Tuesday, August 18, 2015

@MAKE #Electronics Experiment 32: Robot Cart

I'm ready to start on this. First step was to gather the materials.  The parts list on page 268 is incomplete, although on p. 276 there's a "you will also need..." See the schematic on p.277 and this blog post by +James Floyd Kelly  (it's on experiment 31, but references shopping for 32). The 50K potentiometer shown in the schematic controls the time the motor runs in reverse before going forward again.
Make: Electronics by Charles Platt, Figure 5-98. p.277 (in the edition I have)

Also, the erratum on p. 277 mentions adding a diode or transistor. I'm going to try a diode (handsonelectronics says diode).

I found that my DPDT relays on hand are not appropriate. Some are latching relays bought for experiment 20, and the other was 12V, so I ordered two 5V DPDT non-latching relays from Amazon.

Charles spends a great deal of time on fabrication and not much on the circuit.  Since I care more about the circuit, and there are some issues with it, I'm going to build that first. I'm going to try to use plastic for fabrication. I have some 12"X12" pieces of ABS, and the shell of a multi-function printer that I tore-down.

Here's the concept:
When switched on, the cart moves forward until one of the microswitches hits something, it cuts power to 555 Trigger Pin 2, causing the the Output Pin 3 to pulse the relay, which then flops, reversing voltage to the motor, which reverses. The timer cycle (determined by 555 Threshold Pin 6 and Discharge Pin 7 as powered by the capacitor/resistor combination along with the Pot). When the cycle ends, the Output Pin 3 goes low and the relay flops back, causing the motor to reverse again (making it go forward).

The time it reverses starts at ~5 seconds (47uf cap*100000Ohm resistor = 47//1000000*100000 = 4.7). The Pot did not make much difference, if any. I thought it did, but it turned out that I had unhooked the 100K resistor. DUH.

I had other DUH moments in this, but I was helped immeasurably but people running into the same problems I did, particularly +James Floyd Kelly .  Thank you James. First, I bought a 5V gearmotor from robotshop .com. I fussed around for way too long trying to figure out how to wire it--then I noticed the two copper tabs on the neck.  Second, I was getting weird buzzing from the relay, and the motor was not reversing. I remember the symptoms from James' blog. My relay had different pinouts from the schematic. There are 8 pins. If you number them 1-8 starting with 1 at upper left and go counter clock-wise, I needed to switch pins 2 and 3 on one side and 7 and 6 on the other.  I could not find a datasheet for this relay, but I had a similar issue once before with another DPDT relay, so I guessed.

Third problem was the diode,  The motor would not reverse, but fortunately I had seen this before (thanks James), so I added the diode across pins 1 and 8 of the relay with the cathode towards pin 8.

I also struggled with wiring the switches.  I tested it with just the switches, power supply, and a meter, and came up with:
555 Trigger Pin 2  to switch1 NO prong, connected to switch 2 NO
Both NC Prongs connected to GND
Both COM prongs (on the side--at least on mine) connected to GND

If neither switch is pressed, current is flowing to the trigger pin through the 10K pull-up resistor making it high and thus the output pin is low. When either switch is pressed, the trigger pin goes low, making the output pin high, and flopping the relay and reversing then motor.  The output pin stays high until the 47uf capacitor dishcarges (4.7sec) to the threshold pin, making it high and setting the output pin back to low, flopping the relay back and the moving the motor in the original direction.

It works.  Here's the video.