Selecting DC Motors for Mobile Robots

This article will highlight some of the tips required in selecting DC motors for mobile robots.

The summary of these tips are

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1. Concept of the Mobile Robot
2. Design of the Mechanical Structures
3. Basic Physics for DC Motor Specifications
4. Optimisation and Trade-offs of Your DC Motors Selection
5. Shopping for Your DC Motors

Concept of the Mobile Robot and Design of its Mechanical Structures

Once you have a concept of what your mobile robot will look like and have designed the mechanical structures start with some basic physics to get an idea of your DC motor requirements.

Basic Physics for DC Motor Specifications

When selecting DC motors, you must understand some of the basic physics that will affect your robot. Some of these physics concepts you should understand are force, weight, mass, torque, acceleration, velocity, and the relationships amongst these quantities. For example, it is important to realize that when working with DC motors, it is essential to remember the relationship between power, voltage, and current.

Power = Voltage x Current

Pwatts = I * V

Another key relationship is:

Power = Torque x Angular Velocity

Pwatts = T * Ï‰

Optimisation and Trade-offs of Your DC Motors Selection

After you have calculated your requirements, you can further define the motors that will best suit your robot. This is because the calculated values are in a perfect world and most robots do not get to operate in a perfect world. Also, in most cases, you will not find the perfect motors for your robot and you will need to make some trade-offs in order to make your final motor selection. A good rule of thumb sometimes used is to find a motor that will deliver at least twice your requirements or greater. But when you register for our training, we can guide you through this critical decision stage because the choice of a DC motor can affect the performance of your mobile robot project either negatively or positively.

Shopping for Your DC Motors

Finally, you can start looking for DC motors that will meet your needs armed with realistic specifications and an understanding of how they relate to your mobile robotâ€™s performance and capabilities.

Take a Quiz

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1. A device that converts motion into a sequence of digital pulses is called a/an —.

2. A motor, arm, relay or any device that produces a physical effect is called —

3. What does SCARA stand for?

4. If a robot’s output is typically carried out by “actuators”, what input devices are found on a robot?

5. A device for measuring or maintaining orientation, based on the principles of angular momentum is a/an —

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