Building Robot Drive Trains

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This essential title in McGraw-Hill's ROBOT DNA SERIES is just what robotics hobbyists need to build an effective drive train and gain a full understanding of robot locomotion.


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This essential title in McGraw-Hill's ROBOT DNA SERIES is just what robotics hobbyists need to build an effective drive train and gain a full understanding of robot locomotion. All that's required to get things moving are some inexpensive, off-the-shelf parts and this handy guide.

Topics Include :

  • The Basics of Robot Locomotion
  • Motor Types: An Overview
  • Using DC Motors
  • Using RC Servo Motors
  • Using Stepper Motors
  • Motor Mounting
  • and More.....

400 pages
Author: Dennis Clark and Michael Owings
Format: 6" x 9", Soft cover


Table of Contents Introduction

Chapter 1. The basic of robot locomotion

  • Your robot's niche
    • Indoor environments
    • Outdoor environments
    • Coping with terrain challenges
  • DC motors - A short history and explanation
    • How an electric motor works
    • Stepper motors
    • Controlling DC motors
  • DC electric motors and efficiency
    • What is efficiency
  • The special challenges of motorization
    • Moving your power supply - batteries
    • Coping with power supply noise
    • Electromagnetic interference (EMI)
    • Audible noise

Chapter 2. Motor types: An overview

  • Which type of motor is useful for what kind of robot
    • Motors: How they compare
  • The DC motor
    • How does the DC motor work?
    • Sizing a DC motor
    • Using and finding the DC motor
  • The hobby servo
    • How does the hobby servo work?
    • How hobby servos are rated
    • Sizing a hobby servo
    • Finding the hobby servo
  • The stepper motor
    • How does the stepper motor work?
    • How can I tell what kind of stepper motor I have?
    • Sizing a stepper motor
    • Finding and using the stepper motor
  • Determining the power needed to move the robot
    • Finding the power needed by a wheeled platform
    • Finding the power needed by a walking platform
    • Sizing a stepper motor
  • The effect of terrain and debris

Chapter 3. Using DC Motors

  • Motor selection
  • Speed versus torque - plain versus geared motors
    • Gears - fundamentals
    • Gear vocabulary
    • Types of gears
    • Gearheads and gearboxes
    • Backlash
    • Obtaining standalone gearboxes
    • Gearing and efficiency
  • The motor shaft
    • Types of shaft loading
    • Shaft coupling
    • Shafts: standard and strange
  • Other issues - service life, noise, and braking
    • Maximizing motor life
    • Braking
    • Minimizing noise
  • Selecting and purchasing a motor
    • Understanding DC motor data
    • Do-it-yourself current draw and torque testing
    • Other factors to consider

Chapter 4. Using RC servo motors

  • Choosing the right servo to use
    • Hacking a servo for continuous rotation
  • Determining and increasing the hobby servo's power
  • Determining the speed of your hobby servo
  • The strength of a hobby servo
  • Controlling the hobby servo
    • Hardware servo control
    • An alternative futaba S3003 servo hack for fully variable speed control
  • Other RC hobby servo controller options
    • Parallax stamp II controlling a Scott Edwards MiniSSC servo controller
    • Parallax stamp IISX controlling a ferrettronics FT639 controller chip
    • BASCOM/AVR controlling a TTT SSC chip with an Atmel 90S2313 microcontroller
    • One more way to use the RC hobby servo

Chapter 5. Using stepper motors

  • What we're not going to discuss
  • Choosing the right stepper
    • Dynamic torque and other specs you want to see
    • But will it move the robot?
  • Determining stepper motor types and wiring
    • The unipolar stepper motor
    • Unipolar stepper motor step patterns
    • The bipolar stepper motor
    • Did you see that? The big secret behind the step patterns
    • The universal stepper motor
    • One last word on bipolar and unipolar configurations
  • Where to get stepper motors
    • Gleaning stepper motors from printers and disk drives
  • Stepper motor control and driver circuits
    • Discrete unipolar stepper motor control and driver circuits
    • Discrete bipolar stepper motor control and driver circuits
    • Test clock for your stepper controller/driver circuits
    • Single - chip stepper motor driver solutions
    • Special microcontroller-based stepper controllers
  • One last resource

Chapter 6. Mounting motors

  • Balance, symmetry, and alignment
  • Motor brackets
    • Metal mounting brackets
    • A wooden L mounting bracket
    • Other ideas: U-Bolts and hose clamps
    • Fasteners for motor mounts
  • Mounting without a bracket
    • Double-sided foam tape
    • Temporary mounting with hook and loop (velcro)

Chapter 7. Motor control 101, the basics

  • Some electronics conventions we use
  • DC H-bridge drivers: how they work
  • CEMF and clamp (and recirculating) diodes
    • Another problem with CEMF: transients on the power bus
  • A simple low-current h-bridge design
  • A slightly better low-current h-bridge design
    • Parts lists for these two simple h-bridges
  • Single-chip h-bridge integrated solutions
    • 754410 and L293B or L293D dual DC motor drivers
    • L298 dual motor driver
    • LMD18200 single DC motor driver
    • UCN2998 dual DC motor driver
    • UCN3951 DC motor controllers
  • High-current DC motor controllers
    • Commercial high-current h-bridges
    • Do-it-yourself (DIY) high-current DC motor controllers
  • How much current can a wire carry
  • Pulse width modulation (PWM): what it is and how to use it
    • How to use it
    • Sign-magnitude PWM
    • Locked antiphase PWM
    • Which PWM frequency is best?
    • Snubber network: what is it and why use it?
  • Additional stepper motor driver chips
    • A unipolar stepper driver using the ULN2003 and ULN2004
    • A unipolar stepper driver using the UDN2540 and UDN2544
    • A Bipolar Stepper Driver Using the L298
  • Current sensing and over current protection
    • The easiest method of all - the reed switch and coil method
    • Current-sensing transformers
    • In-line (shunt) resistors

Chapter 8. Motor control 201 - closing the loop with feedback

  • Encoders and odometry
  • Building incremental shaft encoders
    • A simple wheel-mounted reflective optical encoder
    • Sensor positioning
    • Improving resolution: an armature shaft-mounted encoder
    • Sensing Direction: a quadrature encoder
    • Another approach: a beam interruption encoders
    • A hall-effect sensor-based encoders
    • Non-driven encoder disks
  • Commercial shaft encoders and analog tachometers
    • Commercial shaft encoders
    • Analog tachometers
  • Using motor feedback: control algorithms
    • An introduction to PID control laws
    • Absolute encoders

Chapter 9. Electronics and microcontroller interfacing

  • First things first: the power supply
    • Using two batteries one for the motors and one for the controller
    • Using one battery for both the motors and the controller
    • Power line conditioning
  • Connecting everything together
    • Wire: how to select a proper wire gauge
    • Connection strategies
  • Interfacing to a microcontroller or computer I/O
    • The buffering interface
    • The isolation interface
    • The serial interface
  • Buffered and serial interfaces examples
    • Stepper and PWM signal generation
    • An OOPic PWM interface example
    • An stamp II and TTT PWM controller to 754410 h-bridge example

Chapter 10. Wheels and tank tracks

  • Wheel diameter, torque, and speed
  • Wheel and track selection
    • Weight and your wheels: what type of wheel to use
    • Terrain conditions and tire or track material
  • Types of wheels and where to get them
    • Radio control (RC) car wheels
    • LEGO wheels
    • Hobby airplane wheels
    • Omnidirectional wheels
    • Wheels made from creative sources
  • Types of tank tracks and where to get them
    • Toys or models with tracks
    • LEGO tank tracks
    • V-belt and pulley tracks
  • The Eternal dilemma: mounting shafts to hubs to wheels
    • The easy one: attaching wheels and hubs to RC servos
    • Attaching hubs and shaft couplers to motors
    • Using a floating drive shaft
    • Mounting and supporting the floating shaft
    • Driving the floating shaft
  • The final results

Chapter 11. Locomotion for multipods

  • Issues working with two or more legs
    • Static versus dynamic balancing
    • Servo shaft support and stresses
  • Simple linkages
    • The RC car ball and cup linkage
    • Z-bends and using RC aircraft servo linkage arms
    • The RC aircraft clevis linkage
    • Power versus speed: choosing linkage locations
  • Common linkage arrangements
    • Piano wire: the common linkage connection
    • Chain links
  • Multiple DOF servo mounting
  • Gaits
    • A two-legged shuffle
    • A four-legged walker, mammal style
    • A six-legged insect
    • An eight-legged spider with synchronized cams
  • Force/tactile feedback
    • The generalized contact switch circuit
    • How to know when the leg has touched down
    • How to know if a leg is blocked

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