Project Hercules – Part 2 – Install Controller & Battery

In Part 2 of Project Hercules we’ll install the controller, battery, and power switch. Additionally we’ll connect the motors to the controller. The following parts will be needed:

  • 1 – toggle switch
  • 1 – red battery wire
  • 1 – battery connector (red and black wires with bayonet connector on one end)
  • 1 – Hercules controller
  • 4 – nylon spacers
  • 1 – battery bracket
  • 4 – M3 x 10 silver screws
  • 2 – M3 x 21 silver screws
  • 1 – programming cable
  • soldering iron
  • solder

Here’s the power wiring diagram included in the QuickStart document:

FireShot Screen Capture #166 - '' - woodlawnrobotics_org_wp-content_uploads_2014_09_hercules_quickstart_page2

1. Solder power wires to switch

First step is to solder the power leads to the power switch. The following photos show the switch, red battery wire, and battery connector:

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Notice the positioning in the second photo:

  • the red battery wire goes to the upper switch terminal
  • the red wire on the battery connector goes to the middle terminal.

To solder the wire we start by clamping the switch in a vice to hold it steady.

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The wires are to big to insert into the holes in the switch terminals so have to tac solder the wire into place.

  1. Melt a little solder on to the switch terminal.
  2. Melt the pre-tinned solder on the wire and press to the switch terminal
  3. Use the solder iron to heat both until they melt and then hold steady until the joint cools.

Here’s the red battery wire:

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Followed by the red battery connector wire:

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Examine the solder joints and verify that they are shiny and mechanically solid.

2. Connect power wires to controller

Find the controller and remove from packaging. Battery power will be connected to the green screw terminals on the upper left corner.

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The diameter of the wires is too large to go into the screw terminal. To make it fit use wire cutters to trim a bit of the diameter from the wire. The wires are pre-tinned so it’s easy to trim.

Loosen the terminal screws but do not remove.

Bend a right angle elbow in the red battery wire directly above the un-insulated end of the wire. This bend needs to be very tight so that the wire goes up immediately after being inserted into the terminal.

Insert the red battery wire into the lower terminal labelled “VM”. Tighten the terminal screw but do not over tighten as the controller can be damaged.

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Bend a right angle elbow in the black battery connector wire directly above the un-insulated end of the wire. This bend needs to be very tight so that the wire goes up immediately after being inserted into the terminal.

Insert the black battery connector wire into the upper terminal labelled “GND”. Tighten the terminal screw but do not over tighten as the controller can be damaged.

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3. Install controller in chassis

The controller should be installed in the rear of the chassis – this is the end with the motors that have encoders. Here’s a photo of space where the controller will be installed.

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Insert a nylon spacer in each of the four holes on the bottom panel as indicated in this photo:

FireShot Screen Capture #169 - 'Project Hercules – Part 2 – Install Controller & Battery I Woodlawn School Robotics' - woodlawnrobotics_org_2014_09_28_project-hercules-part-2-install-controller-battery

Place the controller on top of the nylon spacers. The controller should be oriented so that the green power terminal is on the right hand side as shown in the next photo:

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Secure the controller in place with four M3 x 10 screws. The screws go through the controller board, nylon spacer, bottom panel and into the chassis side rails. Do not over-tighten the screws.

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4. Install switch

Remove the top nut, tabbed washer and lock washer from the switch. Turn the bottom nut as far down on the switch threads as it will go. Insert the switch in the hole on the side rail as shown in the next photo. The two switch terminals with soldered wires should be towards the front of the chassis.

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Place the lock washer over the threads on the switch outside the chassis. Then screw on the top nut. Carefully tighten the top nut with a pair of pliers until the switch is firmly locked in place. Note that the tabbed washer is not used.

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The next photo shows the completed switch installation.

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5. Install battery

As shown in the photo, the battery should be placed behind the front motors but in front of the controller. The batter should be turned so that the wires on on the right hand side below the switch. On the left side, the battery should be flush against the chassis side rail. On the battery, the small white charger connector should be on the controller side. The red and black power wires should be to the front.

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The battery will be held in place by a bracket on the left side. Start by removing the protective paper from the bracket:

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Place the bracket over the left end of the battery and align with the inner screw holes.

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Secure the bracket with a long M3x21 screw on each side.

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6. Connect battery power to controller

Set the power switch in the off position. This should be towards the front of the chassis. Then connect the battery power cable to the power connector. The connection can only be made in the proper orientation.

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7. Connect motor power to controller

Insert the power connector from each motor on the corresponding connector on the controller. Looking from the front of the chassis, the motor connectors are the four white nylon 2-prong male connectors on the right side of the controller behind the green power terminal.  The front two connectors are motor group M1 and will be used to control the left side motors. The rear two connectors are motor group M2 and will be used to control the right side motors.

Start by connecting the right rear motor to the front M2 connector as shown in the photo:

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Next connect the right front motor to the rear M2 connector:

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And then connect the left rear motor to the front M1 connector:

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Finally connect the left front motor to the rear M1 connector:

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Carefully route the motor and power wires around the controller and neatly tuck under sides of controller and battery.

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8. Connect motor encoders to controller

Find the J2 and J4 jumper blocks on the rear left of the controller. Each jumper row has 4 posts. J2 is the rear row and J4 is the front row.

FireShot Screen Capture #170 - 'Project Hercules – Part 2 – Install Controller & Battery I Woodlawn School Robotics' - woodlawnrobotics_org_2014_09_28_project-hercules-part-2-install-controller-battery

Connect the encoder cable from the right motor to J2. The encoder cable has three wires – black, red, and yellow. The black wire should go on the left post which is labelled GND. The right post will be empty and unused.

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Connect the encoder cable from the left motor to J4. The encoder cable has three wires – black, red, and yellow. The black wire should go on the left post which is labelled GND. The right post will be empty and unused.

Neatly route and tuck the extra encoder cable between the motors and controller.

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9. Connect programming port cable

Locate the 6 pin jumper labelled J17 on the left side of the controller.

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Find the programming cable shown in this photo:

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Connect the programming cable to the controller. The white wire on the cable should be towards the rear of the controller on the first pin labelled DTR as shown:

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Slide the programming cable through the slot on the left side of the chassis.

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