Pololu Blog (Page 3)

Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.

Robot contest in Mexico to be held at 14th National Congress of Mechatronics

Posted by Brandon on 15 June 2015


Robot contest in Mexico to be held at 14th National Congress of Mechatronics

A contact at Mexican distributor Cosas de Ingeniería wrote to let us know about a contest he is helping organize in Juriquilla, Querétaro, Mexico. The Mexican Mechatronics Asociation (Asociación Mexicana de Mecatronica A.C.) will be hosting the 14th National Congress of Mechatronics (14º Congreso Nacional de Mecatrónica) 2nd Robotics Competition on October 15th through 17th this year. The three-day event will host several robotic competitions:

  • Autonomous Vehicle Competition (based on the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition)
  • Insect Robot Race (insectoid robots try to be the first to travel 2 m over obstacles and uneven surfaces)
  • Mini-Sumo Competition (autonomous robots, similar to the one pictured above and our Zumo robots, fight to stay in a designated area)
  • Line Following Competition (autonomous robots follow a line-marked course as quickly as they can)

To keep up with the latest news about this competition, see the RoboticaAMM Facebook page, which also has dozens of pictures from the last competition.

Micro metal gearmotors now available with long-life carbon brushes

Posted by Ben on 12 June 2015
Tags: new products

We are excited to introduce new versions of our high-power micro metal gearmotors with long-life carbon brushes in place of the standard precious metal brushes:

Micro metal gearmotor HPCB long-life carbon brushes (left) next to micro metal gearmotor HP precious metal brushes (right).

So far, we only offer these on motors with HP windings, so the brushes being a lot more robust can just move the failure point if you try to push the motors too hard. However, if you use them at around 6 V and keep the continuous load under around 20% of the stall torque, the carbon brushes allow the HPCB motors to last several times longer than HP versions with precious metal brushes.

With the addition of this new HPCB motor variant in ten different gear ratios (10:1 through 1000:1), our selection of popular micro metal gearmotors now spans more than fifty options, giving you control over the motor winding, gearbox, and shaft arrangement:

Motor Type Stall
Current
@ 6 V
No-Load
Speed
@ 6 V
Approximate
Stall Torque
@ 6 V


Single-Shaft
(Gearbox Only)


Dual-Shaft
(Gearbox & Motor)
high-power,
carbon brushes
(HPCB)
1600 mA 3000 RPM 4 oz-in 10:1 HPCB
1000 RPM 9 oz-in 30:1 HPCB
625 RPM 15 oz-in 50:1 HPCB
400 RPM 22 oz-in 75:1 HPCB
320 RPM 30 oz-in 100:1 HPCB
200 RPM 40 oz-in 150:1 HPCB
140 RPM 50 oz-in 210:1 HPCB
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HPCB
100 RPM 70 oz-in 298:1 HPCB
32 RPM 125 oz-in 1000:1 HPCB
high-power
(HP)


(same specs as
HPCB above)
1600 mA 6000 RPM 2 oz-in 5:1 HP
3000 RPM 4 oz-in 10:1 HP 10:1 HP dual-shaft
1000 RPM 9 oz-in 30:1 HP 30:1 HP dual-shaft
625 RPM 15 oz-in 50:1 HP 50:1 HP dual-shaft
400 RPM 22 oz-in 75:1 HP 75:1 HP dual-shaft
320 RPM 30 oz-in 100:1 HP 100:1 HP dual-shaft
200 RPM 40 oz-in 150:1 HP 150:1 HP dual-shaft
140 RPM 50 oz-in 210:1 HP
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HP
100 RPM 70 oz-in 298:1 HP 298:1 HP dual-shaft
32 RPM 125 oz-in 1000:1 HP 1000:1 HP dual-shaft
medium-power
(MP)
700 mA 2200 RPM 3 oz-in 10:1 MP 10:1 MP dual-shaft
730 RPM 8 oz-in 30:1 MP
420 RPM 13 oz-in 50:1 MP
290 RPM 17 oz-in 75:1 MP 75:1 MP dual-shaft
220 RPM 19 oz-in 100:1 MP 100:1 MP dual-shaft
150 RPM 24 oz-in 150:1 MP
75 RPM 46 oz-in 298:1 MP
25 RPM 80 oz-in 1000:1 MP 1000:1 MP dual-shaft
low-power 360 mA 2500 RPM 1 oz-in 5:1
1300 RPM 2 oz-in 10:1
440 RPM 4 oz-in 30:1 30:1 dual-shaft
250 RPM 7 oz-in 50:1 50:1 dual-shaft
170 RPM 9 oz-in 75:1
120 RPM 12 oz-in 100:1 100:1 dual-shaft
85 RPM 17 oz-in 150:1
60 RPM 27 oz-in 210:1
50 RPM 32 oz-in 250:1
45 RPM 40 oz-in 298:1 298:1 dual-shaft
14 RPM 70 oz-in 1000:1 1000:1 dual-shaft

Note: Stalling gearmotors can greatly decrease their lifetimes, occasionally resulting in immediate damage to the gearbox. This is especially true for the higher gear ratios, such as the 298:1 and 1000:1 versions, which can generate enough torque to damage themselves. The stall torque values given for the two 1000:1 motors are theoretical, and we strongly recommend you avoid stalling them. Prolonged stalls (on the order of seconds) can result in thermal damage to the motor windings and brushes, especially for the versions that use high-power (HP) motors.

Bohlebots at the German Open in Robocup Soccer 1v1

Posted by Grant on 9 June 2015
Bohlebots at the German Open in Robocup Soccer 1v1

In March, I wrote a blog post about the Bohlebots robotics team winning the West German Robocup Soccer 1v1. Since then, the Bohlebots team has gone on to win first and third in the German Open Robocup Soccer 1v1 with their two robotics teams.

Bohlebots’ soccer robot.

Good job Bohlebots!

New product: 0.1″ low-profile male LCD header

Posted by Ben on 9 June 2015
Tags: new products
New product: 0.1″ low-profile male LCD header

We are now selling the low-profile 2×7 male LCD header included with the Zumo 32U4 robot kit.

Amanda's line following robot: Newbie

Posted by Amanda on 5 June 2015
Amanda's line following robot: Newbie

Many of the engineers and robot enthusiasts here at Pololu competed in the LVBots 2015 line following competition. (For house rules and details about how the competition was judged, see the LVBots line following rules page.) Unlike most of my peers this was my first competition at LVBots, so I thought it was fitting to name my robot “Newbie”. Newbie uses a servo to steer the front wheels, creating fluid movements in and out of turns. At least that was the plan; unfortunately, Newbie had complications. Continued…

New distributors in Europe

Posted by Paul on 4 June 2015
Tags: distributors

Continuing to catch up on our new distributor introductions, we are excited to welcome these new European distributors:

Transfer Multisort Electronik (TME) is an electronics distributor based in Łódź, Poland, with local offices in six countries around Europe and a catalog of 145,000 products. Their robotics category is now full of Pololu products. Scroll down to the end of this post for a video of their warehouse, including an impressive 23-meter-high automated storage rack.


GoTronic runs an online store with a physical storefront in Blagny, France, near the Belgian border. They have been in business since 1990 and sell all kinds of robotics parts and kits and electronics components. Search for “Pololu” to find wheels, motors, the Zumo Robot Kit for Arduino, Maestros, motor drivers, and more.


OM ELECTRONIQUE is an electronics shop and online store located in Grenoble, France, selling all kinds of electronics items from audio/visual equipment to robotics parts. You can check out their two-page Pololu category.


MCHobby – Microcontroleur Hobby is an online electronics store operating out of Waterloo, Belgium. They have put a huge amount of effort into supporting customers in France and Belgium with detailed French-language documentation for the products they carry. For examples, check out their Zumo page or this DRV8825 carrier tutorial.


Flikto Elektronik distributes our products alongside items from places like Adafruit, Arduino, and Sparkfun. Located in Cologne, Germany, they offer same-day, low-cost shipping throughout Europe, including free shipping within Germany for orders over €50.


Floris.cc is a shop run by Pieter Floris in Breda, Netherlands, distributing all kinds of “electronic thingies”. They are carrying a variety of Pololu products including motors, motor drivers, Maestro servo controllers, and the zumo Robot for Arduino. I noticed that they also offer something I have not seen at other places: a €5.00 soldering service to help people without soldering experience.


SPACE d.o.o. is a hobby shop located on the grounds of the Belgrade Fair complex in Serbia, now carrying Pololu parts including the 3pi and Zumo Robot for Arduino.


MechaDroid is a new electronics and robotics shop in Cham, Switzerland, selling Pololu motors, motor drivers. and more.


Now, here is that cool video of TME’s warehouse:

See the full list of over 200 distributors to find one in your area.

Wixel software now works on the Raspberry Pi

Posted by David on 3 June 2015
Tags: raspberry pi
Wixel software now works on the Raspberry Pi

We have released a new build of the software for our Wixel Programmable USB Wireless Module that works on ARM Linux systems like the Raspberry Pi. This means that you can now upload apps to a Wixel from a Raspberry Pi, without needing a typical desktop computer. You can find the software download in the Wixel User’s Guide.

We have seen people use Wixels to help monitor blood glucose levels, create wireless quiz buttons, or wirelessly control servos. For a complete list of all the Wixel apps we know about, see the Wixel Apps list on our forum. We hope that the expanded software support for the Wixel will help people create new applications in the future.

Wixel programmable USB wireless module.

New product: Breakout Board for microSD Card with 3.3V Regulator and Level Shifters

Posted by Brandon on 29 May 2015
Tags: new products
New product: Breakout Board for microSD Card with 3.3V Regulator and Level Shifters

In September of last year, we started carrying our Breakout Board for microSD Card, which was the first board that I ever designed and routed here at Pololu. It is a simple breakout board that gives direct access to each contact available on a microSD card socket. However, since microSD cards operate at 3.3 V, it can be tricky interfacing them with a 5 V system. To address this, we made a new version with an integrated 3.3 V regulator and level shifters. Even with the extra components (and mounting holes, which the mechanical engineers at here Pololu are always pushing for), the board is still compact, measuring only 0.94″ × 0.9″, and it breaks out all of the contacts from a microSD card socket necessary to interface with the card through its SPI bus mode interface to a single 1×9 row of 0.1″-spaced pins. This allows easy use with breadboards, perfboards, or 0.1″ connectors.

You might recognize the circuit from our A-Star 32U4 Prime controllers, which use essentially the same level shifters to interface a microSD card with an Arduino-compatible ATmeg32U4 microcontroller running at 5 V.

For more information about this breakout board, see its product page.

Grant's line following robot: Pinto

Posted by Grant on 27 May 2015
Grant's line following robot: Pinto

My entry for the LVBots line following competition last month was a rehash of my line following robot from last year, Pinto. Unfortunately, my robot from last year robot never made it to the competition: while trying to get it to work last minute, it literally vibrated itself apart. I did not execute my ideas very well, but I still think my overall plan was not a bad one. Since I still had all the parts, I decided I wanted to revive the robot and try to follow through with my plan. Continued…

Nathan's line following robot: Suckbot

Posted by nathanb on 26 May 2015
Nathan's line following robot: Suckbot

After branching off into maze solving, pushing into sumo, and finding our way through dead reckoning, we circled back and had another line following competition at LVBots. I started designing the Suckbot before the previous line following competition over a year before this one, but the design dragged on and there was no urgent push to get it finished without another competition. The robot is designed to suck itself down to the course so it can go faster. I was able to get it following lines and sucking, and I managed to post some middle-of-the-pack lap times, but there was some unexpected behavior when tuning the PID parameters just before the competition, and I think there’s quite a bit of room for improving the robot’s performance in the future. Continued…

New Products

Hakko CHP-170 5-1/4 in. Micro Flush Cutter
4.4:1 Metal Gearmotor 25Dx48L mm HP 12V
Zumo 32U4 Robot (Assembled with 100:1 HP Motors)
20.4:1 Metal Gearmotor 25Dx50L mm HP 12V
Addressable High-Density RGB 72-LED Strip, 5V, 0.5m (APA102C)
A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller LV with Raspberry Pi Bridge
Pololu Ball Caster with 1″ Plastic Ball
RoboClaw ST 2x45A Motor Controller (V5, screw terminal I/O)
47:1 Metal Gearmotor 25Dx52L mm MP 12V
Pololu Dual MC33926 Motor Driver for Raspberry Pi (Assembled)
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