Electrical Systems and ideas...

I love all aspects of robotics but I find I have a special interest in electrical systems. Something about seeing a neat system make me happy. :slight_smile: Anyway I created this thread for teams to post pictures of their electrical systems as well as post any unique aspects or little secrets the have learned. Hopefully other electricians can learn and incorporate new ideas into their own systems. Ill start with some of our own secrets. Here’s the pic.

As you can see we did a lot of our wiring along the frame and used ALLOT of tubing. You can see between our motors neon tubes which gave a cool blue under glow :cool:. Also see our control board? thats because its mounted back to back to the power board (even the mounting holes line up). Well thats a overview of a couple of the things we did. I would really like to see posts of other systems. Even if you don’t do electrics post a pic and tell us what you can about your system.

116’s cube is amazing:

125’s tower is awesome:

188’s trap-door:

There are a few more excellent ones out there! And they just keep getting better every year =)


Yeah ive gone back and looked at every electrical system picture posted on CD up to four years back and those were some of my favorites.

I think 968’s wiring is one of the best (cleanest neatest) every year. Travis Covington and his students do an amazing job. I don’t want to post a picture without asking them first though.

Also, team 60 always has very neat wiring. I think they even do custom printing on their heat shrink.

Here was our electrical box for 2005 in its early stages.

I always liked Wildstang’s metal grating that they can easily mount their components and zip tie wires too…

IMHO tubing is a pain. Can’t trace wires easily if problem occurs, zip ties can do almost the same function, unnecessary weight (the little things add up!). Also, if the wirer of the tubing is not super picky about how they go on they can look very sloppy, but on the other side of the coin they can look very very neat.

I think a good electrical design is pretty much to the T what 116 did. All of their electronics and controls were in one spot nice neat and organized with output and input wires; there weren’t wires running all over the robot which is very very difficult to make it look neat and organized. The box design is very beneficial for the cooling of the system in which I believe they made a wind tunnel effect, one fan on one end blowing in, another an on the opposite end blowing out.

//Off topic
I love the illegal use of electrical tape in the picture :stuck_out_tongue: … not quite sure what it accomplishes though…haha

I think It looks neat myself. We may be using slves ourselves this year so that our wires aren’t everywhere. We as you know will be trying a box out next year ourselves.

Good looking wiring is not hard to achive. The main thing is just being careful when cutting wires to length. Route them smartly and size the length logically. A straight shot is not the right answer, but neither is a giant loop. Logical routing is the key, and super flexible wire is a step in the right direction getting there.

Actually we kept a wire diagram so i could trace any wire. This is one thing i don’t see enough of. The one single most useful tool (even more useful than your trusty multimeter) is a wiring diagram as it allows quick and easy diagnosis and repair of problems.

However useful a diagram may be, I still think neat, organized, cleanly routed, and labeled wiring is even more useful.

Labeling is always good idea for sure! Labeling both ends of a wire saves a great deal of stress. Typically, components are numbered (so victor one powers motor one) and the wires are numbered to match. It can simplify the process of tracing a wire through a big bundle, since you can now just skip right to the components.

I’ve also found it useful to, where possible, keep things like speed controllers that run motors on the right side of the bot on the right side of your electrical board. Also, I like having all the victors and spikes in two paralel lines. This way, all the 12+ and negative wires can be run between the two banks of components, and all the output wires can run off to the various parts of the bot. I find that this helps speed up the wiring process, since all the wires running to the components can be very accurately sized (if you have regular spacing, that each wire will be incrementally longer then the last) and can be wired up outside of the robot, and then plopped down in the bot when the mechanical work is done. All thats left to do then is run the wires from motors to the board, and your done.

There are lots of ways to wire a 'bot. I guess every team has their own preferences in that area.

-Andy A.

edit: spelling, grammer etc.

Right now I’m trying to design a electrical/pneumatics box. I’m making it aesthetically pleasing as well as electrically. I’m having a little trouble with solenoid placing and getting my connections in a ordered fashion. (by the way what connectors should i use for the control wires?) I’m making this look extremely cool, even found a person who supplies led boards that flash in sequence like the cylons or knight rider (actually its almost impossible to find large ones). I’m looking for a metal grill. To be more detailed, metal with a large quantity of uniform minute holes. If anyone knows what i can use for this it would be a great help to getting this box complete.

You can try perforated sheets of aluminum. I know that there are a few companies online that make it, though I’m not sure how much it is. I know team 1148(?), Harvard Westlake, has used that material. Good luck on electrical system, and I would definitely be interested in some pictures when it’s done.

You mean like this? I believe this one is incandescent (maybe halogen) lights though, so it will take some power to run.

I wanted something with more than 8 LEDs and i only found one site that supplies.


Don’t bother looking i found some on a europian modding site. If you ever want to add anything really distinctive to electrical work always go to a PC modding site. You will be seriously surprised with what you can find, especially on europian sites!*[/quote]

I’m only posting on this thread three times in a row because the edit button timed out. I need to find a connector. It looks like your average power connector but instead of having the wire come out one end and having the male or female connector on the other, the connector is on the side. Its like a L and its yellow but it looks like they make them in red and blue. I ask because they are on a robot made by team RUSH in a picture (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/pictures.php?s=&action=single&picid=9961&direction=DESC&sort=date&perrow=4&trows=10&quiet=Verbose) i have and i really need to get them (their the ones conected to the power board). Also if someone from team RUSH sees this I’m curious what the grey box with the keypad was for. I know its the Auton kiosk but could you go into more detail?

I think you are looking for a flag terminal. Is that what you mean? Also, all terminals are color coded according to wire size. :slight_smile:

Perfect! Thats exactly what i wanted. Now can anyone tell me what team RUSH’s box (the gray one) is. I have a general idea about what it does but its not like anything ive seen.