21 Oct 2001 EdwardRupp   » (Journeyer)

The Front Range Robotics club meet this Saturday, unfortunately the turnout was light, so my new walker didn't have anyone to compete against. Also there was only one other sumo robot for my sumo's to go against, and that one was still having problems. However it was still enjoyable to see fellow robo folks again and exchange ideas. Next Sunday the 28 is the Critter Crunch in Denver. For more info see http://www.milehicon.org/. Some of us plain to be there to see the robots compete and we will be doing a sumo demo, and show our other robots off. I've never been to one of these events before, from what I've been told the competitions there are mostly remotely controlled robots similar to Robot Wars or Battle Bots in nature. Only these bots are much smaller, 20 and 2 pound classes. This event has been going on even before the more famous shows by about ten years. Should be a lot of fun!

Front Range Robotics meets on the third Saturday of the month at the Coffee Connection, on the corner of Drake and Shields, next the Pulse fitness center in Fort Collins, Colorado. Meeting starts at noon and goes tell we can't talk no more! The email list serve is FrontRangeRobotics@yahoogroups.com.

Also at the meeting I showed my prototype SIMM based motor control board. This board I call the kitchen sink motor control board, because it is one very busy board! It has 2 dual H-bridge controllers, 2 16F84 processors and a 7 channel power transistor array. It worked very well for the demo. I had 4 brush motors, 5 servos, a small fan and a bunch of LED's going through a simple test program. The next version I hope to make double sided as the present single sided board has way too many jumper wires!

I finished converting a hobby worm gear kit with a servo motor and controller. It works well, but could use some more work. The walker is moving very nicely now. Speeds up to a smooth run and turns nicely. If it sees something straight ahead or if the bump switches hit something, it will slowly backup and turn on its axis an then speed up going forward again. I'll definitely have to continue my Idea of multiple processors, because just the code to make it walk uses up all the memory of the 16F84. My plan is a dedicated SIMM style sensor board with its own processor, separate boards for a central processor and modify the existing program for a processor board dedicated to only moving the legs.

The center lifting legs motor is very stressed by this design. To keep the motor from burning out I've cut off the back case of the servo. Glued copper strips to the control chip and to the motor case, then use a very tinny fan to help cool the thing! My plan is to continue to work on a worm gear drive and also some linkage system to help reduce the stress on the system.

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