Sharp IR Servo Plug Tip

This post is really a tip rather than a tutorial. Within it I will demonstrate how I prepare sensors and components such as Sharp IR's to be compatible with the ServoBot Shield. Essentially all that's really going on here is the fitting of servo plugs so that whatever component can easily be plugged into the shield, and then removed again if necessary. I think that this is a really useful way of being able to connect sensors so that they can be changed  as I see fit whilst also ensuring that the connections are secure. ...more

The ServoBot Shield

Last month I published a post detailing the construction of a power harness for my servo based robots Ratchet and Clank. The harness is used to connect one of two battery sources to either an Arduino or a simple power distribution board (PDB). The PDB, much like its qauadcopter equivalent, is a simple board that is used to distribute power across each attached servo, whilst also breaking out each their signal lines so that they can easily be connected to the Arduino. During the publication of that post I began thinking; why have a separate board with all those wires? Why-not just put together a simple shield that does the same thing in a more compact manner? After toying around for a while with the idea I came up the design for my very first ever shield, The ServoBot Shield. ...more

The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification

[one_half]For those of you not in the know: "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" is the second episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Within the episode one of the main protagonists (and my personal favourite),[/one_half] [one_half_last]Sheldon Cooper works out that he won't live long enough to download his consciousness into a robot body, and by way of result he then attempts to extend his lifespan by changing his diet and then developing the Mobile Virtual Presence Device (MVPD, fig 1).[/one_half_last] ...more

Ratchet & Clank – Power Harness

Today my attention turned towards a means of providing power for my servo based 3D printed robots, Ratchet & Clank. In order to achieve this I first off defined a list of requirements that any potential solution must fulfil: Separate power sources for both the servos and Arduino. Can be turned on via a single switch. Can power at least six servos. Luckily the circuit turned out to be dead easy. All I needed to do was tie together both of the ground wires coming from the battery and then wire them to the switch. The switch then provides the ground source for to two male servo plugs. Each plug is also connected to one of each of the positive lines. ...more

Ratchet & Clank – 3D Printable Robot Kit

Way back in 2011 I built my first ever robot Sheldon. I always liked his overall look, so a while back (2012) decided to use his overarching style and structure as basis for a 3D printable robot kit. However as with so many of my projects back then, development was put on the back burner whilst I finished my PhD. The idea behind the kit's design is to be an easily extend-able platform that can be utilised to provide basis for many and varied robot builds. ...more

Building a Calibrated Tilt Compensated Compass with the LSM303

The LSM303 Breakout is a nice little compass module that consists of a triple axis accelerometer and a triple axis magnetometer. When used together this combination of sensors allows the LSM303 to perform 6D orientation detection and provide all the data needed to calculate a tilt-compensated heading. This post introduces an Arduino sketch that allows both calibration of the LSM303 and the saving of calibration data to the arduino's EEPROM. This data can then be recalled to configure the LSM303 for use at a later date. ...more

Playing with the ArduIMU+ V3

The ArduIMU V3 is an Inertial Measure Unit (IMU) plus an Arduino compatible processor that can run Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) code much like the Sparkfun 9DOF AHRS board. The hardware consists of a 3 axis accelerometer and three gyro sensors, dual power regulator (3.3v and 5v), GPS port, an Atmega328@16mhz and a lot of status LED's. The best thing about it is unlike the Sparkfun board, this one has additional analog and digital pins so that you can add additional sensors and inputs. ...more

The 3DR Power Distribution Board & Assembly

A  Power Distribution Board (PDB) is a simple circuit board who's function is to distribute the power from a battery to the four Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC's) that are used to power each of a quadcopter's motors. For my quad build Penny, I opted for a PDB made by 3DR. My rationale for this decision is that unlike other PDB's the 3DR board design includes connection heads for each of the ESC's servo headers ultimately resulting in a single plug connection that can be used to connect the ESC's to the main control board (in my case an Ardupilot Mega 2.5) and also one which can be used to power it too. ...more

Project Penny – My First Quadcopter

Ever since I first saw a quadcopter a few years ago I wanted to have a go at building one. So slowly over the last year I have been collecting all the parts, with the idea that following the completion of my PhD, I would treat myself to putting one together.This week (with some much appreciated help) I finally got around to getting my first quad build aka Project Penny finished and off the ground. ...more