Arduino Explorer Rover Part 2 – Electronics & Wiring

arduino explorer rover

 

arduino explorer rover

Welcome back to the second part of the ArduRover series! In Arduino Explorer Rover Part 1 – Chassis we built a massive 6WD off-road robot that can handle driving around in rough terrain. In this article, we’ll focus on the electronics – we want loads of sensors, absurdly huge battery and some means of wireless control. Alright, so let’s get right to it!

Hardware

  • ArduRover chassis from Part 1
  • 12 V Lead-acid battery (the bigger the better, mine is 8.5 Ah)
  • Arduino Mega
  • SD card module with SPI interface
  • GPS module with serial interface
  • VC0706 JPEG camera with serial interface
  • 2x 9 g micro servos
  • 2x Pololu VNH5019 motor driver (module, not the shield)
  • ROHM Sensor Evaluation Kit
  • LoRenz shield + SX1278 module
  • Wires and jumper cables to connect everything together

Tools

  • 3D printer (recommended)

3D printed parts

 

Before we get to any wiring though, we need a place to mount all the electronics – preferably inside some water-proof boxes. And to mount those boxes onto the chassis, we’ll need some supporting parts. So, let’s return to the garage and make them. After that, we will need to do some final tweaks to the chassis.

 

Step 6: Supports for mounting electronics

I covered fabricating stuff out of aluminum profiles in much detail in the previous article, so it will be only a brief section in this one. After all, the supports themselves are very simple: they’re made out of the same U profile as the control arms and have two 10mm holes to slide them onto the two central 10mm threaded rods. Here’s a picture of what the supports look like:

arduino explorer rover

Figure 1. The supports for mounting the electronic boxes

And here’s what the supports look like when mounted onto the chassis. They’re secured with an M10 nut from both sides, providing a stable and sturdy platform for the electronics and battery.

arduino explorer rover

Figure 2. The supports mounted onto the frame

You might have noticed I did not include a drawing of the supports. That’s because odds are you will be using a different box to mount the electronics in. For example, the one I used is 105 x 170 x 112 mm, so my supports are 170 mm long and have two 4 mm holes at both ends. You’ll have to improvise here a little bit and adapt the design to suit your own needs. However, I suggest using a box with reasonably high IP code. The IP code is the degree of protection against dust (the first digit) and water (the second digit). For example, my boxes are rated IP65. That means level 6 solid particle protection – dust tight enclosure – and level 5 liquid ingress protection – enclosure is protected against water jets. Unless the robot drowns in a large body of water (or drives into a car wash), I think this will suffice.

arduino explorer rover

Figure 3. The IP65 box I’m using to cover the electronics

 

Jan Gromes
Jan Gromes
Jan is currently studying Electrical Engineering at Brno University of Technology. He has many years of experience building projects using Arduino and other microcontrollers. His special interest lies in mechanical design of robotic systems.

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