Artoo’s First Steps

I received my center foot on Friday and it was the last structural part that I needed to get R2 on all 3 feet. So, my goal for Saturday was to get him running around under his own steam by the end of the day. I still needed to wire in the RoboteQ AX3500 speed controller which controls the drive system.

I added a power strip to the inside of the back mounting plate to connect all the grounds to and set about wiring things up.

Ground Block

I then did some basic tests of the 3500 and noticed something strange. The motor would run for a second then stop for a split second then start again, like it had a slight tremor. Message code on the 3500 status panel flickered from motor direction information to an ‘8’ – which means under or over voltage. I suspect it’s a low battery. I hope it’s not a Vex/RoboteQ incompatibility problem. I suspect I may need to add a second battery dedicated to just controlling the 3500.

I then worked on trying to get the center foot assembled and attached to the frame. But there was a problem, I was missing the pack of hardware. A quick trip to Ace fixed it, but I couldn’t get the exact parts and had to improvise on the standoffs.

Standoffs

Like the outer legs and feet the new foot was a snug and it took some cajoling to get the pivot point to fit.

Now that the center foot/leg was attached I was excited to think I was close to getting him mobile.

Frame and Legs together

However I really shouldn’t have rushed as much as I did. What followed was a bunch of silly mistakes which cost me a lot of time. Luckily no harm was done and I learned a lot in the process.

Even in my haste to get the legs on and the motors hooked up, I’d remembered that I needed to lock the legs somehow. I’m not going to be using the satellite motors to do 2-3-2 at this points, and one of they’re jobs in the design was to lock/hold the legs in place. So I knew I needed to figure something out, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to skip this step just for now. Boy was I wrong!

At the same time I also had the drive wheels in the back of the feet, and they weren’t always touching the floor. I’d also forgotten to reverse the drive wires on one motor.

As you can imagine his first steps were not pretty to say the least and he jerked around because of the RoboteQ battery problem, and his legs went in opposite directions. It was a total shambles. Luckily I didn’t have the camera handy for a photo.

I also needed to tension the drive belts more which meant that I had to partially disassemble the feet again. I’m beginning to realize it’s a major pain to unscrew so many bits just to fix one thing.

After stripping him back down and fixing the problems and locking his legs back in 3 legged mode I gave him another spin and here he is. He’s super fast, but I really do need to figure out the battery/undervoltage problem that makes him stop/start/jerk.

Once I get the RoboteQ speed controller working correctly this thing is going to scream.

Posted by Chris on May 13th, 2007 in Electronics, Feet, RC | No Comments

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