Month: January 2013

Tank Control Board Update

I’m making progress on the next major subsystem for my tank project. Before Christmas, I had ordered the RobotEQ VDC2450 DC Motor Controller. It finally came in last week, and I can say I am really pleased: this thing is a beast. The VDC2450 supports two channels up to 150A each (!!!!!). It also features RC, Serial, Digital, and Analog inputs. It has all types of built-in monitoring (all accessible via the serial interface), and a whole mess of other insane features.

I decided to splurge on this controller ($545 + Shipping) because I would like to be able to reuse this in future projects. Also, its way more capable then what is probably necessary for the tank, so I shouldn’t have to worry about burning it up (I might add some additional fans near the control board just to get some air moving across the heatsinks). The only gotcha so far is that the serial interface is RS232 only, so I ordered some MAX3232s to be able to interface with the Arduino.

Progress on the main control panel for my tank. Showing the RobotEQ Dual Channel ESC.

Progress on the main control panel for my tank. Showing the RobotEQ Dual Channel ESC.

In this picture, you can see the main power distribution components in addition to the VDC2450. The main breaker is 100A and feeds a MAXI style fuse block I picked up off Amazon.

Also in the works as part of the control panel is the “power supply” that I’ve been working on. It’s really a hybrid power supply/power distribution board. It features a 5V DC-DC switching regulator to power the 5V systems on the tank. It also has fused and switched 24V outputs to power other tank subsystems (e.g. Fan Controller, eMarker Solenoid, etc.). One of the main reasons building this board was to add a few safety features. The VDC2450 will be powered through this board, in order to allow the controller to be “turned off” without disconnecting it from the main power. The eMarker Solenoid will be powered similarly to allow the eMarker to be disarmed.

The 5V buck regulator should be able to drive ~3A or so, which should be more then enough.

Eagle Layout for Power Supply

Eagle Layout for Power Supply


Shakepoko – Episode 1

A few weeks ago, my Shapeoko hardware kit that I ordered from the fine folks at Instructables arrived. My life has been a bit crazy lately, but I’ve managed to make pretty significant progress on getting this bad-larry up and running. I ordered the stepper motors from SparkFun. I need a few more major components, including a CNC controller. I’m pretty sure that I am going to go with the TinyG. I’ll also need a 24V power supply, and a spindle of course. I’d also like to get an enclosure to mount all the electronics in, and a big red E-Stop switch just to make everything look extra badass.


When I get around to it, I intend on making some replacement belt anchors. The default design is pretty weak.




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