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PowerBoard

As most robots do, ours also need power. Over the years and many iterations, we reached an even newer design, in an attempt to create an idiot proof power supply board for use in RoboCup scenarios. The board generates two power domains. A 5V domain which can be loaded at 10A max and a voltage domain in the magnitude of the battery voltage attached (6V to 25V). Many safety measures are implemented. In most cases the power supply board prevents the attached electronics from failure by monitoring an electronic system state and cutting the power in case of failure.

We are happy to provide you with the schematics and software of our power supply board, which we made available at http://www.github.com/fumanoids/powerboard.

Features

Voltage Domains

This board generates two power domains. A 5V domain which can be loaded at 10A max and a voltage domain in the magnitude of the battery voltage attached (6V to 25V). The power supply board is an attempt to create an idiot proof power supply board for use in RoboCup scenarios.

Many safety measures are implemented.  In most cases the power supply board prevents the attached electronics from
failure by monitoring an electronic system state and cutting the power in case of failure.

Processor

An ARM CorexM0 processor is integrated in the board to monitor the voltages (with mV accuracy) and currents (with cA Accuracy) and reports the system state to any other hardware. The software on the processor can be changed easily and even on-chip-debugged. The processor communicates via a 3.3V serial interface (UART) and can be configured for use in multiple enviroments. With the communication some behavior can be triggered like switching the robot off or configuring thresholds where the power shall be cut off automatically.

For the documentation/manuals of the processors please consider visiting the manufacturers homepage (http://www.st.com/).

The processor communicates via a 3.3V to 5V serial interface (UART) and can be configured for use in multiple enviroments. If you use our servo and sensor board Erolf, you can just plug it in here.

User Buttons / Switches

Two buttons and a switch can be connected to the board in order to turn the power on, to turn the power off and to power off the battery voltage domain. The power on and off buttons need to be pressed for a very brief moment and overrule any software decision (power on powers on; power off powers off!). The off switch for the battery voltage domain overrules any software setting,  too. This can be used to shut down the servo motors, for example. The processor distributes information about the state of the switch to attached systems.

To connect the buttons and the switch four wires are needed: A ground wire goes to every button / switch and another goes back to the board. The wire going back does not carry any defined voltage or load. Treat those signals as high ohmic. A drop in the resistance to ground acts as “pressed”. This feature leads to robustness if a wire is broken and touches another electronic part.