I did a dumb thing - small, cheap Rover testbed

I considered that one but with the dry dirt roads, grass etc around where I live and how its less efficient, was hoping for a 1/10th size with skid steer tire style. But like Dave says, there’s not much in between very cheap and expensive. I’ve been on the lookout for cheap electric wheel chairs on craigslist. Figure if I’m going to build something may as well have it useful, I’d like to put a box on top, trailer hitch… as I’ve seen on youtube and make it a utility rover.

Electric wheelchair motors are crazy powerful and often cheap! You’ll likely incur some expense finding powerful enough motor drivers, though.

I almost ordered some components for a wheelchair motor powered electric lawnmower before I went all-in and converted my gasoline powered zero turn mower.

Thank you all for narrowing down my shopping list. I need one of these, too!

Speaking of shopping lists, I recognize that using a Cube Orange isn’t exactly a cheap option. I happened to have one that I wish I’d treated better, so it’s now my testbed FC.

For 1/3 the price, if you still want an H7 processor, plenty of RAM, and a bunch of bells and whistles, I don’t think you can beat the Matek H743-Wing. If I had to buy an FC for this project, that one would’ve been a frontrunner. It has all the horsepower required for scripting and advanced features without the pricetag of some of the other H7 boards.

If you are truly on a budget, Holybro’s Kakute series will get you going.

If one were to splurge a little and move away from the Cube architecture, I think mRo’s Control Zero or Pixracer series might be worth checking out, but again, those aren’t exactly for the budget-minded build.

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Size and Modular design was the motivation for my new build. Doug

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SPAM---- Small Property Autonomous Mower

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I have all of these except the Control Zero. All good. I would buy another Matek H743 if I needed another FC.

That’s a beauty, Doug. I eventually want to have something like that do trim near fences and such. I’d like to have it very low profile where it can mow under the lowest board of a wooden fence, but that will be a tall order (pun intended) I think. I might have to make a mini sickle bar mower or something. Who knows if I will ever get to it anyway!

Looking forward to seeing yours in operation.

I thought I was upgrading my FC when I moved from a Pixhawk 1 to a Kakute F7. I then realized that it only had 1 MB of Flash and so didn’t support the full ArduRover builds. :anguished: I even built this home-made carrier board for it image
but ripped it out to put in a Cube Orange. So, it is begging for a home on a small rover.

But I do like the looks of the Matek H743-Wing.

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Yes, I don’t buy 1MB boards any longer. But the Custom Build Server has breathed some new life into them!

I have the mini version of the board and it’s impressive. Talk about feature rich in a small package. And I think the price is about right.

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Doug, that’s some nice work. I considered building one similar for sure.

Is it up and running yet? Do the fixed front wheels drag a lot during turns?

What’s the electrical system like (I don’t see any significant battery, so inquiring minds want to know…)?


On the subject of flight controllers, I’m so tempted to order one of those Matek H743-Wing boards, but I don’t have a project in mind for it, so that seems wasteful. I’m wondering how it compares to the Cube series with respect to IMU accuracy since the IMU ICs are exposed, unheated, and not vibration isolated like the Cube.

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I don’t have a Cube but I’m sure they will all be compromised to some degree. Properly mounted (with isolation) I don’t have any issues with Vibration and that’s on a very light weight Mini version of the H743. The Tcal routine is there to compensate for IMU temp changes. Of course it’s algorithmic compensation so I suppose it can’t be as good as fixed temp with a heater.

Perhaps it just comes down to the use case but I’m very happy with the performance.

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Hey, if you want to build one for fun (that eventually ends up at my place)… I’ll buy all the parts… :slight_smile: I know you have nothing else to do! :slight_smile:

Yuri: It is not up and running yet. I am waiting on a broach to finish machining a key-way in the the hubs for the wheels to attach to the drive motors. The front wheels don’t drag much as I have used this design before. I have a 33" with a 20 HP twin on it I built a few yrs ago and it has casters up front. It is just too heavy for a test bed. So I decided to shelf it and build one with RTK and Cube Orange.( was not counting on all the peripherals having newly designed connectors) so I have to order a lot of new parts.My goal is to learn this RTK and make an ALL ELECTRIC robot with quick connect implements for spraying, mowing,delivering beer,& and feeding livestock etc>>>>

The power is delivered via LIPOs in the right side blue box. well see how long that works.! Doug

small lipos1|320x240 small lipos2

Yuri: It is not up and running yet. I am waiting on a broach to finish machining a key-way in the the hubs for the wheels to attach to the drive motors. The front wheels don’t drag much as I have used this design before. I have a 33" with a 20 HP twin on it I built a few yrs ago and it has casters up front. It is just too heavy for a test bed. So I decided to shelf it and build one with RTK and Cube Orange.( was not counting on all the peripherals having newly designed connectors) so I have to order a lot of new parts.My goal is to learn this RTK and make an ALL ELECTRIC robot with quick connect implements for spraying, mowing,delivering beer,& and feeding livestock etc>>>>

The power is delivered via LIPOs in the right side blue box. well see how long that works.! Doug

small lipos1|320x240

Kenny : That’s some good work,on that board.
How many projects do you have going?
Sounds like you and Yuri have a lot going on.with FCs.
Doug

The mower is really my only active project with Ardupilot. I bought all the parts that Yuri specified for his quadcopter but they are still in the shipping boxes and bags! I hope to start on that very soon, though. I also have had the parts for a loooong time to build a bathymetry survey boat for my work as Randy describes in Mapping a lake with ArduPilot but that project got shelved when a higher priority one came up. And there are numerous non-Ardupilot projects on the farm and around, as I’m sure everyone has! I have a hard time finishing anything, sadly.

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How did you make that board, Kenny? Looks really nice!

I designed it in Eagle and then used the Toner Transfer Method to transfer laser printer toner to a double-sided copper clad board. Then I etched it with ammonium persulfate, drilled the holes with a little drill press that holds a Dremel tool.

It really doesn’t make sense to go the complete DIY route since PCBs from China are so inexpensive and so much better than a complete DIY, EXCEPT that it is cool to see the whole process happen, and if a board is simple enough (mainly meaning few vias, which are a pain because you have to solder wires in each hole), then you once the design is complete (which can take days), then you can have the finished board in hours, rather than about a week. So, I do it sometimes, still.

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I hadn’t done much with the truck other than test load some firmware, scripts, and some ESP32 experiments. And then…

It got a major upgrade this week with an M8P I forgot I had (the fixed base portion of a HERE2 system that was ill suited to its intended task) along with a big battery and mRo 915MHz telemetry. I flashed the latest 4.2 master firmware and tuned it up.

It’s almost comical to see this thing rip around the yard at 4-5 mph in AUTO mode!

This will likely serve as my Ackerman steering testbed for S-Curves when the firmware is up to task.