About this project
We have made it! Now for some stretch goals!
A huge thank you to everyone who has backed this project so far! We have gone over 100% and so now it's stretch goal time! Remember to keep sharing and talking about the MotorPiTX, the more backers it gets the better it will be for everyone! Keep up the good work!
ACHIEVED - £2,000 - The MotorPiTX board will be made in a range of cool colours, which is a choice of: Black, Blue, Red, Yellow and Purple!
ACHIEVED - £2,500 - Everyone who has pledged to receive rewards 4/5 (board and components) and 6/7 (pre-soldered board) will also receive a battery box!
ACHIEVED - £3,000 - Addition of a microusb plug for those wanting to add that extra power to their Pi, and still have full power control, i2c breakout, and the addition of 2 input connections!
ACHIEVED - £4,500 - Everyone who has pledged to receive rewards 4/5 (board and components) and 6/7 (pre-soldered board) will also receive 2 motors and wheels! (As pictured)
ACHIEVED - £7,000 - This has been suggested by a few people, so I will donate 10 lots of 5 boards (50 in total!) to 10 schools around the world. I will launch a 2 week registration for schools or parents/friends to add their school to the list with a short bio, and then a 2 week poll for kickstarter backers (any reward, so those backing a £1+ can help a school!) to choose their favourite!
Remember! - The battery box and motor + wheels are purely exclusive to kickstarter backers only! Retail units sold after this won't have these! So get them while the offer is there!
If you don't know already the Raspberry Pi is a small computer the size of a credit card, this makes it very useful for many projects, from traveling to the edge of space, home media centres to time lapse cameras ... but this project is all about robots, or to be more specific an easy way to connect motors and/or servos plus some other nifty bits and bobs to your Raspberry Pi to make your own robots or project that needs to be motorised!
During my talks and workshops on Raspberry Pi Robotics, I came to realise how time consuming some parts of building an awesome project can be, so I decided to condense the fiddly, boring parts of Raspberry Pi Robotics down and cram them onto a full functional, easy to use, board!
So... What is it?
This motor controller board is designed to sit snug on top of your Raspberry Pi without the need for messy or time consuming soldering.
- Power your Pi plus motors and servos with just 4xAA batteries!
- Full ATX-style power controls... (ON/OFF button for your Pi!!)
- Ability to externally break out power switch and power LED
- 2x +5v outputs for whatever you desire (LED's? Lasers?... Death Ray!!)
- 2x hobby servo connectors
- 2x bi-directional DC motor connectors (forwards/backwards)
Added through stretch goal...
- i2c breakout for adding extra functionality
- microusb for extra power to your Pi whilst still using the PiTX function
- 2x 3.3v inputs
The board will make it very easy and fast to create robots or motorised projects with your Raspberry Pi, it is ideal for complete novices, school children, hobbyist and even for those with vast experience in building Raspberry Pi robots or projects.
and the PiTX?
The board is designed to come with a full ATX-Style power supply, based on my custom designed PiTX system.
This means you will be able to switch on and shut down your Raspberry Pi with the press of a single button! Plus If your robot or project goes horribly wrong and tries to take over the world, you will also be able to kill the power by holding down the button for 3 seconds... hooray!
This is where I am up to right now... updated...
Prototype v0.2 has arrived, been assembled and on it's way to beta testers!
This is where I was up to at launch... "Prototype v0.1 s built, assembled and in hand! This prototype has already been tested and modified.
The prototype v0.2 boards are ready to be sent off to the fabrication lab, once back with me, they will be checked, assembled and sent to eagerly awaiting beta testers to make sure they work out in the wild as they should and for any final feedback or tweaking."
Prototype v0.2 and beyond...
I am working on the software and a stable version will be ready before the boards start hitting post boxes!
The original layout and design has been neatened and will allow space for any future revisions and added functionality.
The board has been modified to allow space for a Pi camera to be used alongside the MotorPiTX board for those wanting to add eyes to their robot.
Once prototype v0.2 has been beta tested by some of my fellow roboteers, the board will be finalised and the fully functioning MotorPiTX v1.0 will be ready for fabrication. This will be done as quickly and efficiently as possible!
The funding from this kickstarter project will be used to have the fully functioning MotorPiTX v1.0 fabricated and also fund towards getting the board CE certified.
Once the MotorPiTX v1.0 board is up and running, I will then start production on a board that gives you the full PiTX functionality on it own for those who have no need for the motors or servos, as well as many other add on boards that I am currently designing to work with your Raspberry Pi.
The name Raspberry Pi is a registered trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and this board is in no way endorsed or affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation
Risks and challenges
I am living and breathing this project, day and night, which makes me confident that I have already ironed out any problems. Prototype v0.2 will still be extensively beta tested once it is in hand, and any final calibrations and tweaks will be made if needed. If any unforeseen problems do arise from beta testing, an additional prototype board may be necessary as I want to make sure the final product is 100% ready to go, if this does happen, fabrication of another prototype will delay the finalising the project but I will keep everyone involved updated every step of the way!
As these first finalised boards made for kickstarter rewards won't be CE marked they will be sent as a 'developmental prototype' before testing. Getting the boards CE marked for the open market will take some and although the time frame for this will be out of my control, I will continue to keep backers updated on the progress towards the finalised board hitting the shops after the kickstarter has finished.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
For the 2 motor outputs, only brushed DC motors are to be used, up to 600mA. The voltage is taken directly from the batteries, if 6v is used as a power source, this would mean using 6v motors, same goes for 9v batteries, using 9v motors.
Using higher voltage motors would work, but would turn a lot slower, such as using a 12v motor on a 6v supply.
Any standard 'hobby servo' can be used, and they can be found in many hobby/RC shops. They have a 3 pin connector, usually red, black and yellow/white which corresponds to +6v, ground and data.
Anything over 5.5v input can be used, such as 4x Alkaline batteries, or 5x rechargeable NiMH or even a 9v PP3 square battery. Your choice and quantity of batteries will vary a lot on performance.
Due to the nature of Alkaline batteries, they drop their voltage rather quickly compared to others so you may feel you will use more of these, and if using 4 of these will fall below 5.5v quickly causing power issues for the Pi. I'd recommend Lithium batteries over the cheaper Alkalines as they are better suited to high drain situations, they maintain their voltage for longer, so will be able to power your robot for longer.
NiMH Rechargables are my recommended choice, but 5 must be used as they are only 1.2v each (5x1.2v = 6v) but will maintain that voltage right to the end of their life giving your robot a longer life between battery changes.
The older style motors such as the 2838 will work, as well as the 8882 and 8883 although all will require modified connectors to fit on the MotorPiTX (unless cutting wires is your thing). All Lego motors are 9v, so to achieve the best results, a 9v source will be required.
The NXT (Mindstorm) motors are a little tricky due to the extra features built in, but are still capable of being driven using the motor pins to pin 1 and 2 on the NXT motor, providing both forwards and backwards, as well as PWM speed control.
This board will work, and has been tested with all Raspberry Pi versions (except for the Rev 2, 256Mb - I couldn't get hold of one of them) and they have passed! With the lack of LAN and single USB does mean there is a bit of room on the Model A boards, but doesn't stop any function on this board.
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