Author Archives: kevin

Beefy arms for Balboa balancing robot

via Pololu Blog

If you’re following Paul’s blog series about getting your Balboa robot balancing, you’ll probably want something to protect it when it falls. When I was working with my Balboa, I got a set of prototype arms that our mechanical engineers have been developing, but I felt they were missing a little something. So instead, I took a Beefy Arm Starter Kit from Thingiverse and used OpenSCAD to add adjustable mounting hubs to the arms. I printed two sets of arms with our RigidBot 3D printer and mounted them to the side rails on the Balboa chassis using 25 mm M3 screws and M3 nuts. They’ve been great for keeping obstacles and the floor at arm’s length from my electronics while I drove the robot around with an RC transmitter or through a Raspberry Pi web interface (example code coming soon!).

You can find these beefy arms for the Balboa on Thingiverse if you want to try 3D printing your own. The OpenSCAD script is also available there in case you want to customize your arms.

UM7-LT and UM7 orientation sensors now from Redshift Labs

via Pololu Blog

The UM7-LT and UM7 orientation sensors, originally developed by CH Robotics, are now being manufactured and supported by Redshift Labs. The updated versions of these sensors are now available from Pololu.

UM7-LT orientation sensor.

UM7 orientation sensor with included cable and U.S. quarter for size reference.

The UM7 is an Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) that takes measurements from its three-axis accelerometer, gyro, and magnetometer and calculates orientation estimates with its integrated microcontroller. It is available with an enclosure as the UM7 or without one as the UM7-LT. Aside from a few updated components and the addition of a conformal coating on the UM7-LT, these sensors are functionally identical to the original versions produced by CH Robotics.

For more information about the orientation sensors, see their product pages below.

New product: Magnetic Encoder Pair Kit for Mini Plastic Gearmotors

via Pololu Blog

We now have a magnetic encoder pair kit available for our mini plastic gearmotors with extended back shafts. Like our encoder kit for micro metal gearmotors, these kits consist of Hall effect sensor boards that mount to the back of the motors and magnetic discs that fit on the motors’ back shafts. The encoders provide a resolution of 12 counts per revolution of the motor shaft (when counting both edges of both channels); in terms of counts per gearbox output shaft revolution, the resolution is multiplied by the corresponding gear ratio.

For more details about the encoder kit, see the product page.

A Raspberry Pi robot without a HAT

via Pololu Blog

Using an Arduino shield or Raspberry Pi add-on board is often a quick and convenient way to get started on a robotics project, but for maximum flexibility, nothing beats building your own system from standalone boards. Rud Merriam’s Hackaday article describes the design of his Raspberry Pi-controlled robot, for which he opted to use separate modules instead of daughterboards on the Pi, and mentions some of the trade-offs involved in making that decision.

The robot is built on a Wild Thumper chassis and uses a Maestro USB servo controller and two Simple Motor Controllers to interface the Raspberry Pi with the robot’s motors and actuators. In Rud’s writeup, he explains how he made use of some of the more advanced features of the Maestro and SMCs, like using servo channels for general-purpose I/O and setting up daisy-chained serial communications. Check out the full article for all of the details.

New product: VL53L0X Time-of-Flight Distance Sensor Carrier

via Pololu Blog

We’ve just released our VL53L0X Time-of-Flight Distance Sensor Carrier. With its ability to measure distances up to 2 m depending on configuration, target, and environment, the VL53L0X is a longer-range version of the VL6180X (but without ambient light sensing functionality) that operates using the same principles. This integrated lidar module times how long it takes for pulses of infrared light to reach a target, reflect off it, and arrive back at the sensor. It uses this information to report the range to the target with a resolution of 1 mm and accuracy as good as ±3%, minimizing the effect of the target’s reflectance on the measured distance.

VL53L0X datasheet graph of typical ranging performance (in default mode).

As usual, our breakout board adds a 2.8 V regulator and level shifters to help interface with 3.3 V and 5 V systems, as well as a breadboard-compatible pinout and mounting holes. We are also working on an Arduino library for the VL53L0X that we expect to release in the next few days.

For more information about the VL53L0X carrier, see its product page.

New version of our USB Micro-B breakout

via Pololu Blog

We’ve updated our USB Micro-B Connector Breakout Board with some minor improvements that should make it a little nicer to work with.

On the original version, the mounting cutouts didn’t work as well as we wanted: they were shallow, and the board was often prone to slipping out of place between two screws. The new version is wider and its cutouts are deeper to allow for more secure mounting, and it is slightly shorter in the other direction (0.4″ × 0.6″ with the connector).

For more information, see the board’s product page.