back up again.

And so goes our work assembling FarmBot. We make a little progress. We figure out something we did wrong. We cuss. Then we fix it and keep moving forward.

By the time we ran out of energy Thursday afternoon, we had connected power to both the X axis motors and had started in connecting the power to the Universal Tool Mount (UTM), the tiny little machine that alternately picks up, uses, and then puts down the key tools in FarmBot’s toolkit.

After several unsuccessful attempts to connect the 12 tiny wires in the UTM cable to the UTM, we made a decision to ignore the instructions from FarmBot about how to connect the wires and devised our own solution. FarmBot’s instructions say we should simply lay each wire against its designated screw and wrap it with a zip tie. Seemed flaky to us from the start and flakier after we actually tried it.

Instead, we ran to Fastenal in Montgomery (can’t get this at Lowe’s) and purchased some tiny 3M nuts. We then compressed each wire between the locknut provided by FarmBot and the nut we purchased. Tedious, but effective.

We’re taking a break until after the plant sale. When we return, we will finish wiring the UTM and move on to installing and connecting  Farmbot’s Raspberry Pi computer.

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