Balancing robot first steps

I’m working on a self balancing robot as a coming-into-winter-something-inside-sounds-good project. Today I got it driving about: not balancing, not smart, but still a good milestone.

It’s been a lot of fun due to the different tech involved. The body is laser cut acrylic with finger joints to join the base to the motor plates. The controller is a Arietta 400 MHz ARM9 running Debian. The motors are some cheap DC motors/gearbox/wheel combos from Olimex. The motor controller is a L298. The ‘up’ sensor is a six axis MPU6050 giving gyros and accelerometers.

It’s definitely a v1. I want to redo the frame to be much narrower and taller giving a more ‘upright’ shape. I might build a PCB instead of veroboard to shrink the whole design.

The current hard problem is the supply. I need 5V to drive the USB Wifi adapter so I’m considering changing the 6V 4x AA battery pack for a 7.4 V 2S LiPo. It’s a better size and is a high enough voltage that I can put a 5 V linear regulator and have both the motor and control from the same battery.

Robot main view

Robot main view alternate

Michael Hope
Software Engineer