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Robert
10-09-2009, 02:49 PM
Just a little project put together to test some of the Phidgets products. It's a neat little toy.

Here's the Phidget SBC tank

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20002.jpg

Based off of an old RC Tank, all of the electronics were stripped out, and replaced with phidgets. Powering the tank are a pair of 12v, 9AH batteries (Soon to be replaced with LiPo for weight savings). At the front, a webcam so that you can see where the tank is roaming:

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank.jpg


At the back, a TextLCD so that you can monitor status messages, and battery voltage

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20004.jpg

Inside, there is a low voltage motor controller that controls the position of the turret, and firing of the gun. There's a potentiometer right in the middle of the turret gear so that you can determine the turret's position. You can also see a USB hub in there, connecting all of the phidgets, and other USB devices.

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20005.jpg

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20007.jpg


Up front, we have a high current motor controller running the tank's drive motors, as well as a SSR board (Actually a prototype dual SSR board) controlling the head light. There are two current sensors installed in the front, one monitors current draw by the motors and head light, and the other monitors charge current through the front

of the tank. The two bumpers you see are actually magnets, which allow the tank to drive up to, and attach itself to a charging station. There is also a distance sensor mounted between them.

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20008.jpg


At the heart of the tank, a Phidget SBC. This particular one is an old prototype, hence the green circuit board.

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20009.jpg


At the back, a voltage sensor, some power switches, and status LEDs. The large black box is a wireless relay contol box, allowing us a safety cutoff to the drive motors should the robot ever get out of control.

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20010.jpg


The tank can be driven from a PC with some software, or, with this remote!

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20013.jpg


It may look like a normal RC controller, but inside is another SBC!

http://www.annoyingrob.com/Phidgets/SBC%20Tank/SM_Tank%20014.jpg

Most of the connectors have been de-soldered due to space constraints. The controller is currently running off of a single 9v battery as it's new LiPo battery is on order.

Tell us what you think.

jes1510
10-09-2009, 03:19 PM
Cool project! I do wonder why you used SBC's for this. A couple of cheap microcontrollers would have easily done the job for a significant cost savings.

Alex
10-09-2009, 03:24 PM
Cool project! I do wonder why you used SBC's for this. A couple of cheap microcontrollers would have easily done the job for a significant cost savings.

wouldn't be nearly as cool though:)

sam
10-09-2009, 04:20 PM
Really cool! That tank is really nice, and with the LCD screen, beautiful.

There seems to be a lot of room inside the tank. :)

Adrenalynn
10-09-2009, 05:08 PM
Cool project! I do wonder why you used SBC's for this. A couple of cheap microcontrollers would have easily done the job for a significant cost savings.

The lower-powered microcontrollers would have cost him more. Special-Case-Scenario me-thinks. ;)

Robert
10-09-2009, 05:27 PM
There seems to be a lot of room inside the tank. :)
Agreed. That's why I'm building a smaller one.


The choice for using SBCs was simple, but not so obvious for most of you guys I guess. I work at Phidgets, and have access to lots of product sitting around the shop. The project wasn't about building the smallest, or the cheapest, but was about building with what was available, and to showcase our products to people who stop by.

Adrenalynn
10-09-2009, 05:42 PM
wouldn't be nearly as cool though:)

Cool indeed!

The remote control by itself has more system resources than it took to land men on the moon, so I'd expect this to be doing some pretty awesome stuff when Robert posts video! Full autonomous non-guided mapping and localization over multiple square mile grid should be a no-brainer.

Robert
10-19-2009, 12:58 PM
Full autonomous non-guided mapping and localization over multiple square mile grid should be a no-brainer.
Oh just you wait. I've been working on some software to interface with a little USB GPS unit I had lying around so that I could plot movement