I originally wanted to design and build all the parts for this robot on a single PCB. I figured that would look nicer. But I’m really glad that I’ve opted for a modular approach to the whole thing. It’s made it so that I can focus on one problem at a time, and it makes it easy to replace and/or reuse components.
Here’s a diagram of all the modules that will eventually be part of the robot. Colour indicates what’s been done so far, and what remains.
I’ve completed building the Motion Controller and Dual Motor Controller boards. They’ll need some firmware changes to support additional boards, but aside from a minor hardware issue on the Motion Controller (which I’ve been able to work around by using other hardware for the testing, these are looking pretty decent!
Prototyped, or in-progress. I’ve built a website that’s currently being served up by the robot itself. That’ll be moved to a terrestrial web server, eventually. The connections between the Pi and the rest of the hardware is now breadboarded. Although it looks hideous with all those jumper wires, it does work nicely. But I need to sort out an issue with the power supply before I can have the PCB manufactured, so it might just be a little while for that. I can live with the ugly wires (for a little while).
What was I thinking?!
I designed the Motion Controller board with support for analog distance measurement sensors and collision switches, as well as lighting control for illumination and hazard lights. What robot would be complete without a whole whack of blinkenlights?