April 19, 2006

What I have been working on...

Here are a few photos of the robot controller that I have been working on the last few days:

Here is the front of the controller. The cabinet stands just under six feet tall and is 30" by 30". Weight was around 1,200 pounds before I got started...

One reason why it was so heavy. Note the Coke can -- these two power transformers are a good 150+ pounds each.

A total of 568.1 Hours of run time. Practically brand new!

Here is the "brains" of the box -- the compartment on the right holds an IBM compatible computer running a 286 processor with a 287 math co-processor. Processor speed is a blistering 10 MHz (million cycles per second). System memory is right up there with a whopping 512 Kilobytes.

The compartment on the left holds the brains for the servo controllers (board on the right) which is even less powerful than the system on the right. The other five boards read the position of the arm and report that to the computer. The computer then issues commands to the servo drivers to move to where they should be.

These are the servo drivers which take the signals from the computer and turn it into electrical power to run the motors. Considering that each motor is more than one horsepower, we are talking significant amounts of power. The blue things to the right are power capacitors used for filtering and buffering the power to the controllers (note the COKE can again -- these puppies are *huge*). In this picture, I removed one of the servo controller boards and have it to the left.

Needless to say, with this much power, the system is going to generate some serious heat. Here is the ductwork that takes the air from the cooling fan. But what is that clear plastic tube?

Here is the cooling fan from the back. Hmmm... Wonder what is under that cover?

It is a refrigeration unit! The controller generated so much heat that a simple fan was not enough to keep it cool -- they had to use an air conditioner.
Needless to say, I have given some thought to using the reefer unit to make an awesome kegerator for serving our Cider. That would be fun. I'll have to see just how cold it can get and if it works at all - the unit has low hours but it is twenty years old... I'll have photos of the arms when I start working with them. Posted by DaveH at April 19, 2006 10:20 PM