The explorer kit provides the perfect interface between your Rover 5 2WD chassis and your micro-controller with all the hardware you need so you can start programming right away.
It features 2 FET H bridges rated at 4A with current sensing , 5V and 3.3V
regulators for Powering Micro Controllers and Sensors and a Servo power supply to
power small Servos (for a Pan&Tilt Set up for example).
In addition it includes 4x IR Analog Sensors in the corners, a Charge Circuit for NiMh and NiCd batteries and support for the Rover 5 (2WD) Encoders.
The Explorer PCB includes 4A Motor Controllers with Encoder Support, onboard +5V and +3.3V regulators, 4x IR Sensors and NiMH/NiCd Battery charger.
Spacers and Mounting Holes are in place that can fit multiple controllers (Arduino, Arduino MEGA) and Breadboards (not included).
The Pan&Tilt Mechanism and IR Compound Eye shown in the picture are Optionally Available.
The Explorer PCB provides 4 different voltage levels for powering your robot.
Motor Control Circuitry
The built in motor control circuitry consist of 2x FET “H” bridges. Each motor control circuit can drive a motor forwards or backwards as well as controlling the speed of the motor using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).
The motor control circuits each have a maximum continuous rating of 4A and a
current sensing circuit that gives an output of approximately 1V per amp. This
output can be monitored using a processors analog to digital (ADC) inputs to
determine how much load the motor is under and if the motor has stalled.
Each motor is controlled by two digital pins. The Direction pin changes the direction of the motor between forward and reverse. The PWM Speed pin controls the speed of the motor.
If your Rover 5 chassis includes encoders then the encoder can be read from the encoder socket. The encoders are powered from the PCB so you only need to read the outputs A and B. Swapping the connections to A and B will reverse the encoders sense of direction.
The output of the encoders consist of 2 square waves that are 90 degrees out of phase. The pattern generated by these outputs can be used to measure speed, direction and distance travelled. A tutorial on how to use these encoders can be found here: http://letsmakerobots.com/node/2403.
Infrared Corner Sensors
The explored PCB includes 4 infrared (IR) sensors on the corners which can be
used to detect objects or edges depending on the orientation of the sensors.
These sensors are numbered 1 to 4 for easy identification. Each sensor consist of an IR LED and an IR phototransistor. Because you cannot see IR with your eyes a small green LED is connected to each IR LED so you can see when it is on.
To get the maximum range from these sensors, the IR LED and IR phototransistor must be parallel to each other. If you aim the IR LED and phototransistor downward then they can be used to detect the edge of a table or the top of the stairs. Aim the sensors outward for object detection.
These sensors can be used with analog or digital inputs and are intended for indoor / night use only (not under direct sunlight)
V1 and V2
Power rails V1 and V2 are typically connected to the servo power (5.4V) allowing servos to plug directly into the PCB. These power rails can be disconnected from the 5.4V supply by removing the jumpers on J9 and J18. They can then be connected to the other voltages using J21 and J22.
When the power switch is in the “Off” position the battery is internally
connected to a simple trickle charge circuit. When power is connected to the
battery charging socket the orange LED will light up.
The Rover 5 includes a 6x AA battery Holder. If you use NiCd or NiMH Rechargeable batteries, these can be recharged by connecting a 9V power supply to the recharge socket.
! WARNING: The recharge
circuit is designed for NiCd and NiMh batteries only! Do not use
with Lithium Ion (LiPo) Batteries or others that may require a
specialized charging circuit.
Attempting to use the recharge circuit with a LiPo battery may result in severe damage to the battery and the equipment.
Feature List and Compatibility: