Sunday, March 11, 2007

Starting to look like something!

Assembly of the base didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped for. I ended up having to re-make a few of the parts. I am however happy with the results (but not happy with the amount of time it has taken to get this far). I got all of the parts for the base assembled yesterday. Today I have been working on getting the electronics and wiring installed.

So far I have the motors, motor driver, 5V regulator and the ARM board installed. I added an external RJ45 ethernet jack for the network (the wired net will be just used for development and debugging, will use wireless for the actually running) and an external DB9 port so I can get to the console. I also added 2 switches to the top. One will control the power to the 5V regulator so I can shut off all the electronics and the other will just kill the power to the motors. I plan on running 3 battery packs. A 9.6V RC car battery pack will power the electronics and 2 - 6V packs wired in serial to give 12V will power the motors. I should be able to have plenty of runtime. The time limit on each round of the competition is something like 5 minutes however I am more concerned about long runtimes when doing debugging.

I discovered today that I ordered the wrong connectors to connect to the batteries. Radio Shack sells them (however they are a bit overpriced) so I will pick up a couple tomorrow. I did have one of the right type on hand so I used that to connect the 5V regulator to the battery. None of my batteries are charged right now but I hope to be able to power the ARM up on battery power in the morning. I think I am done for today. Been a long day and I should probably spend some time with my wife before she forgets who I am!

Getting closer to having something that can roam about under it's own power. I thought I would be there by now but keep hitting snags and having to redesign parts. I still think time spent now will pay off in the end.

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