9 Apr 2003
(updated 9 Apr 2003 at 04:51 UTC) »
Well, here is my first diary post. I would like to first
explain a little about what I am working on.
I am currently working with my first
"Zept02" to modify and improve upon. I
just recently expanded the I/O interfaces to a breadboard
mounted on it's back for R and D. The main processor is a
Parallax Basic Stamp 2sx, mounted on a custom made PCB with
a voltage monitor & regulating circuit, as well as
relays and connectors. The voltage monitor is a cmos 555
timer configured with independent trigger and threshold
circuits for the voltage level detector, and the output is
fed into a regulator circuit, which controls the outputs to
the various components. This is used to correctly maintain
the Ni-cad batteries used for the assembly. Which is done
by putting the processor into sleep mode and disconnecting
the SSC from the power source. With the use of this circuit
the robot will not walk until it's fully charged again. It
recharges itself by searching out the highest light source
to charge the batteries with a solar panel array. Because
Solar Cells can only produce approximately 10-20% rated
with average room illuminescense, it has a charge circuit
that uses a dual charge pump for low light levels. It can
take more then a week to fully charge indoors.
Power Ratings - Batteries: 4 (2x2)
(7.2V 2.4Ah); Current: 1.6A walking, 4-20mA idle
(depending on accessories, charge pump for solar panels
draws aprox. 8-10mA), 20-25uA sleeping; Charging: external
jack input regulated for 9-15V, and 12(6x2) 3V @ 40mA
photovoltaic panels (Solar Cells) connected to a dual
charge pump witch produces about 8.6V 40-50mA in average
room illuminescense (100W lamp @ 4-5 feet, actual values
vary some); Weight: 4.7
lbs fully loaded, capable of lifting approximately 5.5 lbs
Here is what I have planned next:
I just recently ordered several
test a new multi-processor design I am creating. As well as
a good supply of other misc components and hardware. While
I am waiting to pay off my AMEX card and save up for the
next purchase, I will be working on communication designs.
The new design will incorporate various
serial communications with a base unit as well as other
devices. I am developing this for the next walking robot.
The idea is to have the robots interact with each other, as
well as communicate with a central stationary system.
(Laptop) I am planning to build several small modules for
both IR and RF serial communications.
After I can build and test a few of
modules I will start working on the next couple of walking
robots. The plan is (pending funds) to build at least 4
walking robots that can interact with each other. The
actual hardware design is still in the drawings and not set
to plan yet. But I am planning to try out a few different
hardware designs for the new robots.
I started this new project based on an
article about an MIT award recipient,
and his design for a
swarm of tiny rovers that interact with each other, as well
as other related articles.
Hope I can find the time for all this