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EZB-V4 Battery / A/C Adapter Usage

Hello everyone, 

Have a power question and any advice with this is appreciated. I’ve searched the forums but haven’t quite found a thread that answers my questions.

I’m building a service bot that stands 5’8 running 2 servos for the Head, 5-6 for each arm and gripper, 2 -4 Led’s For eyes, an el-wire ring in the chest around the speaker, and two 12v (max) motors for the base wheels running through a motor controller connected to the ezb.

I’ve been using the battery pack provided with the developer kit with rechargeable AA’s in the provided battery pack but it’s already insufficient and I haven’t even added the arms yet. Dies within 20 minutes at best. I’ve seen LiPo recommendations but this is what I’m looking for: 

what batteries are are you running? 
How much are you operating off of them (device wise) and how much longevity do you get?
are there any ac adapters on the market that you’ve been able to use for larger projects that can allow you to bypass batteries all together during prototyping? Anyone have experience using automotive SLA’s regulated down to work with the EZB? Overall I’m looking for the best way to keep my bot powered for the longest amount of time weather it involve a teathered electrical connection or rechargeable and wireless. It’s a front I’m fuzzy on and could use advice with so I don’t accidentally burn out hundreds of dollars in equipment and components.


Related Hardware EZ-Robot EZ-B v4
Related Controls EZ-B Settings EZ-B v4 Info
Synthiam
#1  
Hey kull, for bench power supplies, the easiest solution is to find a higher amperage digital switching supply. Although, I tend to prefer adjustable bench supplies because you can monitor the amperage draw. 

The answer to your question regarding how long batteries last is related to the current draw - so it’s impossible for me to answer but you can identify it yourself. If you are serious about your project, a bench adjustable power supply on eBay is a good choice and only costs approximately $100 usd. That will give you the current draw which will help calculate your power consumption. 

Because the motors will be holding weight that is specific to your configuration, it’s not as simple as assuming a servo draws X amps. You will have accurate assumptions by monitoring the current while the robot is in use. 

Because of the hardware you’ve described, I would configure the adjustable bench supply for 7.4 volts 

If your robot is drawing 1 amp continuously, and you want it to run for 4 hours, you’d need a 4 amp battery. The batteries you will find have an amp hour rating. That’s how many amps of current it provides in an hour.
#3  
Man! I'd be afraid to plug that one in. How can they sell this for that cheap?? I may just have to get one and try it out. Carefully and under a close watch. LOL.
#4   — Edited
OK, I pulled the trigger and bought one. Price for mw with shipping was just under 9 USD. We'll see but how can I go wrong with a digital display and the ability to adjust from 0 - 30 volts and it will stand up to 10 amps. Heck, if I accidentally send more than 10 amps through it and fry it, the smoke show will be worth at least the $9 I spent. LOL.

However I'll have to wait up to 28 days for it to arrive. I guess this what they mean when they say "Slow Boat From China". LOL

Thanks for the heads up DJ!
Synthiam
#5  
Lol that’s amazing. I thought of getting one to just to see. Jeremie and I have similar ones that cost 10 times more and work great. The hardest part is finding 10 amp versions like that.
#6  
I just purchased one, the cost of 3..99 shipping was almost the cost of the bench power supply,  we will see in a couple of months.
Synthiam
#7   — Edited
Haha see - maybe these guys are actually making a bit of money because so many people are buying it at this price. It wouldn't cost much less than the asking price to manufacturer the product in high quantity... specifically since the product has been on the market for a number of years and the cost of r&d has been covered long ago

.... or, they light on fire and burst into flames when we turn it on
#8  

Quote:

or, they light on fire and burst into flames when we turn it on
Yeah.  I think I'll wait and make sure you all survive before buying one;) 
Alan
#9  
Thanks for the advice DJ and everyone else. Sprang for a $60 30v/10A variable benchtop supply that came today. Didn’t wanna risk the burst into flames scenario lol. Got the arms for Artemis as well so going to be hookinf up and assembling everything over the next few days. 
The powersupply can fit on board. Any thoughts on potential issues with putting the powersupply on board the bot and using extension cords as a feather to power to give it some range? 

Also, I know 7.4v is the right calibration but what’s the max current we can push through the EZB? Obviously going to check my current draw as mentioned once I have the arms working but don’t want to accidentally burn the brain
Synthiam
#10  
Datasheet for ezrobot ezb v4 is here: http://www.ez-robot.com/Tutorials/Lesson/18?courseId=4 
Has voltage limits etc. The biggest concern is the power for the servos and sensors, etc.. They're powered off the power supply so they can't have any more than 7.4 volts

There isn't a concern of having the power supply on the robot if it fits. Although, it won't hurt to consider getting smaller switching power supply once you identify the amps that's needed
#11   — Edited
Kullthulu, this sounds like a interesting project. Please post pictures and video as you go if you can. 

I don't know your knowledge level with electricty so I'll assume beginner level. Please forgive if you know what follows. 

Disclaimer: Electricity could hurt or even kill you. You could even burn down your house. If you do any of this after reading my article below I am not responsible. If you have any doubts about handling electricity please ask a professional to help you.

With electricity a lot of people get amps (current) and voltage mixed up or think it's the same thing. Very simply put, amps are the electrons in electricity that actually make things happen. Voltage is the pressure behind the amps that push them along. Resistance is another component in an electric circuit that you need to be very aware of. Resistance is made up of the type and size of the material that the voltage is pushing the amps through to get to the device you're trying to make work. Some material is easier for the electrons to flow through. For example copper has less resistance than aluminum. With that in mind you would need to use a larger aluminum wire for the same amount of amperage to flow then you would if you used copper wire.

An ampere is the unit used to measure electric current. Current is a count of the number of electrons flowing through a circuit. Here's the fine print: "One amp is the amount of current produced by a force of one volt acting through the resistance of one ohm". Here's another way to say it: Your device will pull Amps from a power source like the power company through a wall outlet (AC power), a battery (DC power) or a switching power supply that will convert AC power to DC power. Your device sucks (pulls) the amps it needs. It doesn't care what is between itself and the power source. Something will heat up If your power supply and/or the wires or connectors in the circuit are not rated to provide the amount of load (amps) being demanded. This heat is the result of the electrons being sucked through a undersized part of your circuit. This is true all the way back through your house and out to the power generation plant that feed power to your neighborhood and your house. Depending on how much load you pull through an underrated part of your power grid you could just get a little warmth or complete failure with smoke an/or fire.

You could also burn out a device you are trying to power by starving it because of one of the issues mentioned above. Another way to burn out your device is to supply too much or too little voltage. An exception to this are DC motors. You can run your voltage down to zero and a DC motor will only just slow down and stop. However it's still true that with DC devices you need to have a big enough pipeline (wiring, connections, power supply) to feed them the amps they demand. DC motors will also tolerate slightly higher voltage but be careful here.

So, you're thinking about using an extension cord to supply power to your robot? I read all the time on things I buy NOT to use an extension cord. I think it's just fine to use one as long as you keep in mind the things we discussed earlier in my ramblings above. Just make sure it's not too long and it's big enough to carry the load your robot will demand. Don't share the cord with other robots or power hungry devices like a microwave oven. Also you will find that your voltage will drop over very long runs of wire like an extension cord. A larger gauge wire in your extension cord will help here.

There is one other thing to be aware of. This is start up demand. When motors and other devices on your circuit first start up they usually draw more current then when they are just sitting or under normal use. This startup will make the voltage sag (lower) for a short time and starve the devices that are trying to draw the current they need. Always design your circuit (including your power converters) at least 25% larger than your total load (motors and devices).

How do you know what your total amp (load) needs are for your circuit? Simply study each device on your circuit and add up how many amps each one will draw. Pay close attention to motors. They should have a rating for normal load and peak load. Design your circuit around the total amps all your devices will draw under peak and startup load.

One other thing. It's a very very good idea to add fusing to your circuit. This will protect your motors and devices from shorts, failures and pulling too much current. Size your fusing using the things we discussed above.

I hope this was of some help to you or others that may be wondering about feeding power to their robots. Please be safe with electricity and have fun.
#12  
Thanks guys!  And Dave, thank you for the wealth of info you provided. As for pics and vids of the project so far I have a thread with where things are at currently.

https://synthiam.com/Community/Robots/Artemis-The-household-service-bot-17757

I’ll be updating it soon. Since then It’s been given a silver paint job, hooking up the arms over the next few days and then probably swapping out the head (I snagged an Elvis alive bust off eBay last night that will likely replace the omnibot head on it now)
#13  
Hey All!

Just curious, how did the above power supply turn out?