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Actobotics Nomad Project – Part III

From: ServoCity

Servo City

Actobotics Nomad

Onward with the Nomad! Much like the Bogie project, the Nomad is following the same development path. The nice thing about the Nomad is that it can navigate outside, over different terrain very eas- ily. So… we had power and RC capabilities set up. It was time for the Nomad to get its Microcontroller so we added the familiar Arduino UNO Microcontroller, from Robotshop.com, in preparation for the addition of microcontrolled RC capability as well as the addition of sensors and the basis for autonomy. Once the microcontroller was mounted, using the Actobotics Arduino bracket which snaps right onto the Actobotics Channel and into which the Arduino UNO snaps… we got on our FPV sidetrack for a little while.
As one of the long term goals for many of the Editor’s Bench Projects is FPV with telemetry, we decided to fashion an FPV setup that would allow RC control from a remote location so we used the setup we built for the Bogie Project.

The test for the Nomad was to navigate down the driveway and down the road, from a comfortable seat in the living room, while watching where the Nomad was going on the 55” TV! It is REALLY fun to see how good you can drive when you can’t see your robot. In the case of the Nomad and since it was on the road at dusk… I brought it back to the house and strapped a portable LED work light to the front of the Nomad. This allowed us to see better in the failing light and also helped make the Nomad visible so that oncoming traffic might not run it over. Thank goodness I live on a short cul-de-sac road and everyone was already home from work. I was able to navigate in both directions from my house to about two houses down the road with no problem so FPV distance limits have not yet been tested.

Adding the camera brought up two issues for this project as well:
1) Power supply and distribution and 2) designing the FPV connec- tion similar to that of the Bogie so we can avoid the $85 FPV setup
cost for the Nomad by interchanging the FPV from the Bogie.

The Nomad currently runs on a 7.2V NiMH battery, so we had to bor- row an 11.1V battery from another project to power only the camera in the short term. Streamlining this setup will mean moving to higher voltage LiPO batteries and using some sort of voltage regulation to provide proper power flow to each of the robot’s components.

As it happens, we only needed to use mounting base parts for the Nomad since the Camera Bracket was already setup from the Bogie. So for the base unit on the Nomad we again used a combination of TETRIX 739077 Tube Clamp & 739074 80mm Tube while the camera bracket used the familiar 739077 Tube Clamp & 739065 32mm Channel.

The hole pattern differences between the Actobotics parts and the TETRIX parts was overcome by drilling 4 holes in the Nomad’s back cover panel which matched the TETRIX hole pattern and… Voila! Interchangeability.


Project Plan:

Full RC & Autonomous Rover Build with FPV and Telemetry


Full RC Control & FPV Achieved. Arduino UNO mounted.

Next Steps:

Power distribution solution: Motors, RC Receiver, Microcontroller, FPV Camera.

Reader Input:

I will do my utmost to make progress on this project by next issue and report on what’s going on with it… the successes and failures. I sometimes learn more from a failure than from a success so let’s see how much of each we find. If something strikes you about this project… please email me at projects@botmag.com with what you think. I look forward to hearing from you!



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