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The ends of the Roverbot must be supported by swivel casters. Use a two-inch-diameter ball-bearing swivel caster, available at the hardware store. Attach the caster by marking holes for drilling on the bottom of the left and right mending plate. You can use the baseplate of the caster as a drilling guide. Attach the casters using 8/32 by 1/2-inch bolts and 8/32 nuts (see Fig. 21.7). You may need to add a few washers between the caster baseplate and the mending plate to bring the caster level with the drive wheels (the prototype used a 5/16-inch spacer). Do the same for the opposite caster. If you use different motors or drive wheels, you ll probably need to choose a different size caster to match. Otherwise, the four wheels may not touch the ground all at once as
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326 BUILD A ROVERBOT
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FIGURE 21.4 One of the drive motors, with wheel, attached to the base of the Roverbot. Motor gearbox (pre-tapped holes) 21/2" x 3/8" Corner angle iron
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x 1/2" bolt Frame
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End view FIGURE 21.5 Hardware detail for the motor mount. Cut the angle iron, if necessary, to accommodate the motor.
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BATTERIES 327
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1/ "-20 4
Motor
Fender washer
Wheel FIGURE 21.6 Hardware detail for attaching the wheels to the motor shafts. The wheels can be secured by threading the shaft and using 1/4-inch 20 hardware, as shown, or secured to the shaft using a setscrew or collar.
they should. Before purchasing the casters, mount the motors and drive wheels, then measure the distance from the bottom of the mending plate to the ground. Buy casters to match. Again, add washers to increase the depth, if necessary.
Batteries
Each of the drive motors in the Roverbot consumes one-half amp (500 mA) of continuous current with a moderate load. The batteries chosen for the robot, then, need to easily deliver two amps for a reasonable length of time, say one or two hours of continuous use of the motors. A set of high-capacity Ni-Cads would fit the bill. But the Roverbot is designed so that subsystems can be added to it. Those subsystems haven t been planned yet, so it s impossible to know how much current they will consume. The best approach to take is to overspecify the batteries, allowing for more current than is probably necessary. Six- and eight-amp-hour lead-acid batteries are somewhat common on the surplus market. As it happens, six or eight amps are about the capacity that would handle intermittent use of the drive motors. (The various electronic subsystems, such as an on-board computer and alarm sensors, should use their own battery.) These heavy-duty batteries are typically
328 BUILD A ROVERBOT
1/ " 2
x 8/32 stove bolt
Plate Spacer washers (as needed) Tooth lockwasher Nut Caster
FIGURE 21.7 Adding the casters to the Roverbot. There is one caster on each end, and both must match the depth of the drive wheels (a little short is even better). a. Hardware detail; b. Caster mounted on mending plate.
available in six-volt packs, so two are required to supply the 12 volts needed by the motors. Supplementary power, for some of the linear ICs, like op amps, can come from separate batteries, such as a Ni-Cad pack. A set of C Ni-Cads don t take up much room, but it s a good idea to leave space for them now, instead of redesigning the robot later on to accommodate them. The main batteries are rechargeable, so they don t need to be immediately accessible in order to be replaced. But you ll want to use a mounting system that allows you to remove the batteries should the need arise. The clamps shown in Fig. 21.8 allow such accessibility. The clamps are made from 1 1/4-inch wide galvanized mending plate, bent to match the contours of the battery. Rubber weather strip is used on the inside of the clamp to hold the battery firmly in place. The batteries are positioned off to either side of the drive wheel axis, as shown in Fig. 21.9. This arrangement maintains the center of gravity to the inside center of the robot.
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