vb.net barcode reader source code Recharging the Robot in Software

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17.7 Recharging the Robot
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You ll probably want to recharge the batteries while they are inside the robot. This is no problem as long as you install a connector for the charger terminals on the outside of the robot. When the robot is ready for a charge, connect it to the charger. Ideally, the robot should be turned off during the charge period, or the batteries may never recharge. However, turning off the robot during recharging may not be desirable, as this will end any program currently running in the robot. There are several schemes you can employ that will continue to supply current to the electronics of the robot yet allow the batteries to charge. One way is to use a relay switchout. In this system, the external power plug on your robot consists of four terminals: two for the battery and two for the electronics. When the recharger is plugged in, the batteries are disconnected from the robot. You can use relays to control the changeover or heavy-duty open-circuit jacks and plugs (the ones for audio applications may work). While the batteries are switched out and being recharged, a separate power supply provides power to the robot.
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17.8 Battery Care
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Batteries are rather sturdy little creatures, but you should follow some simple guidelines when using them. You ll find that your batteries will last much longer, and you ll save yourself some money and grief.
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Store new batteries in the fresh food compartment of your refrigerator (not the freezer) and put them in a plastic bag so if they leak they won t contaminate the food. Remove them from the refrigerator for several hours before using them. Avoid using or storing batteries in temperatures above 75 or 80 F. The life of the battery will be severely shortened otherwise. Using a battery above 100 to 125 F causes rapid deterioration.
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Unless you re repairing a misbehaving NiCad, avoid shorting out the terminals of the battery. Besides possibly igniting fumes exhausted by the battery, the sudden and intense current output shortens the life of the cell. Keep rechargeable batteries charged. Make a note when the battery was last charged. Fully discharge NiCads before charging them again. This prevents memory effect. Other rechargeable battery types (nickel metal hydride, rechargeable alkaline, lead-acid, etc.) don t exhibit a memory effect and can be recharged at your convenience. Given the right circumstances all batteries will leak, even the sealed variety. When they are not in use, keep batteries in a safe place where leaked electrolyte will not cause damage. Remove batteries from their holder when they are not being used.
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17.9 Power Distribution
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Now that you know about batteries, you can start using them in your robot designs. The most simple and straightforward arrangement is to use a commercial-made battery holder. Holders are available that contain from two to eight AA, C, or D batteries. The wiring in these holders connects the batteries in series, so a four-cell holder puts out 6 V (1.5 times 4). You attach the leads of the holder (red for positive and black for ground or negative) to the main power supply rail in your robot. If you are using a gel-cell or lead-acid battery, you would follow a similar procedure.
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Flashlight batteries don t deliver extraordinary current, so fuse protection is not required on the most basic robot designs. Gel-cell, lead-acid, and high-capacity NiCad batteries can deliver a most shocking amount of current. In fact, if the leads of the battery accidentally touch each other or there is a short in the circuit, the wires may melt and a fire could erupt.
To Motors, Regulators, etc.
Battery To Robot Subsystems
FIGURE 17-6 How to install a fuse in line with the battery and the robot electronics or motor.
Fuse protection helps eliminate the calamity of a short circuit or power overload in your robot. As illustrated in Fig. 17-6, connect the fuse in line with the positive rail of the battery, as near to the battery as possible. You can purchase fuse holders that connect directly to the wire or that mount on a panel or printed circuit board. Choosing the right value of fuse can be a little tricky, but it is not impossible. It does require that you know how much current your robot draws from the battery during normal and stalled motor operation. You can determine the value of the fuse by adding up the current draw of each separate subsystem, then add 40 to 60 percent contingency for overcurrents above and beyond the measured requirements. These overcurrents usually consist of extra motor draws when the robot first starts moving or encounters an obstacle or hill it must climb over if the motors are stalled, then current draw will be much greater than 50 percent over the nominal operating value, causing the fuse to blow and protecting the robot and its systems. For example, if the two drive motors in a robot draw 2 A each, the main circuit board draws 1 A, and four other small motors each draw 0.5 A (for a total of, perhaps, 2 A). Add all these up and you get 7 A. Installing a fuse with a rating of 7 A at 125 V will probably end up blowing when the robot starts moving or encounters a bump in the carpet. Putting in a 10- to 12-A fuse will give the extra margin to handle extra current draw during normal operation. To help prevent the initial motor current draw, you should use a slow-blow fuse. Otherwise, the fuse will burn out every time one of the heavy-duty motors kicks in. Fuses don t come in every conceivable size. For the sake of standardization, choose the regular 11 4-in-long-by-1 4-in-diameter bus fuses. You ll have an easier job finding fuse holders for them and a greater selection of values. Even with a standard fuse size, there is not much to choose from past 8 A, other than 10, 15, and 20 A. For values over 8 A, you may have to go with ceramic fuses, which are used mainly for microwave ovens and kitchen appliances.
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