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ROVer Robot: Lesson 1f: 2 Strikes and a Home-run! Revisiting Mechanicals & a Command Center Update

I probably needed a bit of procrastination from diving into the Command Center code, so I thought I would try a couple of ideas that have been having over me the past couple of days… unsuccessfully, unfortunately.

The first had to do with the tires. I’ve noticed that the tires may be a bit too soft/squishy for ROVer’s weight and it’s causing him some difficulty first thing in the morning. The easy solution, I think, would be to add some stuffing to the tires and get them firmed-up, but we’ll see.

The other thought has to do with the way in which I’ve got the lower leg assembly setup with the new gears. They don’t seem to be holding the 1/4″ shaft perfectly straight and that misalignment is throwing things off for poor ROVer as well. There’s another type of bearing that I happen to have, so we can give that a shot and see how that affects things.

ROVer Robot: Lesson 1e: Updating the Command Center with ROVer’s new Servo-abilities!

I know, wiring isn’t very exciting, but boy is it stressful (for me)!

Every time I have to rewire something on ROVer I stress-out… the worry being that I’m going to fry or otherwise cause something to fail (or explode). After a few hours of rewiring ROVer’s internals such that the Servo controller board, and the servos as a result, powered via the Relay board, ROVer is ready to get his Lexan shield back on so that he can ride with batteries on-board and laptop far, far away.

All of that was necessary so that we can prepare to test ROVer’s new servo-enabled steering remotely – from the Command Center, web server and using the on-board Android tablet brain. It’s a lot of preparation to do something, but it’ll be worth it in the end 🙂

ROVer Robot: Lesson 1d: Batman Tumbler Time & Fancy Footwork!

Tumbler time!

With ROVer now able to turn, I can’t wait to see ROVer in his Batman “tumbler” orientation – with both the front wheels rotated inward and in front. How cool will that be!?

Now that we have those shinny new gears installed on ROVer’s legs, his servos appear to be plenty powerful; they can handle the turning on their own, but one of the things that I wanted to explore was using the primary motors to “assist” the servos in turning, by rotating the wheels in tandem with the servos as the wheels roll in an arc – into position.

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ROVer Robot: Lesson 1c: Gearing-Down to Power-Up ROVer’s Turning Servo Motors

As you may know, yesterday’s trial of getting ROVer’s turning servo motors working was … less than perfect. They work, but they’re either underpowered or under-geared for their job on ROVer. So… we were either faced with adding more power (more than 12v) or gearing-down the servos to give them more torque.

Fortunately… I happened to already have purchased a set of gears (from 2 years ago) that we could implement and test. Guess what happened!?

ROVer Robot: Lesson 1b: Turning Using Servo Motors and the Arduino UNO

Today is a fun one… we get to work with servo motors!

If you don’t have experience with servos, like me, then you’ll be happy to learn that it couldn’t be simpler… really. It’s little more than one line of code and you’re done. The Sketch (included below) for ROVer includes a bit more than that so that we can control the Relay/switch board, but the servos are controlled with one line of code that instructs them on to what position they should turn, and how fast… and that’s it. Done.

Now if only everything could be this simple! :p

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