I am in charge of desingning and pitching a new battery cart design that improves on what we have now. Currently we have a grey tote with 10 batteries in it. obviously this is very inconvieninet to transport as it lacks wheels or proper handles. I would love to make a cart design that
Needs only a single person to transport
Is convenient and accessible
I would really appreciate any links to other threads or features that you think are important for any teams battery cart.
Have a good summer!
747 has a nice cart that’s quite small but nifty. Honestly though, it’s not too difficult to design one using 80/20 extrusion (Knotts company gives 40% discount). I’d recommend designing your own in a CAD software and then posting that here on CD for feedback.
It’s amazing what a little paint can do to a cheap old HF hand truck. I still highly recommend this as a battery solution. We typically don’t build robots that abuse batteries too bad and are able to get through 5-6 practice matches without issue on a battery. Our record this year was 8 matches without a swap.
I think this maintainer is one of our best purchases we have made as a team. The only issue we have had with it over the last four years is the fan burned out on us, but it has two and we used a virtual KOP voucher to order a spare from Digikey.
The rest of the cart is just some old practice field plywood that took a few trips through the dado and then a coat of paint. It weighs a lot fully loaded but isn’t a problem for any of our students to pull into an event.
Yes, something like this that minimizes the floor space and can easily be maneuvered by one person.
The one 2587 built was similar but used 6 car individual car battery chargers and had a total capacity of 10(?) batteries. There was a power bar that all the chargers plugged into. Drill chargers were also plugged into the power bar when set up in the pit. I think they cut oblong handle holes in the front edges of the sides near the top and bottom so the cart could be laid on it’s back and picked up by 2 people.
Make sure you have some way to secure the batteries so they don’t fall out and get damaged. Yes, we cracked the case on one and made a mess.
Make sure the wheels are large enough to go over small obstacles on the floor. If using pneumatic wheels, aim to use ones with tubes or install them if tubeless. It is a PITA to get a tubeless tire reinflated once the bead is broken.
Quite similar in concept to one 3946 started a few years ago, but it was for six batteries, maintained by two of the 3-bank chargers from AndyMark. I built two wooden* carriers, each of which holds three batteries and has heavy duty door pull handles; the original plan was to attach these and the chargers to a hand truck. However, the two boxes and two chargers and a few square feet of table top or shelf proved to be an easily transportable and flexible “cartless” battery maintenance and transport solution. If building them today, the only thing I’d do differently would be to make the holes not quite so snug.
* Using dimensional lumber - nominal 2" for the base and exterior walls, nominal 1" for the interior separators. The height was most of the battery height; tall enough to enable easily grasping the top-mounted handles, low enough to easily grip the batteries.
There are two Andymark 3 bank chargers mounted on the shelf, with batteries sitting up right on the bottom shelf. The right door opens to storage, with a top shelf for drill batteries/chargers. The drawer on top has electrical contacts, connectors, and tools. The top has a frame for wire storage (buy in bulk!). The uprights for the banners attaches using thumb screws into some rivet nuts, so it’s easily assembled/disassembled. The crossbar is attached using locking pins that can easily be removed, with more pins on the end to keep them from sliding off. Finally, there’s a heavy duty extension cord with built in storage on the side. That goes internally to a power strip that feeds everything on the cart. The whole thing was painted by an automotive paint shop, who did the job as an in-kind donation to the team. It’s pretty sturdy, and can easily be wheeled in/out by a single person!
*It’s worth noting that we got a very significant discount on the cart, as well as another one with 8 drawers that we use for mechanical storage and a work table, as part of an in-kind donation from the local Fastenal shop!
So I just built a battery cart for this years build season (2019) I built it out of an existing cabinet that we outfitted with some 80-20 so that it could hold 12 batteries and the 4 chargers that we purchased so that a charger charges 3 batteries but It worked great was the only thing my team, 1939, took to the Einstein field in Huston. I would try to find a cabinet with a sturdy back because it fell over and now there is a large dent in the back for me to fix. I also Highly recommend some sort of charger that charges multiple batteries to save space. I also recommend that you don’t get different battery chargers so that it isn’t as confusing for your pit crew. Also whatever you go with make sure that it is sturdy and if you are doing a cart form a cabinet I would recommend reinforcing the bottom of the cart. Also not to say that the hand truck is a bad Idea but it is easier to push a cabinet than the hand truck like team 3572 suggested. We also give our team designs that were CAD of all 80-20 carts and they told us to go get a cart and modify it because it would use too much 80-20. Also make sure you have a hook on the inside for your battery tester so that is accessible and out of the way. And you should have a spill kit that is accessible.
These are the battery chargers that I was talking about. There might also be better options out there.
Good luck with the battery cart hope this was helpful
I will add a photo tomorrow (May 14th) in a comment
Keep in mind that this is a garage cabinet that is meant to be pushed under a work bench not really roll like a normal cart with this setup the wheels that turn are in the back (back of cabinet) and the wheels that don’t turn are in the front (near the doors) so it is kind of hard to push it up an incline.
It holds 12 batteries with the 4 chargers towards the top to where you can see the lights. In the upper left corner there is an yellow cord that we cut a hole in the side where you just pull the cord out of. We also made the doors detachable but nobody ever took them off at competitions. We built it for 12 batteries because that is how many we had at the beginning of build season but now we have a few more so you should plan for a few extra batteries if there is a possibility that your team will get more batteries. Also one of our amazing mentors told us about why the battery spill kit needs to be accessible so that is why it is in the front of the cart. You also want your frame not to far back or not too far forward in the cart or else it will tip over more easily. We attached some lexand (a plexiglass type material) to the bottoms of each battery slot so that the battery could be supported After we finished we were thinking that ductape could have been an easier option instead of cutting each one to the exact size.
We did not get to paint the interior frame with time constraints.
I would not suggest a power strip with a switch in it because the switch got broken at competition and luckily it was switched to on at that moment. On the inside of the back I would strengthen it with more 80-20 so that it won’t get a huge dent like ours did.
Hope that this and my pervious post was helpful would love to see your finished battery cart.