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Unread 03-25-2012, 01:45 AM
MichaelBick MichaelBick is offline
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Wiring through Frame

One thing that our team saw thought of doing for next year, was running wires through frame pieces. It seems a lot cleaner and more professional than having wires taped all over our frame. I know for a fact 254 does this. Does anyone have any recommendations, tips, or particular tools and materials that we would need to execute this for next year?
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Unread 03-25-2012, 01:57 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

1515 uses Wire Loom. It's fairly effective, and provides insulation that would be necessary when running through the frame. Wire bushings are useful for insulation and aesthetic purposes for the exit point of the wire through the frame.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 02:14 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Think about where you put your connections. You don't want to have to place a connector in an inaccessible spot—otherwise you'll have to pull the wire out to get at it.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 02:14 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Use labeling and color to make tracing easier both for troubleshooting and inspection. Based on the robots I've seen so far, I'd make that recommendation no matter how you choose to organize your wiring. It's especially important if the wiring will be hidden.

Also, permanent attachment at either end isn't recommended if you need to swap out components or remove major sub assemblies for repair or transport. Another consideration if the wiring is "trapped" inside the frame.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 02:15 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

I would recommend trying to keep it as clean as possible. If you're routing wires through tubing and you get a jumble of wire or something stuck in there, it's a pain to get out. I would also suggest covering up the edge of the holes through which your wires enter and leave. For example, we put rubber rubber "linings" that cover the edge of the hole in the tube. So when we pull the wires out or push the wires in, they don't get damaged. If you look at the top part of our elevator in this picture, you can see the wires running out, and the hole covered by the rubber plug.

Running wires and pneumatic tubing through our frame helps us give a clean look to the robot. In addition, it also ensures that they won't get damaged, cut, or caught by other parts of the robot.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 04:55 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

If you do do this, make sure that your robot is mechanically not going to have any major changes.

Last year our team routed cabling through our arm, it all worked wonderfully until we had to change out our arm at comp. We weren't able to pull them out quickly enough so we had to cut, trace, and re terminate each cable.

Now we make sure that there is a connecter at any point that is likely to become detached. This year we also ran most of our cables along beams, and cable tied them down every 1-2". If you have the patience to line up all the wires and do it properly, you can end up with a very professional look. Having cables exposed along the whole run makes tracing them and trouble shooting much easier as well.

It comes down to how well you think you can pull it off, as a younger less robot focused team, we prefer to have cabling on the outside because it provides more flexibility. If your team can pull it off both mechanically and electrically, then go for it!
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Unread 03-25-2012, 09:14 AM
Jon Stratis Jon Stratis is offline
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Also keep in mind that any hidden wires (like those going through the frame) are a magnet for drill bits! Once you route wires through the frame, the team needs to start checking in the frame every time they want to drill a hole for anything to make sure they won't hit a wire. For that reason, we make sure all o our wires are visible. They're all routed neatly and in bundles that are attached to the frame, but the don't go in it.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 09:48 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by timytamy View Post

It comes down to how well you think you can pull it off, as a younger less robot focused team, we prefer to have cabling on the outside because it provides more flexibility. If your team can pull it off both mechanically and electrically, then go for it!
We have actually been going in the opposite direction lately. Our team has used Panduit wire ways in the past. They look clean and are much easier to use when making changes than running wire through tubing. But even with an easily removable cap changes were often just too time consuming and difficult. This year we only used cable ties to attach wires to the outside of the frame and wiring was much easier, faster, and ended up being more reliable than previous years.

I have also encountered problems with wires routed inside tooling frames at work. The insides of tubes must be fully cleaned and deburred, you need to limit the fill percentage, and avoid sharp turns or too many turns. Also, the issue of drilling into wires is a real and present danger any time you make a change. You think you will remember that the wires are in there and where they go, but it is so easy to forget. Out of sight, out of mind.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 10:02 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Lall View Post
Think about where you put your connections. You don't want to have to place a connector in an inaccessible spot—otherwise you'll have to pull the wire out to get at it.
Yup! We've routed partially through the frame in the past, but have moved even further from doing so for all of the reasons listed here, but most especially this: when you make changes, sometimes what was accessible is no longer accessible, and problems become very difficult to diagnose and fix.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 10:34 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

I would spend the time making the robot easily serviceable. And you might find that the more effort you put into doing so, the less service it will need, and the better it will look and function.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 10:50 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

We ran tons of wire through the 1x2 box tubing up our superstructure. It worked quite well. I would recommend a TCT hole cutter and some grommets.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 11:20 AM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

We occasionally will run wiring inside the frame but will do it only when really needed. As pointed out above, mechanical team has a nasty habit of drilling through frame members where wires are contained. Funny story, it is actually how I got dragged into the pits in 1997. Been there ever since.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 02:43 PM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

I would not recommend running wires through tubes, our electronics layout this year was the cleanest it has ever been. Our frame this year was constructed of perforated tubes, so it was a simple matter to zip tie the wires to the tubes every 2-3 inches. In some places we routed wires through the tubes, but only because of how open and pocketed they were.

This is a picture of our robot with the old bridge lowering device, most of the motors were close to our dual electronics boards, but those that weren't were simple to wire because of the ability to zip tie everything through the holes.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7188/6...a3d21afd76.jpg

Another dis-advantage to running wire through tubes is that the inside of tubes tend to attract metal shavings.

Last edited by Hawiian Cadder : 03-25-2012 at 02:44 PM. Reason: Forgot Image Link
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Unread 03-25-2012, 02:47 PM
MichaelBick MichaelBick is offline
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Thank you so much everyone. It sounds like people have problems when they change something out. We will probably be doing less of that then other teams, as we are really trying to not change anything once we have CADded it. This year, the only thing we changed was taking off our bridge mechanism. Still, in places that we can forsee taking a mechanism off, we will put removable connectors. Also, we don't usually drill holes in our robot. This year, we took off the bridge mech, because it was so much weight, but the weight problem was mainly an issue of using to thick aluminum tubing.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 03:52 PM
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Re: Wiring through Frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by NagyH View Post
I would also suggest covering up the edge of the holes through which your wires enter and leave. For example, we put rubber rubber "linings" that cover the edge of the hole in the tube. So when we pull the wires out or push the wires in, they don't get damaged. If you look at the top part of our elevator in this picture, you can see the wires running out, and the hole covered by the rubber plug.
It looks like you guys used rubber grommets for that application. Great implementation.
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