1. For downloading SimTools plugins you need a Download Package. Get it with virtual coins that you receive for forum activity or Buy Download Package - We have a zero Spam tolerance so read our forum rules first.

    Buy Now a Download Plan!
  2. Do not try to cheat our system and do not post an unnecessary amount of useless posts only to earn credits here. We have a zero spam tolerance policy and this will cause a ban of your user account. Otherwise we wish you a pleasant stay here! Read the forum rules
  3. We have a few rules which you need to read and accept before posting anything here! Following these rules will keep the forum clean and your stay pleasant here. Do not following these rules will lead to permanent exclusion from this website: Read the forum rules.

Pololu RoboClaw 2x60A Motor Controller with USB

Discussion in 'SimTools compatible interfaces' started by prodigy, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. prodigy

    prodigy Burning revs

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    456
    Location:
    Croatia
    Balance:
    6,629Coins
    Ratings:
    +398 / 4 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, 3DOF, AC motor, SCN5, JRK
    Can some please explain me a bit if this controller is also H-Bridge in one, like Pololu JRK controller?
    It looks really powerful, 60A per channel with 120A peak, and the price is almost the same as two JRK controllers.

    What's the downside of this controller?
    Can it be controlled with an interface like JRK utility or does it need an extra control board (Arduino) to run?
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  2. Ads Master

    Ads Master

    Balance:
    Coins
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
  3. bsft

    bsft

    Balance:
    Coins
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    It does say on the page
    "Orion Robotics has written an Arduino library for the RoboClaw that makes it easy to interface these motor controllers with an Arduino. The library comes with several example sketches that demonstrate different methods of controlling the RoboClaw."
    Id say that would be yes, you need an ard to run it.
    JRKS dont really run separate controllers on their own, I asked Pololu about this a while ago. JRK is stand alone unit.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. prodigy

    prodigy Burning revs

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    456
    Location:
    Croatia
    Balance:
    6,629Coins
    Ratings:
    +398 / 4 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, 3DOF, AC motor, SCN5, JRK
    Ah, I see now, haven't noticed that.
    I got sidetracked with this line: "This RoboClaw features a USB interface that acts as a virtual serial (COM) port, allowing it to be controlled directly from a computer."

    I thought that with "interface" it means something like utility or software, similar to JRK's one.
    Thanks for explanation.
  5. RacingMat

    RacingMat Well-Known Member Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    2,047
    Location:
    Marseille - FRANCE
    Balance:
    18,659Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,944 / 17 / -2
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    Hi Prodigy,

    "Robots" are often battery powered and autonomy is a major issue.
    In consequence, I have read that "robot" oriented boards are often designed to send back current to recharge the battery.

    When you use a PSU, it is not good for it. So you may use a diode and a power resistor to dissipate the returned current.
    Check this point if this is the case for this particular model ;)
  6. eaorobbie

    eaorobbie Well-Known Member Staff Member SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,582
    Occupation:
    CAD Detailer
    Location:
    Ellenbrook, Western Australia
    Balance:
    19,808Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,656 / 22 / -2
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, JRK, SimforceGT, 6DOF
    Not sure need to do some reading, if the controller supports closed loop position control, then the answer is yes, it has serial packized control, which means we could possible drive it like the Kangaroo, in SimTools.
    Need to investigate more.
    Could be a nice find the early version of this didnt support position control.
  7. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,114
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, USA
    Balance:
    15,518Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,789 / 31 / -1
    This indeed appears to be an all-in-one solution very similar to the jrk’s all the way down to the setting app with a graph. It has a max baud of 1Mbit/s. Simtools would probably require a custom setting similar to the jrks or the use of an ardrino or similar microcontroller to send commands to the roboclaw. However, the claim of 60 amps with 120 amp peaks is somewhat deceptive until you look into the manual. It basically states that if you experience fast stop and go or reverse conditions, it is not recommended to rely on the peak current to get you by because you will get erratic behavior and possibly damage your roboclaw. It says that using peak power should only be considered if it is under a light load and not expected to start, stop, or change directions rapidly. If it were under a light load, then why would you need to use peak current in the first place! Since the roboclaw’s microcontroller shares the same power supply as the h-bridge, the h-bridge can end up starving the microcontroller for power it appears. RacingMat also makes a valid point. You could try what he recommends if you can find the components rated with a high enough amperage. You may also get by if you would be able to add a large battery (car) in parallel to the power supply to stabilize the supply somewhat. It might be worth trying out if your willing to risk $200usd and you don’t expect to need much over stated max current in stall and reverse situations though! And thanks for bringing it to the community’s attention! :thumbs
  8. bsft

    bsft

    Balance:
    Coins
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    @BlazinH
    From the page on the site

    "Orion Robotics has written an Arduino library for the RoboClaw that makes it easy to interface these motor controllers with an Arduino. The library comes with several example sketches that demonstrate different methods of controlling the RoboClaw."

    Id say that would be yes, you need an ard to run it.
    JRKS dont really run separate controllers on their own, I asked Pololu about this a while ago. JRK is stand alone unit.
    I have asked pololu in the past if there is a more powerful JRK, but they said no, you need an ard and hbridges or the claw.
    However, sounds like ard codes are coming along well, so it will be interesting to see as I am code hopeless and only stuck with JRK.
    I had to get @eaorobbie to write the code for a dash for me.
  9. bsft

    bsft

    Balance:
    Coins
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    true. however I use both setups, car battery in parallel with a PSU, battery handles the back current and also a decent PSU from ebay, that has been on the "all in one" sim, well 2 of them and being thrashed for over 5 hours straight, they didnt miss a beat nor fail or shut down.
    Not cheap at $120 including shipping each, but have proved their reliability. Ive never had to put a diode in place which is good on my side of things.
  10. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,114
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, USA
    Balance:
    15,518Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,789 / 31 / -1
    I believe I stand corrected! I initially thought you could send a target position with serial directly from simtools. But this doesn't appear to be the case. You must convert the axis into an analog voltage representation with an arduino or other controller if I'm interpreting the manual correctly. But I'm still a little confused about the whole thing now! Thanks @bsft for setting the record straight!
  11. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,114
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, USA
    Balance:
    15,518Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,789 / 31 / -1
    I think we could use some new sets of eyes on this to give their opinions too!
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  12. doctorxeno

    doctorxeno Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Messages:
    33
    Balance:
    559Coins
    Ratings:
    +18 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    2DOF, DC motor, Arduino
    I am using a PSU and 2x Pololu High-Power Motor Driver 36v20 CS ...
    Is it wise to connect a diode and resistor? If so... which ones and where to put them?

    Greets Jeroen
  13. Pit

    Pit - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3,021
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Balance:
    29,712Coins
    Ratings:
    +3,032 / 30 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, Arduino, 6DOF
    I want to come back to the RoboClaw. Apart from the software adjustment the RoboClaw can be used with an ATX type power supply, but if it senses anything over 16V it will shut down. If someone is willing to help building a test unit using RoboClaws I am very interested :) (PS: please no jrks12 postings :p, not yet) .
  14. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,114
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, USA
    Balance:
    15,518Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,789 / 31 / -1
    Unfortunately @Pit I don't believe there is anything to come back to here! Besides what I stated above, while the RoboClaw has a built in PID control, it is used for speed control only, not position. It could probably still be used as a "dumb" motor controller with an arduino or other micro controller but I would go with a sabertooth 2x60 instead.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  15. Pit

    Pit - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Gold Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Messages:
    3,021
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Balance:
    29,712Coins
    Ratings:
    +3,032 / 30 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, Arduino, 6DOF
    Ok let's start with the project :)
  16. BlazinH

    BlazinH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2,114
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, USA
    Balance:
    15,518Coins
    Ratings:
    +1,789 / 31 / -1
    Nothing needs to be started @Pit , already done (I was told anyway)! The sabertooths can be used like an h-bridge so all you need to do is use an arduino with a modified h-bridge code that works with it. Look in the sabertooths manual under "analog mode". Note that you will need to use a low pass filter as explained in the manual. Also ask @eaorobbie about the code because he's stated several members have used the sabertooths like this already.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. ShapeShaver

    ShapeShaver New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Occupation:
    Product Design and Development
    Location:
    Utah, USA
    Balance:
    161Coins
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, AC motor, 4DOF, 6DOF
    I know this thread is over a year and a half old, but I just purchased a 60Amp roboclaw and the current information listed on the RoboClaw website says;

    - USB Interface
    - 3.3V Compliant Outputs
    - 5V Tolerant Inputs
    - Quadrature Encoders
    - Absolute Encoders
    - Position and Velocity Control
    - Encoders Supported in all Modes
    - High Resolution Current Sense
    - High Speed Direction Change
    - 5V 3A Switch Mode BEC
    - Battery Level Monitoring
    - Dual Channel Quadrature Decoding
    - Dual 19,600,000 PPS Per Channel
    - Thermal Protection
    - Regenerative Breaking
    - Serial, RC or Analog Control
    - Easy to Use
    - Can be Bussed

    Some of this may be new information, or it could be a revised version of the controller. But, what would be the limitations or drawbacks to using this controller given these updated specs?
  18. ShapeShaver

    ShapeShaver New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Occupation:
    Product Design and Development
    Location:
    Utah, USA
    Balance:
    161Coins
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, AC motor, 4DOF, 6DOF
    Ok, just found a few other posts about the RoboClaw that answer some of these questions. Still looking to find a sucessful implimentation though.