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Author Topic: Need help with motors for balancing robot  (Read 5313 times)

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Offline CanElecTopic starter

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Need help with motors for balancing robot
« on: January 26, 2009, 12:29:04 AM »
After much research, I have figured out everything I need except for the motors.

I am not sure whether to go with a conventional dc motor or a servo.

From what I've seen, most servos come with encoders, which I will probably find useful in a balancing robot, but the servos need to be modified for continuous rotation.

Most of the dc motors I have seen don't come with encoders but some come with a "backshaft" to which I could attach a homemade encoder I guess and use a phototransistor to detect pulses.

This is the site I am ordering from: http://www.robotshop.ca/motors.html

They have a ton of different motors/servos to choose from and I'm a bit overwhelmed.

I'm assuming whatever I get I want it to be geared down maybe 30:1 or 60:1 so that I have ample torque but it can also drive fast enough so that if a big correction is needed, the robot can drive hard in the correction direction. Too high of a gearing and my top speed may not be enough to overcome a large tilt angle.

The website has some "propulsion kits" which look nice but are also quite pricey. The only one that comes with encoders is almost $300.
http://www.robotshop.ca/propulsion-kits.html

Do I need a motor controller? I have built a line follower which uses PWM from a microcontroller through two MOSFETS to drive the motors. I haven't constructed an H bridge so the motors can't turn backwards (not necessary for a line follower), but I can't see it being that much more difficult. So I would think I should be able to make my own motor controller for my balancing robot. I like to do as much as I can myself for the learning aspect of things.

That is all a motor controller really does anyways right? A few MOSFETS and an H bridge to drive the motors in either direction.

Any suggestions comments would be graciously accepted.

Thanks.

Offline cosminprund

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 02:33:39 AM »
After much research, I have figured out everything I need except for the motors.

What gyro / accelerometer have you decided for? I'm just curious...

Quote
From what I've seen, most servos come with encoders, which I will probably find useful in a balancing robot, but the servos need to be modified for continuous rotation.

Servos have an encoder (the pot) that you'll deactivate in the process of modifying them for continuous rotation. So an modified servo is actually an DC moter with built-in motor controller and speed control - but no encoders. They're also not very fast: An "fast" Futaba servo has the equivalent of 111RPM (calculated based on time to rotate 60 degree).

Quote
I'm assuming whatever I get I want it to be geared down maybe 30:1 or 60:1 so that I have ample torque but it can also drive fast enough so that if a big correction is needed, the robot can drive hard in the correction direction. Too high of a gearing and my top speed may not be enough to overcome a large tilt angle.

I'm confused. The websites quote the RPM and the torque for gearhead motors. Is that RPM and torque BEFORE applying the specified reduction? Or is it RPM before reduction and torque after reduction (so the numbers look better  ;D ) ???

Offline cooldog

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 06:12:30 AM »
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Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 06:51:51 AM »
The Devantech RD01 propulsion kit is a complete kit for any robot and it will work with a balancing one. Actually, it uses EMG30 motors that someone from UK was using to build a balancing robot with Arduino and gyro + accelerometer. The motors are great, but they have a bit of backlash that you can hear clicking during balancing. Balancing robots need high precision gear reduction with no backlash. Perhaps a higher speed motor (less gearing) and a toothed belt reduction for the last stage will work best. Also, it is a good idea to get motors with built in encoders. I am having difficulties to build efficient encoders since I don't have a machine shop. Also it is a good idea to get a ready made motor controller/driver. I know it can be self made, but balancing robots need high quality parts. Anything can throw in a little error here and there so the robot doesn't stay balanced well.

EMG30 specifications:

gearbox 30:1
Rated voltage  12v
Rated torque  1.5kg/cm
Rated speed   170rpm
Rated current  530mA
No load speed  216
No load current  150mA
Stall Current   2.5A
Rated output  4.22W
Encoder counts per output shaft turn  360

The specs are for the output shaft (the motor plus gearing box).
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Offline ArcMan

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 03:32:28 PM »
Check out LynxMotion.  I just bought a couple 30:1 DC gearmotors with encoders that fit to the gearmotors for about $40 each total.

Offline CanElecTopic starter

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 05:53:21 PM »
Quote
What gyro / accelerometer have you decided for? I'm just curious...

An ADXL202JE accelerometer (Dual axis 2g) and an SFE single axis gyro, either 75 or 150 degree/second. I would assume 75 deg/sec would give me better resolution on a balancing bot, but I can probably get away with 150 deg/sec, which would then allow me to reuse that gyro later in another application. I'm undecided on this.

Offline CanElecTopic starter

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 05:56:06 PM »
The Devantech RD01 propulsion kit is a complete kit for any robot and it will work with a balancing one. Actually, it uses EMG30 motors that someone from UK was using to build a balancing robot with Arduino and gyro + accelerometer. The motors are great, but they have a bit of backlash that you can hear clicking during balancing. Balancing robots need high precision gear reduction with no backlash. Perhaps a higher speed motor (less gearing) and a toothed belt reduction for the last stage will work best. Also, it is a good idea to get motors with built in encoders. I am having difficulties to build efficient encoders since I don't have a machine shop. Also it is a good idea to get a ready made motor controller/driver. I know it can be self made, but balancing robots need high quality parts. Anything can throw in a little error here and there so the robot doesn't stay balanced well.

EMG30 specifications:

gearbox 30:1
Rated voltage  12v
Rated torque  1.5kg/cm
Rated speed   170rpm
Rated current  530mA
No load speed  216
No load current  150mA
Stall Current   2.5A
Rated output  4.22W
Encoder counts per output shaft turn  360

The specs are for the output shaft (the motor plus gearing box).

I am going to assume that since the EMG30's seem to be a bit better quality than most of the motors for sale on these websites and have noticeable backlash, that pretty much all geared motors for sale on these websites will have comparable backlash. Would that be correct? Or are the EMG30's worse than normal?

Offline CanElecTopic starter

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2009, 06:04:16 PM »
Check out LynxMotion.  I just bought a couple 30:1 DC gearmotors with encoders that fit to the gearmotors for about $40 each total.



I just checked them out. How is the backlash on these motors? Did you buy this encoder to go on the motors? http://www.lynxmotion.com/Product.aspx?productID=448&CategoryID=11

Also, which model of motors did you end up getting? I see a couple of 30:1 DC gearmotors.

Also, how are the planetary motors? I don't see people using them too often for robots. Is there a reason for that?

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2009, 09:26:54 PM »
I've never bought motors from Lynxmotion because I could not aford it yet. So I can't say anything about them.

As for planetary motrs, they are noisy but very powerfull, also need high current motor drivers. They come from drills or electric screw drivers, so the robot will sound like 2 drills running around. This is not what I have in mind for a robot.

The backlash is very important for a balancing robot because a little backlash in the axle makes the top of the robot freely move a few degrees...
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Offline ArcMan

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 12:47:25 PM »
I bought the GHM-03 motors with the QME-01 encoders.  I guess it was actually about $50 for the set, not $40.
I'll check the backlash for you tonight.

Offline ArcMan

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 08:51:58 PM »
The total backlash on the output shaft is 1 degree.  Definitely noticeable, but not any more so than other spur gearmotors that I've used.
I'm sure a high-dollar motor would have less backlash.

Offline CanElecTopic starter

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Re: Need help with motors for balancing robot
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2009, 01:29:21 PM »
1 degree sounds alright. Someone mentioned before that the EMG30's had noticable backlash as well. What is the best motor for a balancing bot in terms of as little backlash as possible.

I think when I looked at David Anderson's nBot, it said he used EMG30's and the videos of it balancing looked alright.

I know I will probably end up going with a motor already mentioned in this thread, but if there is something else out there that is reasonably priced with little backlash, let me know.

A pulley drive would reduce backlash probably better than a high-priced motor, but I don't really want to deal with belt-drive issues. Plus out of all the balancing robots I have seen, I only recall one or two that used belt drive and they were designed by University labs ($$$).

 


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