Building a Robot using MSP430 Robot Booster Pack

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picture of a robot made from MSP430 launchpad and L293D motor controller chip

In this section we are going to introduce the Robot Booster Pack.If you have followed the past two tutorials ( 1 , 2 ) and have build the circuit,this section may seem familiar to you.The Robot Booster pack for MSP430 (RobotShield) is designed to be plugged on the MSP430 Launchpad development board (MSP-EXP430G2) and provide motor control as well as communication capabilities to the Launchpad board.In this article we are going to leverage the capabilities of Robot Booster Pack to build and control a small robot.

comparison between circuit of robot and MSP430 Robot booster pack

The Robot Shield consists of the same circuit that we have discussed in the previous electronics section of the tutorial.The difference is that the MSP430G2553 is located on the Launchpad board instead of the main PCB and screw terminals are provided for connecting the motors and powersupply.One advantage is that you can easily substitute any 20 pin Launchpad compatible MSP430 microcontroller instead of MSP430G2553 without using the soldering iron.

More information about Robot Shield can be found here and here.

Building the Frame

Now first thing we need to make our robot operational is a Frame.The only requirement of the frame is that it should have two DC motors arranged in differential drive configuration and sufficient space to hold the Robot Booster Pack (Robot Shield) and the power source (battery).If you already have an old frame from your previous robotic project lying  around,you can use that otherwise you can build one from scratch as i have covered in the first article. Here i am going to use the one from the previous tutorial.

photo of the base of the robot

I have covered the whole body with black insulation tape,you know to look coolwink.Now place the MSP430 booster pack along with the Launchpad and battery on the base and select a suitable position to mount them.Depending upon the material used for construction of your base you can either screw them or glue them.

checking the placement of booster pack and battery on the robot

In my case i have used double sided tape to attach the PCB and battery on to the robot.Attach the adhesive side of the Double sided tape to the  bottom of launchpad board carrying the booster pack.I would recommend two layers of tape under the Launchpad board.

attaching the launchpad and booster pack to the base of the robot

Do the same thing for the 9V battery also.

attaching 9v battery to the robot for providing power

By using a 9V battery your motors will be driven at 9V ,the voltage regulators on the booster pack will convert the 9V to 5 and 3.3V for L293D and MSP430 on the launchpad. You can also provide power through a long cable to the robot.

Now connect the two terminals of the Motor on the Right side of the robot to MOTOR_R terminal on the Robot Shield (booster pack).

Connect the terminals  of the motor on the Left side of the robot to the MOTOR_L terminal on the Robot Shield.

Connect the battery to the power connector P2 and your robot is ready.

picture of a robot made from MSP430 Launchpad and Robot booster pack sold at this site. 

After the build is over ,it's time to program the robot to do your bidding.Head out to our next section for programming.


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