Electrical Board Mounting

I was wondering how other teams mount their electrical board. Do you mount all you electronics on one board or do you space the electronics out? What Material do you mount you electronics on (aluminum? Polycarbinate? Other?)? What do you use to fasten you electronics down (Screws? Zip Ties?[how do you mount the cRIO with zip ties?])? How do you keep you wires organized? Any pictures would be appreciated.

I’ll try and find 2010 if I can, but here’s our 2009 electrical board


We mount everything with screws. We also try and put this on last if possible so we can figure out where to put everything so that the least amount of wiring is required. As far as organized…well that’s a work in progress. Basically we just try to make it so we know where it is fast. It doesn’t have to look all that pretty. Zip ties are used for wires we (hopefully) don’t have to move around a lot.

is that aluminum that it is mounted to? If so how is the cRIO isolated?

No it’s plastic. We actually took the excess material from our spiral for it. That’s attached the aluminium frame of the robot.


Just like Kelsey stated, we also mount everything with hardware. Also, we use zipties to keep everything nice and neat. As you can see with the Jaguars, its pretty much a mirror image on the other side with the cRIO. (There were two different heights on both sides but that doesnt matter :]) If you have any more questions about how we mounted everything, I can ask around but I think you may have all your answers already.

We’ve built a plywood box the past two years, and screwed most of the parts to it, we bolted the cRio since it’s pretty heavy. Last year was a big flat box sitting upright, cRio was attached inside the bottom edge. This year it was also a box, laying flat, most parts on the top of it, cRio inside, also had room for the battery.

Typically we mount all out electronics on a sheet of plastic, this year everything was very close together but easily removable if anything should go wrong. We super glue our wires together for a look once we know where everything is mounted.

In past years, we’ve mounted everything on an electric board, but this year, in order to be able to fit under the tunnel, go under the bump, and hang, we mounted electrical components in several places.

Our cRIO was between the back wheels (we can honestly say we’ve scored with the cRIO :P), the jaguars (which we later changed to viktors) were mounted close to the motors, and the relay board and the battery were mounted close to the cRIO. I’ll see if I can find a picture…

This is the best picture I could find… you can see a vacuum-like hose around the side of the robot, and that’s where we routed most of the wires.

I just joined the team this year, but last year, there was a large vertical plywood board on the back of the robot that had just about all the electronics mounted to it. A lexan guard could be slid in to protect them.

Just under that board, there’s an aluminum plate resting on the chassis (so when you look at the robot from the side, you see sort of an L shape) that extends into the robot. Our cRIO is mounted on one side of that board, and a hole was cut into the plywood so that we could place a battery on the aluminum plate.

This year, some of the electronics were scattered. We have a 4-CIM drivetrain in the rear of our robot, and there’s a lexan cover over them. The PDB and sidecar went on that lexan cover (it’s braced by aluminum L, so it’s fairly sturdy), mounted down with screws. Behind the CIMs - between our rear wheels - on the chassis, there’s a lexan plate occupied by 4 Victors to control those CIMs. The other Victors - the 3 controlling the kicker, acquirer, and hanger - are mounted around the frame, wherever convenient. The drivetrain Victors are mounted with screws; the others with (industrial strength) Velcro. The reason is that the drivetrain Victors had a space allotted for them, whereas very little planning went into the placement for the others. Our cRIO is mounted on plywood, in front of our drivetrain CIMs, using screws.

Because all of the electronics are mounted on stuff that’s very liable to transmit shock (physical shock, that is), we have shock mounts for all the electronics mounted with screws. For those shock mounts, we cut up a yoga mat (so if your parents ever tried and stopped doing yoga, you know what you can do with that yoga mat now!). For those electronics mounted with Velcro, no shock mount was necessary because the Velcro serves as a shock mount in itself.

Our Electronics Panel was one double sided piece of lexan which rested on 2 pieces of aluminum on our robot, here are some pictures.

Always use bolts to mount (except the gaming adapter, zip ties for that), and zip ties to organize.



I’m basically only posting this so that future Shaker Robotics kids will see it and tell themselves “never again”…


We had about 5 preship electrical boards. We cut two of them wrong. We had a third wired up neatly, then we changed the structure of the robot a few hours before ship so we had to redo it all in a few hours at WPI. We kind of just mounted the Victors wherever they fit. Since we’re probably removing the entire pneumatics system, the new electrical kids will have a chance to rewire the whole robot with all of the scattered electrical parts closer together. Everything should be mounted on 1/8" lexan, or the trimmed piece of pultruded fiberglass up top.

I was never going to use zip ties but people on my team said other people use them.

Our board last year was an “L” shape on the side of the robot. It was all aluminum but the cRIO was on a piece of polycarbonate bolted on with plastic screws. Everything else was put on aluminum boards with bolts and the holes where tapped to save on weight.

This year we started off with a flat piece of aluminum with all the electronics mounted on there. The cRIO was sitting on a piece of polycarbonate but somehow metal screws were used to fasten it to the board. So after that one of our mentors got scared about grounding and had us switch to a full poly carbonate board in an “L” shape. We used plastic screws to fasten everything to the polycarbonate.

We always try to place all of our electronics on the robot’s baseplate. This year and last year, they were on a waterjetted aluminum plate with pre-drilled mounting holes for everything. All of the holes are then tapped and we screw the components into them. The cRio was isolated with a rubber pad, although the powdercoat is not conductive.

Wires are run so that they can be easily traced by looking at them. Zip ties are used when necessary.

Here’s this year’s board without the cRio. Some of it needs to be tidied up, but its mostly done except for the wires in the bottom left corner.


Ask Tom about Megamaid :slight_smile:

We mount everything on to lexan, and attach it to the robot with either velcro or screws. Most years we have also had to hinge portions of it so we could work on the robot.

We had a 3/4 inch plywood board, with a piece that stood verticle on one end. The height of the protrusion was the width of the c-rio, and we mounted the light to this piece also (we had a clear lid.) we mounted everyhing except the main breaker by screws, and we mounted the board to the chassis with bolts. We screwed zipties to the board to create wire “highways”.

If anyone saw our robot hanging, the space with messages on the bottom was where most of our electronics were mounted (on the top side). In the middle of the rear chassis pan, we had our 2 AM shifters, 4 CIM’s, and 2 shift pistons, but in front of that we had the cRio sitting sideways, with the side against a piece of polycarb attached to the bottom, and the crio mounted to the front flange with bolts and plastic selves. At the rear, we riveted a piece of perforated aluminum, to which we mounted the majority of the electronics (4 Victors, 2 Spikes) with zip ties. We also zip tied all of the wiring, the heavier wires were zip tied to the rear axle, which ran directly behind the electronics. The DSC was in between the two transmissions. Above the rear chassis pan, we had the PD board floating on sheet aluminum brackets, bolted to the brackets, and another electronics pan hanging from two chassis members (riveted). The remaining two Victors and two Spikes were zip-tied to this. The three lighting power supplies (off of two of the Spikes) were attached with velcro to a 2" wide frame member. The radio was attached with velcro to a plate on the back of the arm tower, sideways, with two zip ties for the radio, two to keep the wiring tight, and around 12" total of duck tape for the connections.

Last year, we had a 4-wheel crab drive, and had a module on each side of the robot (each module had a front and back pod). We hid the Jaguars and Victors on two perforated plates inside the modules.

In 2006, 07, and 08 we had a 6wd drop-center, so we put a piece of perforated aluminum somewhere in the middle and mounted the Victors, Spikes, and RC to this using zip ties for everything. Worked well.

Nice wiring! When wiring is this planned out and neat it eliminates many potential problems and makes troubleshooting so much easier.

Most of our electrical components were mounted with screws and lockwashers onto a 3/16" Lexan sheet mounted low to help with center of gravity. We used many zip ties and some wireway where we could. Our electrical board slid into two U-chanel pieces of aluminum so it could be slid out to work on. We used the Igus track to run the wires up to the chassis where it branched out to the motors, solenoids, etc. One big advantage of having a seperate electrical panel is that it can be assembled, wired and tested while others are working on the rest of the robot.

What we’ve done 2009 and this year was mount the cRIO on top of a piece of polycarbonate with a length of surgical tubing around the bottom edge to act as a cushion.

The rest of the electronics go wherever we find space on the bot. Though this year I was able to convince our electronics guy to put all the Jags on a vertical piece of poly to save space. Unfortunately the Jags ended up mounted behind the cRIO, making repairs a BIT difficult.