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View Full Version : A really clever charging solution



archcvd
03-17-2008, 12:32 PM
I'm sure you all have an electrical kettle at home that resembles something like this:

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000E5IN3.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

The idea is, fixing the base to the wall or something upright and have the kettle end of it click in for charging. You could perhaps adorn the base with some kind of IR beacon so that the bot can easily centre itself onto it. This could be an easy (cheap?) way of hooking up your bot's internal charging module!

Take a look at this guy's implementation (where I found this idea):

http://www.914pcbots.com/documentation/914SuperchargerPowerpack.pdf

Matt
03-17-2008, 04:34 PM
Nice find. My thought with building a recharging dock is that it need to be A) Easy to slip onto B) safe so that no dangerous exposed leads are sticking out. I guess the robot will need to have the male connection so that the wall can be a socket (female).

darkback2
03-18-2008, 10:47 AM
Why does the robot have to be male? I usually think of my robots as female...but thats me. Oh...I've seen copper strips on a wooden or plastic plate. one plate on the wall, the other on the robot. I think I've seen ER-1's with this setup. But in that case there is no socket at all. Press the two plates together and recharge away. If the plates are big enough and far enough apart you don't need to be as accurate in lining up the robot. With the ER-1 video recognition you can have the robot line itself up using a picture when it recognizes a low charge.

Then again, I thought the roomba was self docking and could charge itself. Is that wrong?

DB

Matt
03-18-2008, 10:55 AM
Then again, I thought the roomba was self docking and could charge itself. Is that wrong?


I don't know, maybe you were joking. But yes, it is and can. The higher models that is.

archcvd
03-18-2008, 11:02 AM
Why does the robot have to be male? I usually think of my robots as female...but thats me. Oh...I've seen copper strips on a wooden or plastic plate. one plate on the wall, the other on the robot. I think I've seen ER-1's with this setup. But in that case there is no socket at all. Press the two plates together and recharge away. If the plates are big enough and far enough apart you don't need to be as accurate in lining up the robot. With the ER-1 video recognition you can have the robot line itself up using a picture when it recognizes a low charge.

Then again, I thought the roomba was self docking and could charge itself. Is that wrong?

DB

Well, the main reason I thought it was cool was the safety factor as mentioned by Matt. With this setup there is little chance of something going wrong with the connection and for the hobbyist it could be a cost-effective solution.

Tymtravler
03-18-2008, 01:02 PM
I agree the charging terminals should never be in the open. I built a spring loaded platform that pulls an arm down with two bolts that I use as the terminal. When the robot rolls up on the spring loaded platform it pulls an arm down and turns a switch on to the chargers power, the robot continues forward until it comes in contact with the arm and the charging begins. I also have a red light on top of the platform that let everyone know the power is on. Once the robot is done charging it backs off the platform, the spring pushes up the ramp along with the arm, turns of the charger and the light goes out.

darkback2
03-18-2008, 02:06 PM
I agree the charging terminals should never be in the open. I built a spring loaded platform that pulls an arm down with two bolts that I use as the terminal. When the robot rolls up on the spring loaded platform it pulls an arm down and turns a switch on to the chargers power, the robot continues forward until it comes in contact with the arm and the charging begins. I also have a red light on top of the platform that let everyone know the power is on. Once the robot is done charging it backs off the platform, the spring pushes up the ramp along with the arm, turns of the charger and the light goes out.


could you post pictures? It would be cool to see how you did all of that.

As for safety, I've never actually done it (the plate method...), and given that I don't have kids, I'm not always thinking about safety...except at work...but thats a whole different story. I was just commenting on things that I have seen. That said its really cool that people are thinking of ways to automatically charge robots.

darkback2
03-18-2008, 02:13 PM
http://www.compactech.com/kartoun/articles/html/Kartoun_WAC_2006_Final.htm

Here is the example.

DB

robot maker
09-22-2008, 02:37 AM
here is a page i found on alot of docking designs and beacons it has alot of info
i am making a automatic charging station for charging most batteries,it is automatic design for charging 6 to 24 volt up to 10 amps for 35ah gel cell batteries,it almost design and will post circuit and how to order boards



but for my robots i think will be using bolts that only make contact when the robot comes contact with the home base charger,they stay hidden until the contact,contacts have to be very tight against the plates,another way is to have contact plates under the robot and on the home base charger have a motor driven slide that moves the plates out to make contact with the robot plates,then when finished charging to retract inside the home base,no shorts or contact with any body,
also something else any contact plates can be used ,only thing you need is a relay when the robot makes contact with it and off when robot is finish charged,so there is no danger of someone getting shocked or a short,they is what i added to my design,check out the OAP project for charging design its linux but can be changed for windows ,the chargng circuit is near the end of the page
1 part for charger and 1 for robot,near the same i will be using for mine,it uses safety switches,zero contact voltage till needed
http://oap.sourceforge.net/project.php

Layton
09-22-2008, 03:31 AM
would be nice to having something like the aibo charging dock, maybe you guys can figure out what hardware components are required?