Rover with Object Avoidance and Remote Control Project by: Bob Mixon, Carmel, Indiana

This project is presented in a series of emails between Bob Mixon and Phase Dock founders Chris and Barbara Lehenbauer. The project continues. You can follow Bob on his blog or watch this space for more.

March 13, 2020

Hi Phase Dock — The robot project I’m working on is large and fairly complex. I like your mounting system so much I just might do a bit of redesign so I can fit a standard size.

In the base is the power, drive, object avoidance and remote control systems; 15,000 oz-in torque, Arduino Mega, Raspberry Pi and Spektrum PWM receiver. The upper sensor boom, not shown in pictures, is operated by a Jetson Nano micro-computer and processes all AI (TensorFlow) video, audio and external sensors.

As you can see, I am using Plexiglas for component placement. This is why I’m interested in using your system. I’d like to be able to unplug the motors and sensors, then pull all the electronics out as a unit. This makes for easier development. This is large and heavy. It’s 18” long, 12” wide and weighs about 25 pounds. So putting this on my bench to work on is getting more and more difficult.

August 14, 2020

Hi Barbara,

I’m finally finding time to get back to my robot.  This is the bottom power distribution and guidance systems. Another Phase Dock will be on top, with standoffs, and control the AI camera and other sensors; running and monitored by a Jatson Nano.

As you can see, I’m starting the wiring of the power and guidance systems now.

Robot power distribution, object avoidance and guidance

August 20, 2020

Hi Chris,

I have purchased some aluminum (red anodized because it looks cool) 2 5/8” standoffs and will use them. For my application, I needed them that long because of the height of components on the bottom board. I’ve tested them and it works for my needs. If you look at the picture I sent (below), in-between the lower left DC converter and the Arduino, you will see the top of one of the red standoffs. I plan on using 8 standoffs. They will be unevenly placed using locations already available in the Phase Dock base; I didn’t want to drill more holes.

When I first started mounting components and assembly, I did notice the components are a bit loose. A really simple solution is to use a small pliable rubber block that forces you to snap the component base to the Phase Dock base. I have some light-weight (aircraft) 5/8” thick rubber sheets that I’m cutting out for this.

Keep up the great work; fantastic products.

If I had a wish, it would be to have a Phase Dock base plate, flat, that’s half the size of your regular base. This way it fits the regular base exactly without overhang. What I have will work, it’s just my OCD kicking in!

August 26, 2020

Hi Barbara,

The regular aluminum standoffs I first used were from McMaster-Carr

I found the red anodized ones on ebay.

The base rover frame is made from Actobotics parts; that the two mounting rails on bottom. The whole assembly is quite sturdy. I’m very pleased with the results.