Friday, March 7, 2008

On the road

With a late-night push, the team prevailed in overcoming all odds and finally wiring the rig, mounting our motors and gearboxes, and mounting the wheels. One might think this would be a simple endeavor but tight tolerances in the complex hub assembly have made us work pretty hard to get this thing put together.

Gus has been pulling some insane hours making her handmade PCB to supply houskeeping power to all of our electronics using a number of DC-DC converters. Our GPS, Sensors, signal processing board, and computer conveniently all run off different voltages, so Gus's board will feed each of those.

Kevin and I fine tuned all of our motor controllers such that the input voltage corresponds to a given motor velocity. This process was a little rough, it'll remain to be seen how well we can track a straight line when we start driving tomorrow.

This week Mike has been working on a simulation for our bearing control algorithms. We found that without any yaw-rate sensor we could get stuck in some pretty nasty looping situations where the robot's control system would force it to drive in circles. We ordered a Gyrocube that we'll be using for inertial navigation in conjunction with the GPS once we get that up and running.

Kevin tuning the motor controllers. This unassuming stack of hardware is about $5k worth of motors and controllers

Gus practicing her best coy look while assembling the hubs and gearboxes

Kevin working on the frame to get the wheels on

Gearboxes and bearing seats. Why does everything look sweeter when it's lined up?



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