Igor and Otto

by Dermot Tynan in Microtransat

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 08:00

"Igor" and "Otto" mounted to the inspection panel

The Kalopa motor control board was designed as a general-purpose Atmel board with ancillary electronics for a wide variety of purposes. It includes two H-Bridge motor controllers, driven by two 16 bit PWM outputs. You can exchange one of the motor controllers for an 8-channel servo controller, also using one of the PWM outputs. It has a standard RS232 port with an RJ45 connector on the end. There is a MAX232 to convert logic levels to proper RS232 voltages. If you want to use radio control, you can instead populate the board with an R5-434 radio receiver. It will listen for data on 434MHz and feed it to the Atmel. The processor itself is the bog-standard Atmel ATmega8 with 8k of code and about 512 bytes of RAM.

One of these boards will be used by the BB Pilot design, with the radio receiver option. It will use the servo output to drive two RC servos. One for the rudder and one for the main sail.

The main ship will use two boards. Igor is used to monitor power levels, communicate with the main processor, and control the auxiliary power rails. It will measure raw solar voltage, solar current provided to the system, battery voltage, and the current consumed by the various components. It will also monitor outside daylight and temperature, and control the navigation lights. In the event of low power, Igor can shut off everything except itself and the steering system (Otto).

Speaking of Otto, this board controls the rudder surfaces and the main sail servo. It reads the wind direction and the compass heading, operating a PID controller to steer the boat to the specified course.

It's possible that Igor and Otto are one and the same, if I can fit all of the code into a single Atmel chip.

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