Slip ring servo board brackets

I added some support brackets to the slip ring servo boards. Nothing fancy just a small piece of extruded aluminum with a few holes in it.

I made them slightly longer than the boards to allow extra holes for mount.

Posted by Chris on April 27th, 2008 in General | 4 Comments

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Slip Ring Servo Test

I finally got a chance to fully test out my slip ring last night with some servos.

I first had to finish soldering up my little boards that would handle signal routing and power.

Rather than try and explain in words and pictures how the setup works I made this short video to try and give a good overview and show the slip ring in action.

I still need to make little brackets to secure the D sockets to the boards, and decide the best place to locate them in Artoo.

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Posted by Chris on April 25th, 2008 in Body, Dome, Electronics | 2 Comments

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Electrical System Update

The last couple of weeks I’ve been busy getting Artoo back together for a couple of important events. I’ve totally overhauled the electrical system (again) and I’m hoping this will be it for a while.

At the hospital visit on Saturday I ran Artoo for about 4-5 hours on the new system and the 18Ah batteries without any sign of slow down, and I continued to run him again the next day for few more hours on the same charge. I must admit that I didn’t do lots of long sprints, but I’m confident that my earlier battery problems are fixed.

With that said, here’s a summary of the electrical work and the new electrical system design.

The following schematic outlines the 3 main areas of my setup. The red area is the front charging port, flashing LEDs and the battery select/on/off switch. Yellow is the wiring harness/relays that does all the magic of switch batteries between charing mode or running the droid, and finally the blue on the right is the rear electrical panel containing the speed controllers, fuse block, battery monitor, and power distribution board. It also contains an additional relay/power jack to run the drive from 120VAC/12VDC adapter.

There’s also a PDF version that maybe easier for printing.

Here’s a photo of the battery select relay/wiring harness (yellow section of the schematic). It uses 3 automotive relays to do the battery switching for charging and to turn Artoo on and off.

I attached the wiring harness to the battery holder using a small bracket

And here’s the new batteries in place

This is the front charing port (red section on the schematic) you’ve probably seen before. The attaced board to the right is the PICAXE controller that flashes the lights when the front door opens, and the smaller board to the left just contains a 7805 5VDC regular to power the PICAXE. The wiring harness above connects to to the charging socket.

In addition to adding the extra relays to switch two sets of batteries, I replaced the large MAXI fuse block/voltage display with a much smaller ATO fuse block and a separate LED voltage meter display.

I mounted the voltage meter on the rear electrical panel, and instead of using one for each of the batteries I decided to use just one with a switch to flip between batteries. The board requires a separate 5VDC supply to operate and I got this from the power distribution board.

Here’s the new rear panel. Going clockwise, top left is the battery monitor, then the Vex Micro-controller and receiver, below that is the power distribution board, and below that the fuse block, to the left the RoboteQ AX3500 speed controller for the drive motors, and above that the Syren10 speed controller which turn the dome.

I also worked on getting the slip ring soldered up and installed.

And I made up little boards for it to plug into. 12VDC power is connected to the blue terminal block, and the control/servo cables on the 3 pin connectors.

There a very similar board in the dome, but with an additional 5VDC input from a 7805 regulator IC to power the servos.

Posted by Chris on April 21st, 2008 in Electronics | 2 Comments

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Slip Ring Update

I started work on my test slip ring tonight and hope to get it installed in the next few days and report back on a new group order.

The sample slip ring has eighteen 2A circuits and I plan on grouping together 6 or 8 for the +/- 12VDC uplink to the dome, leaving ten circuits for PWM/servo signals. To save on circuits I’m not planning on routing the +/- 5VDC from each of the PWM pairs through the slip ring. As a result each RC channel will require just one wire allocated on the slip ring. I’ll just tap of the 12VDC in the dome and re-create a separate 5VDC supply for the servos.

Out of the box the slip ring wires are loose and really needed protecting.

I bought some braided expandable nylon wire wrap from a local surplus electronics store for less than a dollar.

I wrapped the ends in electrical tape to hold things in place.

Now that I have the wire wrap in place I can start soldering the wires to the connectors.

Here’s an overview video on how I plan to implement the wiring

Posted by Chris on April 14th, 2008 in Dome, Electronics | 4 Comments

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