[TriEmbed] Voltage regulation for battery driven mobile robots

Jon Wolfe jonjwolfe at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 20 21:47:41 CST 2014

I have a robot I've been working on and off for the past year or so, I should bring it in to the next meeting, I've been meaning to, but it's pretty fragile, and always with some feature in the middle of development.

Anyways, I went with SLA's for mine, driven by pololu h-bridge PWM'ed. The SLA is bulky and weighs a ton, but it's 4500 mAh, and charging them without bursting into flames is a lot easier.

It's a 6 volt SLA, and I run a Parallax Propeller and Arm cortex-M4, both on 3.3V, a couple parts on 5V, and the motor drivers and LCD backlight on straight battery 6V. I used  LDO (Low drop out) linear regulators for the regulated power. I found that the "logic" part of the circuit barely made the linear regulators warm (though I have never measured actual current). 

I have a little bit about it on my blog, I need to add more when I find the time.:


Jon Wolfe

 From: Charles West <crwest at ncsu.edu>
To: TriEmbed <triembed at triembed.org> 
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: [TriEmbed] Voltage regulation for battery driven mobile robots

Thanks for all the help with this.  You guys answered the question pretty thoroughly.

Thanks again,
Charlie West

On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM, Scott Hall <scottghall1 at gmail.com> wrote:

P.S.  If you want to find a source of regulators, a previous-coworker of mine has had good luck with these:
>On 01/20/2014 11:47 AM, Scott Hall wrote:
>This is where we could benefit from the experience of the robotics club guys (TAR - Triangle Area Robotics).
>>You will want to power the teensy on its own, not through the
        power pins on a R-Pi.
>>Circuit Cellar Magazine last August & September published a
        Raspberry-Pi I/O board that is far superior to the Gert Board
        and its like, but its shares one basic element:
>>They have their own power connector, and regulate that with a
        switching 5V regulator and a separate 3.3V regulator.  That
        latter they connect to pin-1 of the GPIO connector to power the
        R-Pi - the USB power is never involved.
>>If you are not using the 5V supply for anything beyond the
        motors, consider this 6V regulator instead (https://www.commonsenserc.com/product_info.php?products_id=51)  -- that'll get you more torque out of your motors, and constant voltage regardless of the battery level.
Scott G. Hall
Raleigh, NC, USA ScottGHall1 at GMail.Com 
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>TriEmbed at triembed.org
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