P08205: RP 1 Motor Module First Generation
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Bucci Interview 20071002

Interview with Andy Bucci

Interviewer(s): Wendy Fung

Interviewee: Andy Bucci, RP10 Motor Module, EE

Date: 2 October 2007, Phone

What was your role in the project?
I worked on the design of the battery system, power distribution, pilot electronics (H-Bridges for steering and driving). I also worked on the braking system.
What kind of challenges did you run into?
The H-Bridge had a lot of protection against undervoltage and overcurrent. It was purchased with the belief that it would help the team if things went wrong but it proved to be overly sensitive. It would shut down when it wasn't intended and the reasons were unknown. There was no working microcontroller but having one could have reset the H-Bridge when it shut down and continue on. There were difficulties dealing with the other EE. They did not account for what was necessary for the H-Bridge nor seem to pay attention other EE subsystems.
How was the interfacing between the motor module and the platform?
Just a battery and a few wires were all that was needed to connect to the platform. There was only one connector for the power. There was no control on the motor module itself. The platform team connected directly to the H-Bridge. In order to keep the gears from skipping, a slow acceleration was required.
What did you think of the platform?
The rectangular platform seemed a little flimsy. But the triangular platform seemed okay.
Any other thoughts?
A lot of things can be bought off the shelf, such as the IC Bridge. The PCB board could have been bought but the team wanted to build it by hand. The CAN programming was difficult due to the lack of knowledge. There were a few things that could have made things smoother. The ME could account for the space necessary for the wires. There were problems with signals between the H-Bridge and the microcontroller. This could have been resolved with better communication between EE. The difference between the RP10 and the RP100 was mainly the battery and the H-Bridge. The H-Bridge for the RP100 was handbuilt since the ones that large on the market were bigger than they wanted and expensive. The turnaround time on the PCB board is about one week. If the budget was good, multiple revisions could be done. It would be best if the PCB board was designed early since it would help in the long run. And it would help with determining connections.
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