Analog Servo Controll, 555 timer

Posted in Engeneering with tags , , on July 10, 2010 by sergeantatarms

I just ordered a micro-controller to get my hobby started, but couldn’t wait for it to arrive to get my projects rolling. I wanted to controll a servo using just the parts i had laying around, so i opted for a 555 circuit.

This circuit produces a 50Hz square wave with a duty cycle of 7.5% (this will set my servo to the middle position). To control the servo, the duty cycle must be variable from 2.5% to 12.5%, so i replaced R1 with a 3k potentiometer. Changing the value of this resistor only affects the duty cycle of the output, and not the frequency.

Here is a great illustration of what’s going on to control the servo:

This is the completed circuit, with the servo added and an LED (connected to the servo) to help troubleshoot. Now i can control the servo just by turning the nob on the potentiometer!


VMI Bugler Rob Allen featured…

Posted in Band, Uncategorized with tags , on September 24, 2009 by sergeantatarms
Playing Taps at the annual New Market Parade

Playing Taps at the annual New Market Parade

This article was published about me in the Roanoke Times on Memorial Day:

Still, some are trying to maintain the tradition of the bugle, the brass instrument without valves that traces its military use back more than 250 years.

“I think it’s a disgrace to see an electronic taps played at military funerals,” said Rob Allen, a rising fourth-year cadet at Virginia Military Institute who leads the bugle corps.

VMI is one of the few military schools that still relies upon live music for calls to duty — such as reveille in the morning and taps at night — and to announce formations. Allen, a 21-year-old electrical engineering major from Boulder, Colo., is one of five scholarship buglers, but he is the only cadet who actually plays a bugle. The rest play trumpets.

Check out the online article here:

And the multimedia slideshow:

VMI Cadet and Jessica Simpson

Posted in Band with tags , , , on July 9, 2009 by sergeantatarms

This picture is an instant classic. This was taken last week at some kind of Tiger Woods event that the VMI Brass Quintet was playing at.

Josh Applewhite and John Brodie

Josh Applewhite and John Brodie

EYES TO THE FRONT APPLEWHITE!  YOU THINK THIS IS SOME KIND OF A GAME SON?!?!?!  LOOKING AT LADY PARTS WHILE YOU ARE IN YOUR DRESS WHITES WILL GET YOU A WEEKS WORTH OF CLEANING LATRINES AND SHINING BOOTS!  Maaaaaan. It looks like all his dreams are coming true right there.  He’s gonna enjoy the back of that dress too.  Unfortunately, Jessica’s tail game is not going to hold it down.

See the post at Us Versus Them

Swine Flu in Lexington

Posted in Administration with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Received this email today from someone in administration:

The state health commissioner reported last night that two students at Washington and Lee University who were treated with mild flu symptoms are probable cases of swine flu.

There are no suspected cases of swine flu among cadets at VMI. Institute officials are monitoring the situation and at this time are not calling for any exceptional actions.

According to Dr. David L. Copeland, Institute physician, cadets with a high fever and aches should report to the Post Infirmary any time day or night for evaluation.  Faculty and staff with any flu-like illness should see a family doctor.  Sick employees should stay home and sick cadets should report to the Infirmary.

The best preventive measures are careful hand washing and covering a cough to avoid spread of viruses.

The VMI pandemic flu Web site ( provides information concerning the flu and preventative measures individuals can take. Another excellent website for accurate and up to date information is  The epidemic continues to be a cause for concern but not panic.  The Institute has prepared for an epidemic like this and we are ready to react appropriately.

I still don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Famous last words, right? Today finals, tomorrow Bacon Lung!

Midwinter Formal Hop Permit 2009

Posted in Midwinter formal, VMI events with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by sergeantatarms





9 December 2008

Midwinter Formal Hop

1. EVENT. The VMI Corps of Cadets is permitted to attend the Midwinter Formal (MWF) in Cocke Hall on Saturday, 14 Feb from 1900-2300 in accordance with the following eligibility requirements.


a. A cadet must have a date to attend the MWF. Male cadets must have a female date and female cadets must have a male date to attend.

b. A cadet must pick up tickets for his/her date from the S7 staff to attend the MWF, as tickets will be taken at the door of Cocke Hall.

Continue reading

Ghost Storys of VMI

Posted in Life with tags , , on January 26, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Some cool ghost stories. There’s a few that have been left out…. but still interesting.

Virginia Mourning Her Dead

A beautiful bronze statue, Virginia Mourning her Dead, by Moses Ezekiel, has captivated generations of VMI cadets. The statue has a long history of suspected paranormal activity, including moans and cries that are reported to come from the area in which it stands. Many alumni claim to have seen tears coming from Virginia’s eyes when they went to inspect the mysterious sounds in the vicinity.

VMI ghost storys

VMI Jazz Band in Germany

Posted in Band, VMI events with tags , , , , on January 26, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Thank God for the Jazz band and Colonel Brodie. Without these things, I wouldn’t have been able to visit Germany over break. We played in Munich at the Bundeswehr University, and in Garmish at the Edelweiss resort. I loved being out of the country and tasting some good European beer. Maybe I can go back for the starkbierfest some time. Here’s a picture of us playing at the resort:

VMI plays at Edelweiss resort.

VMI plays at Edelweiss resort.