Low cost DIY esc

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Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:14 pm

Low cost DIY esc

Post by Max »

Hi everyone,
I'm involved with a robotics club at university, we recently had a little competition where we have teams a kit of parts and they went off and built antweights. We needed to keep the cost as low as reasonably possible so used servo boards as ESCs, Chinese gearmotors, lemon RX's, 2S lipo and a 6V voltage regulator.
We had our competition and everyone had good fun but there was a ridiculous amount of problems with drive and pretty much no one was able to accurately control their robot.
I wanted to see if I could design a simple esc which the teams could solder together themselves and would provide slightly better control. Most of the teams have no experience soldering so all the components would have to be through-hole rather than surface mount. And ideally I'd like to keep the cost to around £6 (the same as a pair of servos) so I imagine it would have to be done on stripboard rather than a custom pcb. My idea was to use something like an L298N motor driver and an ATTiny microcontroller but I wondered if anyone else had any ideas?

Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:37 am
Location: Eastleigh, nr Southampton

Re: Low cost DIY esc

Post by Roboteernat »

Perhaps a look at Arduino connected to a motor driver, a very simple circuit if you just use the arduino bootloaded atmel chip and make i pcb breadboard to motor controller.

Take a look here: https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/348

Then take a look at the motor driver chassis circuit, and design your own driver.
Potentially a bit overkill for the gearmotors used, but a good starting point?

Some projects done: Wirelessly controlled mechanical hand/arm
Short Circuit: Robot Wars Series 6
Antweight robot : in production
Check out http://www.Roboteernat.co.uk for more details

Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:13 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Low cost DIY esc

Post by shakesc »

I have used Baby Orangutan B-328 Controller before with a driver chip

Alternative is modified servo boards
I started out with nothing and still have most of it left

Posts: 1160
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:54 pm

Re: Low cost DIY esc

Post by Rapidrory »

You could do a kit with just a pre-programmed microcontroller, a motor driver chip, a 5v regulator and a few capacitors for less than £6. For that price you could even get some PCBs made up to make the process even easier; I use this company for PCBs these days and they're stupidly cheap as long as you're willing to cut the boards up yourself: http://www.smart-prototyping.com/PCB-Prototyping.html

Sounds like a fun little project which'd help people get more insight into the workings of the controller :)
Rory Mangles - Team Nuts

Robots: Nuts 2 and many more...

NanoTwo Motor Controllers: https://nutsandbots.co.uk/product/nanotwodualesc

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