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The Raven

Before going further about the motor and controller I chose for this project, I thought I would include some images of the PC board during design. The first image is the most complex of the designs. The board employed five discrete regulated power supplies, switching for every aspect of the electronics, relays for limiting the steering travel, and monitoring of both incoming voltage and current drawn. This proved unreliable and required a redesign of traces. Originally I had used undersized traces for the two higher-demand circuits and these were then increased dramatically. Also, the regulation for the 2V and 6V circuits had undersized MOSFETs. See image below:

As can be seen when compared to the updated design, the paths were very thin and would have been inadequate for the demand. The redesign also sees elimination of the current monitoring section and on-board processing for the stepper information. This was necessary due to all of my stepper control research heading downhill.

Once I ran into difficulty with the motor, I decided to eliminate any steering control from the board. As a result, the regulation and switching can remain independent of the more complex processes within the steering system. This simplifies the design, saves on cost, and eliminates any possible changes to the board in the future. The newer board is more straightforward:

Pay no attention to my silly engineering logo.

One detail about these images - the upper board shows both red and green traces, as well as the yellow silkscreening. Within the design software, green traces are on the bottom of the board (2-layers). The newer board was designed as a 4-layer without the bottom traces but carrying power and ground planes as the middle layers. I did this for two reasons. First, removing the bottom traces allows for ease of voltage monitoring or troubleshooting; and second, the power and ground planes allow the 2V supply to be removed from the outer layers of the board. This makes the traces MUCH easier for me to follow. I am not an engineer.

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Content Updated: Sunday, September 04, 2016 at 10:25 pdt

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