Mk.2 electronics

Microprocessor: I am using a Freeduino variant of the excellent Arduino microprocessor board. I purchased my Freeduino kit from NKC Electronics. Our club has bought several freeduino’s from NKC, and I would recommend them highly. I chose the 9 pin serial version for compatibility with my handheld GPS unit which has a 9 pin serial connection. In this picture you can see the Freeduino mounted on the robot.

You can also see the terminal strips that allow easy connection to the pins of the microcontroller. Using terminal strips makes it easy to attach sensors, motor controllers, etc. to the robot.

Freeduino on the robot.
Freeduino on the robot.

Power: I am using 2 12v batteries that were meant for use in a UPS. They are wired together to provide a longer run time. So far they are working out great. I have run one motor at full speed for 15 minutes, and barely used any battery power. It only took a minute or two on the charger to bring the batteries back up to full power. Instead of using my current trickle charger to charge the batteries, I plan on using an old battery backup unit. Find an old battery backup (our local computer recycling shops sell them for $10-$15) and extend the battery wires outside of the case for easy access. Battery backup units have intelligent chargers and will properly recharge the batteries I am using. Keep an eye out for “bulged” batteries. Dispose of bulged batteries properly.

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