New shipping options

clock May 10, 2013 10:05 by author kimm |

We are using nice fancy aeroplanes to ship around Australia using Australia Posts eParcel network.

plane

This is signed, tracked and fully insured so your parcel is safer. You can also opt to have the postie leave your order in a safe spot if your not home or pick it up from the local post office if its valuable. eParcel also plays nice with PO Boxes, residential addresses and parcel lockers. We are using express eParcel for all small orders as this is the same rate as slower road freight eParcel.

Basically this is a similar service to the previous Express Platinum service but cheaper.

We are also still using 3 & 5kg express satchels for some larger orders if you choose. These are also quick but not signed delivery or insured for much. They work out a lot cheaper for some orders.



Need your Rover 5 to do some roving?

clock April 23, 2013 10:19 by author kimm |

We’ve just got the Rover 5 explorer from Dagu designed for the Rover 5 2WD chassis. Looking a bit like something you jam in a PC case this PCB has lots of stuff on board to make it really quick to get your Rover 5 doing some roving about. With space for an Arduino Uno or Mega, this board features dual 4A motor drivers, voltage regulators and plugs and spaces for servos, motor, sensor and battery connections.

Dagu Rover 5 Explorer Rover 5 2WD with Explorer board and extrasRover 5 with explorer PCB underneath


New Products for April

clock April 18, 2013 08:49 by author kimm |

 

A bunch of new stuff has arrived! Here’s a few of the highlights.

Dagu Doodle Bot

Dagu Doodle Bot

The Dagu Doodle Bot is a fun little robot for beginners or as a base for something more. I’d like to see it turned into a twitter bot writing out tweets.

 

L298 Motor Driver Board

Yet another motor driver board using the ever popular L298 chip. This one features optical isolation of the logic circuitry to avoid interference, a nice big on board voltage regulator and pluggable terminal blocks. It also has sensing resistors to enable current limiting of the driver outputs. Giant heat sink included.

 

Arduino Red Board by SparkFun

Fully compatible with the Arduino Uno shields and the Arduino IDE the RedBoard by SparkFun is a great alternative. I plugged this one in, the drivers installed themselves (Windows 8) and it was ready to go. Built to SparkFuns usual high quality.

Micro Magician V2

The second iteration of Dagu’s Micro Magician now features the ATmega328P processor so it has more space for programing. Fully compatible with the Arduino IDE, this is feature packed robot controller and is a very quick way to get a robot up and running. Being able to just plug in servo’s and motors makes it sooooo much easier!

Dagu micro magician v2 controller

Some of the features are:

  • Built in dual FET "H" bridge with current limiting, motor stall detection and electronic braking
  • Built regulators for powering external devices
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Built in USB using the CP2102 interface IC
  • Built in 3-axis accelerometer with 0G detection and selectable ±1.5G and ±6G ranges
  • Built in 38KHz IR receiver providing 128 virtual buttons when using the Sony IR protocol
  • and much more…

Plastic Gearmotor

Building a robot? These little plastic gearboxes and matching wheels make for a low cost drive system.

Add some computer vision with CMUCam V4

CMUcam V4 on an Arduino Uno

The latest iteration of the very successful CMUCam V4 is here. This module has a VGA 640x480 colour camera and is specifically designed for robotics and use with small microcontrollers like the Arduino Uno. The onboard processor enables line, shape and colour tracking and communicates over a simple TTL link. This module lets your robot navigate using vision to avoid obstacles or track moving target.



    Good Luck! - 26th Warman Design Competition

    clock April 8, 2013 09:22 by author kimm |

    Another strange spike in orders for similar things means construction for the Warman Design Competition is upon us again. Pitting engineering uni students against each other in a battle of creativity, this years competition looks set for another range of interesting devices. I did vague out while reading the rules and the corny acronym “CROSS” that are staples of the competition each year. Perhaps this is what happened when my own attempt at uni ended in a ‘not built anything in time’ result Sad smile

    The team at Robot Gear would like to wish all participants the best of luck for the competition.

    Good Luck!

    Kim



    Size 130 DC Motor Teardown

    clock April 5, 2013 19:55 by author kimm |

    The little size 130 DC Motor is very common in toys. There must have been billions of these things made to a design that does not seem to have changed in over 30 years. In this teardown we pull it apart to see just what’s inside

    Size 130 DC Toy Motor

     

    The case is steel with what looks like basic zinc? plating to prevent corrosion. Up close it’s clear the finish of the case or plastic is not going to win any prizes. The back is just held on with two little tabs. A bit of a pry with a screwdriver is enough to pull it off.

     

    Back is held on with little tabs

     

    Inside the back are the brushes. These are very simple little bits of flat copper covered in grease. Definitely not high quality sprung carbon brushes found in more expensive motors. These little brushes tend to wear holes through the copper and generate a fair bit of electrical noise and ozone smell when old. It can be tricky to solder to the lugs on the brushes. Unless done very quickly the plastic will start to melt and the brushes will no longer be held in their correct position against the commutator leading to reduced life or instant death. As with most little motors if you do solder to the brushes first be sure everything is very clean, iron is hot and you work fast.

    Very basic copper brushes

    With the armature out we can see the magnets. Definitely no rare earth here!  The split seen in the commutator is what  switches the power as the motor spins turning the constant DC supply into a chopped up alternating current through the coils.

    Back off and commutator out - magnets inside

    Finally all the bits. There isn’t much to most electric motors but these things are really simple.

    All the bits

     

    Summary

    The 130 is a DC motor at the real cheap end of the scale but for a few dollars they are actually pretty good generating lots of speed and a wide operating voltage. They don’t last forever, are a bit flimsy but really really cheap!