Minerower

Aug 2017 News: Over the weekend I completed the wireless version of the minerower controller. I used a pair of Pololu Wixels to complete the link between the handle and the controller. At the moment it still uses an A-Star Arduino compatible—the receiver Wixel triggers a hall effect sensor which produces input on the A-Star. It's unnecessarily complicated but it was easier to build the circuit interface than it was try port the controller code to the Wixel. All of the pictures on this page still show the old version.


Left: The Minerower is made from an ergometer with a flywheel. I painted half of the flywheel white.
Right: Flywheel in motion, showing the Leonardo and the reflectance sensor. The blue LED illuminates when the sensor is detecting reflectance off of the white segment.

Minerower is a rowing machine that I have modified to be used for rowing across bodies of water in the Minetest world. The rower has been outfitted with a reflectance sensor that reads the flywheel rotations and converts that into various speeds that are mapped to keys. This uses the same technique for mapping speeds to keys that the Minerunner system does but the speed translation has been intentionally throttled and does not map to distances accurately the way Minerunner does.

Steering is achieved by the manipulating a tiny joystick that has been mounted on the rowing machine handle. Due to excessive noise along the y axis which I didn't bother to try to troubleshoot only the equivalent of the x axis (horizontal) is hooked up on my current system.

A tiny joystick is used for steering with my thumb.

Since most of the monsters in the animals_modpack avoid water and I have not yet added any water-borne hazards, rowing has generally been the safest way to travel at any time. (Land is good during the day but the vombies come out at night. Oh, but there are also wolves and bears at least, and they seem to be diurnal.)


One way to hardwire a rower handle to an Arduino. The board sticking up is hinged at the bottom. One of the cables coming off the rower is tied to the handle on one end and the board on the other. The taut cable is used to prevent the other cable, the data cable, from stretching which generates false input.

Some notes about this controller:

The code for Minerower is open source and available here:

Please send questions, comments, complaints, and/or bug reports to minercise @ richfox dot org

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