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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Soldering helper

OK, small problem to solve.
Every time I need to solder some components/wires/ecc. the solder support is moving everywhere, often falling down the workplace.

Yeah OK, is not a big problem but it is annoying, especially when you are trying to concentrate on the job to do !

So ... here a simple solution.
Since I use a board where to do the work, I just cut out a round piece of wood, with the diameter little bit smaller than the one of the solder support.

First cut out a round piece of wood.
I used a wood circular cutter close to the final diameter (required less than 1 inch).



The piece of wood is too big to fit in the solder support.
So with patience ...


Once done, I attached it to the working board


Voila'. Now the solder support is not going anywhere, is free to turn but not to fall down.


Roomba 4xx test batteries - manual


Having a lot of Roomba batteries for the series 4xx (third and fourth generation), before to trash them in the recycle kit I just received,  I needed a way to see if a battery is good or bad.

To test a battery there are some steps to follow :

  • measure the voltage of the battery - if below 15V the battery can have problems
  • discharge the battery
  • charge the battery
  • discharge the battery on a calculated load - it should last a fixed amount of time depending the type of the battery. At least 1 hour for the older NiCd
Using the external iRobot charger modified (for manual), I did set up this environment.

The dis-charger is a 12V lamp.
I'm experimenting with a 12V 50W and a 12V 34W lamps.

Building

Building the contraption is easy.
The only trick is to pay attention to the polarity of the wires.
It would be great to use red/black cables, but as usual I use whatever I have around in my junk box.





 Here I'm using a 12V 50W lamp, but as soon as I find a socket for the other lamp, I'll try to use the 12V 34W lamp.
The ideal it would be to use a load that simulates the Roomba load. People doing this before me estimated that a 12V 25W lamp is a perfect load.
One of these days I'll try in different places to find the lamp, for now this is what I have around.


For mechanical reason, I put the switch (Switch A) in plastic box (of course re-used many many times for different projects).


The switch is actually a 3 position switch, so the label indicates ch (Charger), off (Off :) ) and dis (Dis-charger).
Because of that, there is really not need of the Switch B, since is enough to put the switch A in the Off position to measure the battery voltage with no load.
But for "logical" reasons, the Switch B still exists.
Let say that "Switch A in Off position",  is equivalent to say "Switch B open".




Here the contraption connected to the modified external charger.

Operations


In order to see if a battery is OK or not, here Step by Step list of things to do.

  1. set the Switch A on Off (or set  the Switch A  to connect the battery to the dis-charger and set the Switch B of the dis-charger  open).
    In this way is possible to measure the voltage of the battery without load.
  2. put the battery on the battery holder of the iRobot external charger.
    Low reading at this stage can already indicate if a battery is dead.
    A healthy battery should give a reading around at least 14.4V.
  3. set the switch A on dis (Dis-charger) or set the Switch B On.
    Simply keep connect the battery to the dis-charger until the lamp is on.
    When the lamp goes off :
    - if lasted at least an hour for the NiCD and two hours for the NiMH the battery is OK (assuming a load of 12V 25W, less for bigger loads)
    - if last less the battery is not good anymore, however at least one charge cycle must be performed before to decide the battery is no good.
    Go to the point 4 if the battery needs to do at least a charge cycle
  4. toggle the Switch A to connect the battery to the charger.
    If the battery has a chance to be OK, the battery charger is engaged (green LED ON).
    The charge operation can last up to three hours, depending the type of battery.
    - If the green LED flash, the battery must be dead. Discard it.
    - If the green LED goes OFF in few minutes, the battery could be dead.
      Check if the battery is warm. If not the charger refused to charge it. The battery is dead.
    - If the green LED goes OFF after at least 1 hour (black battery) or 2 hours or more (yellow battery), go back to the point 1


External iRobot battery charger modifications - manual


In order to test the Roomba 4xx series battery, it is needed a battery tester.
The ultimate goal is to design an automatic gadget, but first some experiments are needed.
More articles will follow.

The test battery project, uses different components.
The most important is the battery charger.
Instead to design one from the scratch, I decided to use the external iRobot charger model 02004, out of production for some time now but still available on eBay and modify it.


Battery charger 


As usual, before any modifications ...

CAUTION !
The modifications make void any guarantee and are potentially dangerous !

If you are not sure about what you are doing, DON'T DO IT !

There are some advantages to use it.
  • the battery charger circuit is already done
  • it provides mechanical support for the battery 
  • it provides an optimal electrical connection to the battery

However it is not perfect. It was designed mainly for the traditional NiCd batteries, not the NiMh (APS - yellow ones).
It can charge them but it requires TWO charges (see the 02004 technical description by G. Plews )

Anyway, the first thing to do is to modify it in order to be able to connect the battery to the dis-charger and the voltmeter.

Battery charge modifications


The idea is to bring out the battery connectors, in order to connect the battery to the charger or to the dis-charger and the voltmeter.
To open the unit, there are 6 screws on the bottom, 4 of them hidden under the rubber pads. 
Once removed the screws the upper half of the charger separates from the base.
The electronics is anchored to the base.



There are two set of wires going in the upper shell.
Two wires are for the LED, and three wires are for the battery.
The three wires are the negative (black wire), the positive (red wire) and the thermistor feedback (blue wire).

To "bring out" the battery connections, I used a 4 pins audio connector (Radio Shack mod. 274-0002).
The choice of the connector was mostly due to what I was able to find to the local Radio Shack, it is enough for testing manually the batteries, for an automatic way more signals are needed to be brought  out.
The maximum current involved is less than 5 A, so this connector is perfect for the usage.

Pins usage :
  1. + from battery
  2. - from battery
  3. - from charger
  4. + from charger
The plug used with this connector is the Radio Shack mod. 274-0001.


The idea is to disconnect the 3 wires going to the electronic below, from the PCB with the micro-switches (only  the positive and negative connections) and connect them to the connector.




The charger with the connector.
With this modification I can now connect the battery to the charger, putting together the battery wires with the charger wires, or connect the battery to a dis-charger.


In the picture the battery is connected to the charger manually.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wordhunt


This is a silly subject but maybe it can be useful to someone.
I was tired to spend hours to check the wordhunt homework of my daughter, so  I developed a simple program capable to scan the puzzle and find a specific word.

In this way it is quick and easier to see if a word really exist in the puzzle.


The WordHunt

The WordHunt is basically a matrix containing letters.
The purpose of the "game" is to find words embedded in the puzzle.
The words can be read in any direction, i.e. starting from left to right, or right to left, or up to down, down to up or diagonally in any direction.
Words can be find using letters used for other words,in other words, a letter in the matrix can belong to more than a single searched word.

Usually the wordhunt puzzle consist in the matrix and in a series of word to "hunt".
The purpose is to mark the found words in the matrix.

The program 

The program is quite simple and straightforward.
First you have to load the matrix.
To do so you can do manually or create an ASCII  file containing it.

Then the program (only text mode) will display the puzzle and it will wait for a word to search.



The search for the word will include all the directions, letter by letter.

When the first letter is found, the program explore all the adjacent letters, in all directions (up, down, left, right, diagonal left  up and down, diagonal right up and down).
If the second letter is found, the program store the direction found and continue on that direction to compare the searching word.

If the word is found the matrix is printed with the found letters among brackets.
In the example below, the word "gusto" found in the puzzle, from right to left.

The xword.txt file

To simplify the introduction of the puzzle, the program is looking for an ASCII file  called xword.txt containing the puzzle.
Any line starting with the character # is a comment and thus ignored by the program.

Here an example :

# Crossword Word hunt - Science Sept 20 homework
# Sept 2008

# The first valid line indicate the number of rows
# The second valid line indicate the number of columns
# An empty line must be present after the number of columns
# After that, each line contains a valid crossword row - no spaces allowed
#
# Renomine or copy this file as xword.txt to use it
#
11
14

LGEPOREXMQPCMA
CBASEXUALAMINO
YXCCVTKMEIOSIS
TMISUGARZMLLUO
OQDDAERYMGENES
PROKARYOTICYNO
LYXEIQOTTUUCZM
ABYPROTEINLMYT
SWGWREIEBEEGMT
MTEYWJCELLSEES
HJNUCLEUSETBSR

The first valid line (i.e. not a comment or empty) contains the number of rows, the second valid line the number of columns.

Then an empty line must be present and then the puzzle itself must be loaded.

Notes

The programs accepts some commands.


  • h
    Help
  • f
    force the program to load the xword.txt file

To finish the program, just press Enter instead a searching word.

The code



/*
 *  Word Hunter
 *  This program is looking in a word hunter crossword for some words.
 *  Programmer : SB - Sept 2008
 */

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

#define MAXLENWORD  100
#define NOCHARMASK  0xFFFF

#define RF_READROW 0 /* Read file status - Acquire number of rows */
#define RF_READCOL 1 /* Read file status - Acquire number of columns */
#define RF_READCRW 2 /* Read file status - Read crossword */
#define RF_FINISH 3 /* Read file status - Finish */

/*
 *  Global variables
 */
unsigned char *xword_matrix; /* Pointer for the cross word matrix */
int Limit_X = 10; /* Limit for the X position of the Matrix */
int Limit_Y = 10; /* Limit for the Y position of the Matrix */
int Foundword[MAXLENWORD]; /* Array to store the sequence of address for the found word */
int Direction; /* The variable contains the direction of the word found 
                                         *
                                         *    1 -> letter found - direction left diagonal up    (X-1 / Y-1)
                                         *    2 -> letter found - direction up                  (X-1 / Y  )
                                         *    3 -> letter found - direction right diagonal up   (X-1 / Y+1)
                                         *    4 -> letter found - direction left                (X   / Y-1)
                                         *    5 -> letter found - direction right               (X   / Y+1)
                                         *    6 -> letter found - direction left diagonal down  (X+1 / Y-1) 
                                         *    7 -> letter found - direction down                (X+1 / Y  )
                                         *    8 -> letter found - direction right diagonal down (X+1 / y+1)
                                         */
/*
 *  Function prototypes 
 */

void init_matrix();
void load_matrix();
void display_matrix(char *);
int search_matrix(char *);
char search_letter(char, int *, int *);
char search_direction(char *, char, int, int);
char check_coordinates(char, int, int);
char set_coordinates(char, int *, int *);
int prepare_address(int, int);
void initFoundword();
void reorderFoundword();

/*
 *  The program has some line input.
 *  ./wh f
 *
 *  If the 'f' parameter exists, then a file named xword.txt is searched and if found read it.
 *  The file is structured in this way :
 *  - # in the first column indicate a comment
 *  - The first valid row contains the number of rows
 *  - The second valid row contains the number of columns
 *  - the rest of the file will contains the crossword, each line is a row
 *
 */
int main(int argc, char * *argv)
{
   int i;
   int sx, sy = 0;
   char buffer[80];
   char ch, isSearch;
   FILE *xword_fp;
   char buf81[81];
   char stateReadFile = RF_READROW;

   /*
    *  Inputselection is a flag that indicate where the crossword is coming :
    *   0 = local input
    *   1 = file
    *   2 = leave init crossword
    */
   char inputSelection = 0;

   if(argc > 1)
   {
      if((*argv[1] == 'f') || (*argv[1] == 'F'))
         inputSelection = 1;

      if((*argv[1] == 'h') || (*argv[1] == 'H'))
      {
         printf("\n\nCWHS - Crossword Word Hunting Solver\n");
         printf("------------------------------------\n\n");
         printf("This program allow to search in a crossword, if a word exist. \n");
         printf("The crossword can be loaded manually or using a file named xword.txt in  \n");
         printf("the same directory of this program. \n");
         printf("To load the file, digit ./cwhs f    \n");
         printf("To exit from the program, just press Enter at the search word request.\n");
         printf("Pay attention to use for the search the same letter case present in the crossword. \n\n");

         exit(0);
      }
   }

   printf("\n\nCWHS - Crossword Word Hunting Solver\n");
   printf("------------------------------------\n");
   printf("(digit ./cwhs h  for help)\n\n");

   initFoundword();         /* Initialize found word array */

   if(inputSelection == 0)
   {
      printf("Input how many rows : ");
      scanf("%d", &Limit_X);
      printf("Set %d num rows\n", Limit_X);

      printf("Input how many columns : ");
      scanf("%d", &Limit_Y);
      printf("Set %d num columns\n", Limit_Y);

      xword_matrix = malloc(Limit_X * Limit_Y * sizeof(char *));

      init_matrix();   
      display_matrix("->manual<-");
      load_matrix();
   } 
   else if(inputSelection == 1)
   {
      /* Read file "xword.txt" */
      printf("Reading file xword.txt in order to load the crossword\n");
      if((xword_fp = (fopen("xword.txt", "r"))) == (FILE *) NULL)
      {
         printf("Could not open xword.txt\n");
         exit(0);
      }

      while(fgets(buf81, 80, xword_fp))              /* Read chars from file    */
      {
         if(buf81[0] == '#')
            continue;

         switch(stateReadFile)
         {
            case RF_READROW: /* Acquire number of rows */
               sscanf(buf81, "%d", &Limit_X);
               printf("Set %d num rows\n", Limit_X);
               stateReadFile++;
               break;

            case RF_READCOL: /* Acquire number of columns */
               sscanf(buf81, "%d", &Limit_Y);
               printf("Set %d num columns\n", Limit_Y);
               stateReadFile++;
               break;
        
            case RF_READCRW: /* Allocate crossword */
               xword_matrix = malloc(Limit_X * Limit_Y * sizeof(char *));

               init_matrix();   
/*             display_matrix();  */
               stateReadFile++;
               sx = 0;
               sy = 0;
               break;
        
            case RF_FINISH: /* Load crossword, a row at a time */
               for(sy=0; sy< Limit_Y; sy++)
               {
                  xword_matrix[sx * Limit_Y + sy] = buf81[sy];
               }
               sx++;
               break;

            default:
               printf("ERROR reading file !!");
               exit();
               break;
         }
      }

      fclose(xword_fp);
      printf("Downloading Completed!\n");
      printf("Here the matrix loaded\n");
      display_matrix("-");
   }

   isSearch = 1;
   while(isSearch)
   {
      printf("\nStart search ! Input the word to find : ");
      /* Read in single line from "stdin": */
      for( i = 0; (i < 80) &&  ((ch = getchar()) != EOF) 
                           && (ch != '\n'); i++ )
         buffer[i] = (char)ch;
      buffer[i]=0;

      if(i==0 && ch=='\n')
         isSearch = 0;
      else
         if(search_matrix(buffer))
            display_matrix(buffer);
   }

   free(xword_matrix);
   printf("\nBye\n\n");
}

/*
 *  init_matrix
 *  This function create and initialize a matrix for the crossword letters
 *  The limits are loaded before
 */
void init_matrix()
{
   int x,y;
   char letter = 'A';

   for(x=0; x< Limit_X; x++)
   {
      for(y=0; y< Limit_Y; y++)
      {
         xword_matrix[x * Limit_Y + y] = letter;
      }

      letter++;
   }
}

/*
 *  load_matrix
 *  This function create and load a matrix with the crossword letters
 *  The limits are loaded before
 */
void load_matrix()
{
   int i,x,y,ch;
   unsigned char valid_input = 0;
   char buffer[81];

   printf("\n Input the word hunt crossword, one row at time\n");

   /*
    *  Flush STDIN
    */

   while((ch = getchar()) != EOF && ch != '\n')
      continue;

   for(x=0; x< Limit_X; x++)
   {
      valid_input = 0;

      do
      {
         printf("Input row n. %d : ", x);
         /* Read in single line from "stdin": */
         for( i = 0; (i < 80) &&  ((ch = getchar()) != EOF) 
                              && (ch != '\n'); i++ )
            buffer[i] = (char)ch;

         if(i == 0 && ch == '\n') /* If no input, keep the matrix row */
         {
            for(y=0; y< Limit_Y; y++)
            {
               buffer[y] = xword_matrix[x * Limit_Y + y];
            }
            valid_input = 1;
            break;
         }

         if(i != Limit_Y)
            printf("\n\nATTENTION ! The number of characters introduced are different than %d !\n", Limit_Y);
         else
            valid_input = 1;

         if(i > Limit_Y)
         {
            printf("The extra character will be ignored !\n");
            valid_input = 1;
         }
         if(i < Limit_Y)
            printf("Not enough characters ! Do it again !\n");
      } while(!valid_input);

      for(y=0; y< Limit_Y; y++)
      {
         xword_matrix[x * Limit_Y + y] = buffer[y];
      }
      printf("\n");
   }      
}

/*
 *  display_matrix
 *  This function print out the matrix with the crossword letters
 *  The limits are loaded before
 */
void display_matrix(char *searchname)
{
   int x,y;
   int address;
   int found_index = 0;
   int display_found = 0;

   printf("\n\n------Display Matrix [%s]------\n\n", searchname);

   reorderFoundword();

   /*
    *  Print the Colum title
    */
   printf("Column  ");
   for(y=0; y< Limit_Y; y++)
      printf("%02d ", y);
   printf("\n");

   printf("----------");
   for(y=0; y< Limit_Y; y++)
      printf("---", y);
   printf("\n");

   /*
    *  Print the matrix and the row title
    */

   for(x=0; x< Limit_X; x++)
   {
      printf("Row %02d -", x);

      for(y=0; y< Limit_Y; y++)
      {
         address = prepare_address(x,y);  /* Calculate the address of the letter to display */

         if(Foundword[found_index] != NOCHARMASK &&
            address == Foundword[found_index])
         {
            printf("[%c]", xword_matrix[address]);
            if(found_index < MAXLENWORD)
               found_index++;
         }
         else
            printf(" %c ", xword_matrix[address]);

      }
      printf(" \n");
   }
}

/*
 *  The function search if the input word is present in the matrix
 *  Return 0 if the word is not found, 1 if the word is found
 */
int search_matrix(char *word)
{
   int retfunz = 0;
   int mtx_x, mtx_y;
   int fnd_x, fnd_y;
   int fnd_index = 0;
   int statesearch = 0;
   char ch;
   char dirflag = 0xff;

   /*
    *  Search the first letter of the word in the matrix
    *  Initialize the coordinates
    */
   mtx_x = 0; /* Coordinates for the matrix search */
   mtx_y = 0;
   fnd_x = 0; /* Coordinates for the word search */
   fnd_y = 0;

   initFoundword(); /* Initialize found word array */
   
   do
   {
      switch(statesearch)
      {
         case 0:  /* Search the first letter */
            ch = word[0];
/*          printf("Looking for first letter of [%s] [%c] starting from %d,%d\n", word, ch, mtx_x, mtx_y); */
            if(search_letter(ch, &mtx_x, &mtx_y))
            {
/*             printf("Found first letter of [%s] at %d,%d\n", word, mtx_x, mtx_y); */
               dirflag = 0xFF; /* Enable all the possible direction */
               Foundword[0] = prepare_address(mtx_x, mtx_y);
               statesearch = 1;
            }
            else
            {
               statesearch = 99; /* Force endsearch ! */
               initFoundword();         /* Erase found word array */
               printf("The word [%s] is not in the crossword\n", word);
            }
            break;

         case 1:  /* Search the second letter and direction */
            ch = word[1];
/*          printf("Looking for second letter of [%s][%c] around %d,%d\n", word, ch, mtx_x, mtx_y); */

            fnd_x = mtx_x;
            fnd_y = mtx_y;

            Direction =  search_direction(&dirflag, ch, fnd_x, fnd_y);
            fnd_index = 1; /* Start from the second letter for the search if the test is successful */
            statesearch = 2; /* Assume second letter is found. If not, default force back */

            switch(Direction)
            {
                case 1: /* left diag up */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at left diag up\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x01;
                   break;
                case 2: /* up  */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at up\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x02;
                   break;
                case 3: /* right diag up */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at right diag up\n", ch);  */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x04;
                   break;
                case 4: /* left */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at left\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x08;
                   break;
                case 5: /* right */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at right\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x10;
                   break;
                case 6: /* left diag down */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at left diag down\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x20;
                   break;
                case 7: /* down */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at down\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x40;
                   break;
               case 8: /* right diag down */
/*                 printf("Letter %c found at right diag down\n", ch); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   dirflag &= ~0x80;
                   break;
               default:
/*                 printf("Letter %c not found around %d, %d\n", ch, fnd_x, fnd_y); */  /* Diagnostic print */
                   /*
                    *  Second letter not found !
                    *  Return to the state 0 and continue to search for the first letter starting
                    *  from the last coordinates
                    */
                   statesearch = 0;

                   mtx_y++; /* Update to the next character */
                   if(mtx_y > Limit_Y-1)
                   {
                      mtx_x++;
                      mtx_y = 0;
                      if(mtx_x > Limit_X-1)
                         statesearch = 99;
                   } 
                   break;
            }
            break;

         case 2: /* Check for other letters following the direction */
            /*
             *  Update the found coordinates to the second letter using the found direction
             *  and re-check
             */
            if(set_coordinates(Direction, &fnd_x, &fnd_y))
            {
               if(check_coordinates(word[fnd_index], fnd_x, fnd_y))
               {
                  /*
                   *  Letter found - pass to the next following the same direction
                   */
                  Foundword[fnd_index] = prepare_address(fnd_x, fnd_y);
                  fnd_index++;
                  if(fnd_index == strlen(word))
                  {
                     printf("Word [%s] found in the crossword ! \n", word);
                     retfunz=1;
                     statesearch = 99;
                  }
               }
               else
               {
                  /*
                   *  Letter not found ! Abort the word search and go back to direction search
                   *  Return to the state 1 and continue to search for the second letter starting
                   *  from the last coordinates
                   */
                  statesearch = 1;
               }
            }
            else
            {
               /*
                *  Coordinates over the limits ! Abort the word search and go back to matrix search
                *  Return to the state 0 and continue to search for the first letter starting
                *  from the last coordinates
                */
               statesearch = 1;
            }
            break;
      }
   } while(statesearch != 99);
   return(retfunz);
}

/*
 *  Search letter
 *  Starting from a specific coordinates (X and Y) the function is looking for
 *  the input letter in the matrix
 *  The function return the found letter or 0 if the letter is not present
 *  The coordinates are updated as weel to the found letter
 */
char search_letter(char letter, int *inp_x, int *inp_y)
{
   int x,y;

   y=*(inp_y);

   for(x=*(inp_x); x< Limit_X; x++)
   {
      for(;y< Limit_Y; y++)
      {
         if(xword_matrix[x * Limit_Y + y] == letter)
         {
            *(inp_x) = x;
            *(inp_y) = y;
            return(letter);
         }
      }
      y=0;
   }
   return(0);
}

/*
 *  Search direction
 *  Starting from a specific coordinates (X and Y) the function is looking for
 *  the input letter in the box around the coordinates.
 *  The function return :
 *    0 -> no letter found around the coordinates
 *    1 -> letter found - direction left diagonal up    (X-1 / Y-1)
 *    2 -> letter found - direction up                  (X-1 / Y  )
 *    3 -> letter found - direction right diagonal up   (X-1 / Y+1)
 *    4 -> letter found - direction left                (X   / Y-1)
 *    5 -> letter found - direction right               (X   / Y+1)
 *    6 -> letter found - direction left diagonal down  (X+1 / Y-1) 
 *    7 -> letter found - direction down                (X+1 / Y  )
 *    8 -> letter found - direction right diagonal down (X+1 / y+1)
 *
 *  The function uses a byte (bit setting) to allow a direction.
 *  This is needed for multiple research
 *  The flagdir has this format :
 *    xxxxxxxx
 *    ||||||||__ direction 1  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    |||||||__ direction 2  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    ||||||__ direction 3  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    |||||__ direction 4  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    ||||__ direction 5  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    |||__ direction 6  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    ||__ direction 7  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 *    |__ direction 8  (0 ignore - 1 allow)
 */
char search_direction(char *dirflag, char letter, int x, int y)
{
   int address;
   char flagdir = *(dirflag);

   /* Check for left diagonal up */
   if((flagdir & 0x01) && (x > 0 && y > 0))
   {
      address = (x-1) * Limit_Y + (y-1);
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(1); /* Found left diagonal up ! */
   }      

   /* Check for up */
   if((flagdir & 0x02) && (x > 0))
   {
      address = (x-1) * Limit_Y + y;
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(2); /* Found up ! */
   }      

   /* Check for right diagonal up */
   if((flagdir & 0x04) && (x > 0 && y < Limit_Y))
   {
      address = (x-1) * Limit_Y + (y+1);
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(3); /* Found right diagonal up ! */
   }      

   /* Check for left */
   if((flagdir & 0x08) && (y > 0))
   {
      address = x * Limit_Y + (y-1);
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(4); /* Found left ! */
   }      

   /* Check for right */
   if((flagdir & 0x10) && (y < Limit_Y))
   {
      address = x * Limit_Y + (y+1);
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(5); /* Found right ! */
   }      

   /* Check for left diagonal down */
   if((flagdir & 0x20) && (x < Limit_X && y > 0))
   {
      address = (x+1) * Limit_Y + (y-1);
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(6); /* Found left diagonal down ! */
   }      

   /* Check for down */
   if((flagdir & 0x40) && (x < Limit_X))
   {
      address = (x+1) * Limit_Y + y;
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(7); /* Found down ! */
   }      

   /* Check for right diagonal down */
   if((flagdir & 0x80) && (x < Limit_X && y < Limit_Y))
   {
      address = (x+1) * Limit_Y + (y+1);
      if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
         return(8); /* Found right diagonal down ! */
   }      

   return(0);
}

/*
 *  check_coordinates
 *  The function check if a letter exist at specific coordinates
 *  The function return :
 *    0 -> no letter founda at the coordinates
 *    1 -> letter found
 */
char check_coordinates(char letter, int x, int y)
{
   int address;

   address = prepare_address(x,y);

/*   printf("Check_coordinates [%d,%d] - input letter : [%c] - found letter : [%c]\n",
           x,y, letter, xword_matrix[address]);  */  /* Diagnostic print */

   if(xword_matrix[address] == letter)
      return(1); /* Found letter */
   else
      return(0);
}

/*
 *  set_coordinates
 *  The function calculate a new set of coordinates giving a starting X,Y and a direction.
 *  The function return :
 *    0 -> impossible to calculate coordinates (es. reach limits)
 *    1 -> coordinates calculated
 */
char set_coordinates(char direction, int *inp_x, int *inp_y)
{
   int x,y;

   x=*(inp_x);
   y=*(inp_y);

/* printf("set_coordinates - Input [%d:%d] ", x,y); */  /* Diagnostic print */

   switch(direction)
   {
      case 1: /* left diag up - X-1 / Y-1 */
         x--;
         y--;
         break;
      case 2: /* up - X-1 / Y  */
         x--;
         break;
      case 3: /* right diag up - X-1 / Y+1 */
         x--;
         y++;
         break;
      case 4: /* left  - X / Y-1 */
         y--;
         break;
      case 5: /* right - X / Y+1 */
         y++;
         break;
      case 6: /* left diag down - X+1 / Y-1 */
         x++;
         y--;
         break;
      case 7: /* down - X+1 / Y */
         x++;
         break;
      case 8: /* right diag down - X+1 / Y+1 */
         x++;
         y++;
         break;
      default:
/*       printf("Direction not allowed !\n");  */  /* Diagnostic print */
         return(0);
         break;
   }

   /*
    *  Check for Limits !
    */
   if((x >=0 && x< Limit_X) && (y >=0 && y< Limit_Y))
   {
/*    printf(" Output [%d:%d]\n", x,y); */  /* Diagnostic print */

      *(inp_x) = x;
      *(inp_y) = y;
      return(1);
   }
   else
   {
      printf("Output out of limits\n");
      return(0); /* Out of limits ! */
   }
}    

/*
 *  prepare_address
 *  The function return the address of a letter giving the X and Y
 */
int prepare_address(int x, int y)
{
   return(x * Limit_Y + y);
}

/*
 *  Initialize Foundword array
 */
void initFoundword()
{
   int i;
   for(i=0; i<MAXLENWORD; i++)        /* Erase found word array */
      Foundword[i]=NOCHARMASK;
   Direction = 0;
}

/*
 *  reorder_foundword
 *  The function reorder the foundword array considering the direction
 *  The Funword array always contains the found wourd sequence in the alphabetical order.
 *  The display_matrix function, prints out the matrix starting from the top left corner
 *  to the lower right corner, row by row.
 *  So to correctly display the found word, the Foundword array needs to contain the 
 *  found word in the display order and not alphabetical order.
 */
void reorderFoundword()
{
   int temparray[MAXLENWORD];
   int foundword_len = 0;
   int i;

   for(i=0; i<MAXLENWORD; i++)        /* Erase temp array and count length found word*/
   {
      temparray[i]=NOCHARMASK;
      if(Foundword[i] != NOCHARMASK)
         foundword_len++;
   }

   printf("Word %d character length\n", foundword_len);

/* printf("Show Foundword before reorder \n");
   for(i=0; i<MAXLENWORD; i++)
      if(Foundword[i] != NOCHARMASK)
         printf("%d ",Foundword[i]);
   printf("\n"); */  /* Diagnostic print */

   switch(Direction)
   {
      case 1: /* left diag up - X-1 / Y-1 */
         printf("Word in diagonal from right to left - up\n");
         break;
      case 2: /* up - X-1 / Y  */
         printf("Word in vertical, first letter down \n");
         break;
      case 3: /* right diag up - X-1 / Y+1 */
         printf("Word in diagonal from left to right - up\n");
         break;
      case 4: /* left  - X / Y-1 */
         printf("Word in horizontal from right to left\n");
         break;
      case 5: /* right - X / Y+1 */
         printf("Word in horizontal from left to right\n");
         break;
      case 6: /* left diag down - X+1 / Y-1 */
         printf("Word in diagonal from right to left - down \n");
         break;
      case 7: /* down - X+1 / Y */
         printf("Word in vertical - first letter up \n");
         break;
      case 8: /* right diag down - X+1 / Y+1 */
         printf("Word in diagonal from left to right - down \n");
         break;
   }

   printf("\n");

   /*
    *  If the direction is compatible with the display, get out
    */
   if(Direction == 5 || Direction == 6 || Direction == 7 || Direction == 8)
      return;

   foundword_len--;

   switch(Direction)
   {
      case 1: /* left diag up - X-1 / Y-1 */
      case 2: /* up - X-1 / Y  */
      case 3: /* right diag up - X-1 / Y+1 */
      case 4: /* left  - X / Y-1 */
         for(i=0; i<MAXLENWORD; i++)
         {
            temparray[i]=Foundword[foundword_len];
            foundword_len--;
            if(foundword_len < 0)
               break;
         }
         break;
   }

   for(i=0; i<100; i++)        /* Restore reordered array */
   {
      Foundword[i] = temparray[i];
   }

/* printf("Show Found word after  reorder \n");
   for(i=0; i<MAXLENWORD; i++)
      if(Foundword[i] != NOCHARMASK)
         printf("%d ",Foundword[i]);
   printf("\n"); */  /* Diagnostic print */

   return;
}


The program was tested and used in a Linux machine (Ubuntu 8.04).
Save it in a file (like wh.c) and compile it with gcc (gcc wh.c).
If somebody will expand it/improve it I would like to have a copy :)

Problems/Improvements


The program is only in text, not in graphic mode.
No spaces are allowed in the searching word.
No upper/case conversion is provided. The searched word MUST be based on the letters present in the puzzle.
So if the puzzle contains lower case letters, all the possible searched words must be in lower case.
The maximum length of a searched word is 100.