2018-12-24 - By Akshay Nileshbhai Sorathiya, Kaushal Prakashbhai Mejadiya, Priyanka Sureshbhai Champaneri, Robert Elder
Robot Tank PCB
This article is a review of a capstone project completed by Akshay Sorathiya, Kaushal Mejadiya and Priyanka Champaneri. The goal of the project was to create a printed circuit design to improve on the implementation of the robot tank described in Can You Build a Streaming Video Robot Tank for ~$100?. Here is a picture of the front and back of the result:
And here is a picture of the components connected to the board:
This design was a significant improvement over the previous design of entirely manually soldered connections and jumper wires. In addition, this iteration of the projected included two USB power banks in order to supply adequate power to the motors and the Raspberry PI at the same time.
The final PCB design ended up being more expensive than originally anticipated. The project timeline necessitated that a rush delivery for the PCBs was ordered which ended up being over $100 for 5 PCBs alone. For future projects the cost could be lowered significantly by ordering the final PCBs at least 3 weeks in advance. In addition, several new components including a boost converted and a switch were added that increased by a significant margin. The PCBs were ordered from pcbway.com.
Some of the conclusions from this project were that further cost reduction could come from:
- Investigate whether a cheaper boost converter can be sourced.
- Investigate whether there is a cheaper option for the switch.
- Reduce the PCB surface area to keep it under one of the 'magic' sizes that Shenzhen normally produces things in.
- Investigate whether the copper content can be lowered to reduce cost.
- Don't order rush delivery.
Another future improvement to investigate is moving over the design files to a more open-source friendly design file/editor format.