I’ve made some excellent progress over the last week! The Robot is now independant, and it moves freely. I’ve written a simple shell script to take the following characters as control:
a – left
s – stop
d – right
w – forward
x – back
q – hard stop
k – turn anticlockwise
l – turn clockwise
This sends a single byte to the serial port. I am using 2xUSB to TTL converters which show up as
/dev/ttyUSB0 and /dev/ttyUSB. Each serial port controls two motors through the sabertooth controller. As we control two motors with only a byte, each motor has a 7 bit resolution from full reverse to full forward. For motor 1, 0 is stop, 1 is full forward, 64 is stop, 127 is full reverse. Motor 2 starts at 128 for full forward, 192 for stop, and 255 as full reverse. Although 7 bits of accuracy, speed changes only seem to occur at roughly 4 intervals, so we technically have about 32 different speeds, 14 forward, 2 stop, 14 reverse. We’re only using 3 speeds though as I can’t see the benefit in programming for any more right now.
The movement now seems to be working well. Smooth, controlled and straight which is something of a miracle 😉
The battery is a 12V/7.2Ah sealed lead acid battery. With USB devices active, the board running and the processor 100% active, as well as peripheral fancy LEDs, digital outputs high, wifi active, etc, it uses 12v/800mA.
With all four motors moving at full speed, it uses 12v/6A. Seeing as the motors will be in action for short periods only, I would expect 6h+ battery life.
I have tested the sensors, and they are all working and reporting data except for the top back one which I’m going to have to investigate. Here are some more pictures:
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