Friday, August 23, 2013

Robot Explorer Log 3 First Assembly

The rough and approximate design of the interplanetary robot explorer. Note, a second processor chip (Propeller chip) is setting on the top second breadboard, and a possible third is awaiting the design outcome. Various parts are scattered around waiting for positional tryout.

Still undecided is the exact battery pack position for the heater. It's believed engineering polymer will line the top and hold a total of four breadboards. One breadboard may mount in the front for sensors. Also note, the wheels are not completed nor in place.

What is seen is the wheel base plate. These final wheels will have drive mobility and traction on ice, slippery "oil" type surfaces and frozen slush conditions. Where is this robot explorer going? Stay tuned and find out!

Work continues at a rapid pace. As things are designed, the physical locations are tried on the mock robot. Last night, the pins filled up on the Propeller chip! A total of 32 pins were loaded with functions and sensors and more GPIO were needed. So the inevitable happened, a second Parallax Propeller chip was added to the board for 32 more pins.

We're standing by with a third chip. It's possible this one could have a small neural net with more cores for a higher level of decision making. The BIg Brain will create a high level of autonomy although the intelligence level is unknown at this time.

Two Pings are shown for navigation, and one pyroelectric infrared device will be adapted for the life sciences section. Programming will be unique as the robot will position itself which will determine the Ping positions.

A small parallel interface is designed to handle the chip-to-chip communications and the robot now has two radio channels that will allow it to phone home. A small truth table was completed and the command roster was created.

R&D continues with ongoing atmospheric studies, and a number of open studies regarding sensors, navigation, radio, power, and temperature.

The sensors and functions were apportioned, and this left eight pins free on each chip. The extra sensors and functions, with the extra prop chip, called for another two breadboards. However, when sizing up space requirements for added sensors, it was clear the top carriage required four breadboards.

There is a move to place the battery power chamber at mid level along with a frontal breadboard to hold forward and ground viewing sensors. This will require moving the front spacers back about half inch.

The decision was made to have three power supplies and go with four AA batteries at 6-volts to drive the heater. Already we're we have our eye on a more powerful dynamo to deliver a more hefty charge.

Photos so far just show positioning of parts which are temp only. Note the green propeller and dynamo is robbed from the spinning quadcopter project. The position of the Windmill is being tested at the center of the chassis but this negates the 4-cell power supply position. More work on this is needed.