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Gooseneck sensor

In my previous article about the autonomous sailboat I mentioned the sensors that need to be used as input for the Arduino to make decisions based on the logic that will be programmed. One of the sensors will be the gooseneck sensor to detect in what angle the boom is in related to the longitudinal axis of the boat. This post will explain my solution which certainly is not the only solution but is a very effective one.There are several criteria to keep in mind picking the correct sensor for this purpose. In order of relevancy

  1. High resolution
    Detection of every single degree of boom rotation (twist) is necessary
  2. No dead band
    There is no mechanical clearance due to part tolerances in an assembly
  3. Compact in size
    The gooseneck must be as small as possible so it can be used during manual sailing
  4. Resistance to twist
    It is preferable that  there is no resistance to twist to have a good performance in light wind conditions

With this list in mind a potentiometer was a logic choice, the only down side of a pot is that it has some resistance to twist. By choosing the good potentiometer this will be reduced to a very minimum. In this case I use a 10K precision potentiometer which normally is mounted on a PCB. An analogue signal will be used in the code, the range will be determined after installation/rigging.


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