scout updates: soldering power to motor controllers [updates]
So today we're going to be soldering and connecting a lot. The motor controllers came in and we need to connect the power bus and motors to all of them. For motors, I've been thinking of using crimp connectors as they're less of a pain. But because the power distribution port has 6 ports, and there are 12 motor controllers, we need to solder the power of two controllers in parallel for this to be easier. We're also going to connect black wire sheaths around the motor controllers for aesthetics and protecting the wires.
STEP 1: Strip the wire ends for the power, slip a large piece of heat shrink on the end of the power wire. Then take the three wires and solder as shown. Make sure the solder melts through the wires, all the way we want a really nice connection. Heat the wire and push the solder into the wire.
NOTE: Shoving the strands into each other will help them stay together as you're soldering. Solder on a heat resistant surface so you can press into the surface.
This is what a good solder joint looks like, notice how the wires are melted together nicely.
STEP 2: Move the heat shrink back onto the three wires, and use a heat gun to create a nice seal over all three of them.
When installing this on the robot we will use smaller black wire sheathing for the control wires and this for the bigger power wires. Just to cover, bundle, and keep everything clean! Ordered about 50 feet for around 50 bucks. They're 1" in diameter.
So you only see 10 motor controllers, that's because the order got a little wonky and 2 shipped late. No worries, they'll be soldered later. I will NOT do a post on that-doesn't make much sense, it will be the same process.
Also note that there are different lengths of power wires, this is for where they're mounted on the robot. The ones with the longest wires are mounted farthest from center on the robot because they will control the motors with the shortest wires to the center and etc. This will make more sense when we mount them to the bot itself.
The other cool thing to notice about the power hub in the center of the last picture is is has ports for SERVO connections, which means we can run the CAN wires into these ports if we decide to use them! It is possible that we can clean up the wiring this way. It may not be worth it because there are two controllers per power unit, so this is something we will figure out when we know about CAN more.
We will test the powering of this system ON THE ROBOT later.