Romi 32U4 Control Board
The Romi 32U4 Control Board turns the Romi chassis into a programmable robot based on the Arduino-compatible ATmega32U4 MCU. Its features include integrated dual motor drivers, a versatile power circuit, and inertial sensors, as well as connections for quadrature encoders and an optional LCD. The board also has the ability to interface with an added Raspberry Pi, making the foundation for a complete Raspberry Pi-controlled Romi robot.
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The Romi 32U4 Control Board is designed to be assembled with a Romi chassis to create a capable integrated robot platform that can easily be programmed and customized.
Like our A-Star 32U4 programmable controllers, the Romi 32U4 Control Board is built around a USB-enabled ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller from Microchip (formerly Atmel), and it ships preloaded with an Arduino-compatible bootloader. The control board features two H-bridge motor drivers and is designed to connect to a Romi Encoder Pair Kit (available separately) to allow closed-loop motor control. It also includes a powerful 5 V switching step-down regulator that can supply up to 2 A continuously, along with a versatile power switching and distribution circuit. A 3-axis accelerometer and gyro enable a Romi 32U4 robot to make inertial measurements, estimate its orientation, and detect external forces. Three on-board pushbuttons offer a convenient interface for user input, while indicator LEDs, a buzzer, and a connector for an optional LCD allow the robot to provide feedback.
The Romi 32U4 Control Board can be used either as a standalone control solution or as a base for a more powerful Raspberry Pi controller. Its on-board connector and mounting holes allow a compatible Raspberry Pi (Model B+ or newer, including Pi 3 Model B+ and Model A+) to plug directly into the control board. Integrated level shifters make it easy to set up I²C communication and interface other signals between the two controllers, and the control board automatically supplies 5 V power to an attached Raspberry Pi. In this setup, the Raspberry Pi can handle the high-level robot control while relying on the Romi 32U4 Control Board for low-level tasks, like running motors, reading encoders, and interfacing with other analog or timing-sensitive devices.
Romi 32U4 Control Board with Raspberry Pi on a Romi chassis.
The I/O lines of both the ATmega32U4 and the Raspberry Pi are broken out to 0.1″-spaced through-holes along the front and rear of the control board, and the board’s power rails are similarly accessible, enabling sensors and other peripherals to easily be connected.
A software add-on is available that makes it easy to program a Romi 32U4 robot from the Arduino environment, and we have Arduino libraries and example sketches to help get you started. A USB A to Micro-B cable (not included) is required for programming.
The Romi 32U4 Control Board ships with all of its surface-mount components populated, and it includes a number of through-hole parts and mounting hardware, as shown in the picture above. Note that assembly (including soldering) is required; please see the user’s guide for assembly instructions.
The Romi chassis itself and other parts required to build a complete Romi 32U4 robot are not included; these are listed below, along with some optional additions.
What you will need
To build a robot with the Romi 32U4 Control Board, you will need a few additional parts:
- a Romi Chassis Kit (this includes motors, wheels, one ball caster, and battery contacts)
- a Romi Encoder Pair Kit
- six AA batteries; The Romi chassis and control board work with both alkaline and NiMH batteries, though we recommend rechargeable NiMH cells
- a USB A to Micro-B cable to connect the robot to your computer for programming and debugging
- tools to help with kit assembly; see the user’s guide for a list of specific tools
You might also consider getting these for your Romi 32U4 robot:
- an 8×2 character LCD
- a compatible Raspberry Pi (Model B+ or newer, including Pi 3 Model B+ and Model A+)
- connectors (headers, jumper wires, etc) for adding those sensors or other peripherals
Other Romi boards, robots, and robot controllers
In addition to the Romi 32U4 Control Board, we have some more basic boards designed to mount onto a Romi chassis:
- The Motor Driver and Power Distribution Board for Romi Chassis includes the same motor drivers and power circuit (including 5 V regulator) as the Romi 32U4 Control Board, but offers you flexibility in choosing and connecting your own microcontroller.
- The Power Distribution Board for Romi Chassis only includes reverse voltage protection and a pushbutton power switch circuit; it is intended to be a convenient way to access the chassis’s battery power and pass it on to the rest of your electronics.
The Romi 32U4 Control Board uses the same microcontroller and includes many of the same features as some of our other programmable robots and controller boards. Consider these alternatives if you want similar electronics on a different chassis:
- The Zumo 32U4 is a smaller tracked robot sized to qualify for Mini Sumo competitions and equipped with appropriate sensors. It is available fully assembled or as a kit.
- The A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller SV with Raspberry Pi Bridge shares most of the same functionality as the Romi 32U4 Control Board, including the ability to interface with a Raspberry Pi, but it is a smaller board with a more general-purpose form factor instead of being designed to work with a specific chassis. It is also available in a lower-voltage LV version.
People often buy this product together with:
|Romi Encoder Pair Kit, 12 CPR, 3.5-18V|
|Romi Chassis Kit - Black|
|8x2 Character LCD - Black Bezel (Parallel Interface)|