To change a battery the latch rotates and disengages from the round standoff allowing the tray to rotate until it hard stops against the frame tube. Once in this position, the connector can be accessed and unplugged. The battery can then slide over the lip of the tray and out of the robot, from between the tray and the belly pan(not pictured). The process is reversed to load a fresh battery.
Another cool feature of this mount is the way it ensures the connector stays plugged in throughout the match. After a few unfortunate mishaps in elims, our team usually zipties the connectors together for every elims match. In this design, as the battery is latched into position, the face of the battery slightly compresses the 6 AWG wire running from the lugs to the connector, against the two top standoffs. This creates a strain relief at the connector by effectively shortening the length of loose wire in this area so that the connector cannot be unplugged without first overcoming the small stiff section of wire behind it.
Lastly, special consideration was taken to mitigate the possibility of the latch coming loose during a match resulting in a dead robot. When the assembly is in the latched position, due to the geometry of the pivot points, the weight of the battery actually acts to force the latch further into the latched position. Furthermore, any forces pushing up from underneath the robot will do the same.
If this design gets built there will likely need to be multiple revisions to the latch geometry at the latch standoff interface to get the right amount of actuation resistance over the bump, since I just took a WAG at the right geometry.
Thoughts and feedback would be appreciated, thanks!
I think the biggest thing that strikes me is that if you’re doing this from the bottom, and don’t have access to the top, plugging in and unplugging the battery strikes me as particularly painful.
I’d definitely recommend playing around with the latch geometry using a 3D printer or laser cutter before the full fabrication. Linkages and latches like that can be a bit finicky. Worst case you add something to hold the hook in position I think.
Access to the connector may be a pain. I’m hoping it won’t be but we’ll have to test it. There is about a half inch to get you fingers around in and get a grip, which isn’t much. After measuring our battery cable lengths though they may be enough room to partially remove the battery off the back corner and let it drop a bit which would make it easier.
Just gonna have to build it and find out.
I would revisit having the wires go between the battery and the battery holder (particularly conductive material). We had a sensor wire rub against our frame or something until the insulation wore off; caused the sensor to not work and the frame to become become electrically connected I think. No one wants a firework show right next to your battery!
Also keep in mind what happens to the latch ifwhen your robot gets turned over on the field intentionally or not. Or when defense causes negative Gs to your robot.
Underside battery mounts are fairly common, I could list off at least a dozen that I remember seeing in-person. The vast majority of those used a bottom plate that attached with screws to rivnuts or similar on the bellypan. That also usually involved a student using an impact driver and lifting the battery above their head while under the robot on the cart, or a multi-student process involving tilting the robot on its side.
Underside batteries are a solid meh for those reasons, but assuming you’re sticking with that, this doesn’t seem like an inherently bad implementation.
No offense, but this design initially strikes me as something overengineered that could be used to dupe judges into giving out a design award. I’ve done the same thing a few times. I’d recommend figuring out an easy way to show it off if it does end up on a robot. Presented with the same hinge concept, I think a lot of people would go for a piano hinged door with a fastener securing it on the opposite side.
As Nick notes, you’ll want a cotter pin or something for a negative-g event, and the battery cable is more annoying that I think you take it to be. IRL grabbing a battery and connector is important to figure out how annoying cable routing and unplugging it can be.
Ideally, the only thing in the yellow box is the battery connector and cables. That box also extends up and down like an inch. Some people have different shaped hands and any restriction will get old fast.
Replying to this I would say this is a really neat prototype and well thought out idea. I don’t know if it’s entirely practical. Typically in First history batteries are hard enough with a whole bunch of subsystems in the way and I don’t think it would make it any easier if to remove the battery you had to pull in up well angled down. Also would it be raised from the belly-pan since the latch mechanism is dropping down. Additionally I would have to look at specific dimensions but your power wires running under the top standoffs might need a little more clearance especially to attach them to the connector. Still it’s a pretty sweet locking mount.
You should mock this up in something simulating the size and weight of a real robot and make sure it is possible to get the battery in and out with too much trouble and that you have sufficient access to unplug the connector. You may also want to build one, make sure it is working properly, then intentionally bend it in different ways to see if it still works before using it in a competition robot.
It looks like the two pocketed pieces that are stationary are only attached at one end. If they twist relative to each other, the latch may only work on one side.