New BlimpDuino board: smaller, neater, better!

Here's our latest, greatest BlimpDuino (Arduino-clone autonomous blimp controller) board: double-sided, silkscreened neatly laid out and otherwise in much better shape. Shown above is the top side (inside the gondola) of the new board (right) compared to the old one (left).

I'll be showing this at Maker Faire tomorrow and Sunday.

Below is the bottom side of the old (left) and new (right) boards. Differences include putting all the chips inside the gondola ("top") and just the IR sensors, the on/off and reset switches and the FTDI programming port on the outside ("bottom")

You can buy these boards for $12.50 each here. You'll also need to buy a Boarduino kit ($17.50) for the Ardunino components.

Other parts required:
--On/off switch
--One of these capacitors
--And one of these capacitors
--4 IR receivers
--2 motor driver chips

If you want to fab the PCB boards yourself, here are the Eagle files: Schematic and PCB layout.

These are probably the last through-hole board design we'll make, since we've pretty much got this board where we want it. After this, we'll be moving to a much smaller surface-mount design using a whole new design with more sensors, LEDs for directional feedback and a more powerful processor. But that will take a while and in the meantime, the current BlimpDuino board is a great starter platform for blimp robotics.

The Arduino code to run it is here.

Views: 3185

Comment by Peter Klemperer on May 3, 2008 at 1:52pm
Oh, anyone else notice the setup fee (10 bucks)? Anyone wanna buy together to avoid all of us paying the same fee? I wanna put an order in quick (by Monday) so please PM me if you want one and we can sort it out.

Also, in ordering the Boarduino setup, does anyone have experience with using the "USB cable FTDI TTL232 Cable"? Any experience using it with a mac?
Comment by Wayne Dancer on May 6, 2008 at 12:59pm
Mind if I take a go at a smaller version?
Comment by Peter Klemperer on May 6, 2008 at 1:07pm
I ordered mine monday, looks like the lead is a couple of weeks, but I'll post when I get it and put it together.
Comment by Harrison Jones on May 6, 2008 at 5:12pm
How do you supply voltage to your blimp? I noticed that the motor controller chip requires a minimum of 4.5V. How do you manage this assuming you are using the stock 3.6V Li-Ion battery that comes with the blimp? Does the chip handle 3.6V?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 6, 2008 at 9:14pm
we use 7.4v li-polys. Next version of the board will either use all 3v components or have a step-up+step-down power supply that can handle a range of battery types.
Comment by Harrison Jones on May 7, 2008 at 11:30am
With 7.5 LiPo how do you get around the motor voltage problem: my motors at least are "used" to 3.4 volts and I'm not sure what would happen if I put 7.4V, do you use different motors or do you do something altogether?

EDIT: Hey, I found a HBridge chip that operates at 3v and actually has 4 motor outputs. What do you think?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 7, 2008 at 11:54am
our current power supply outputs 5v and 3v.


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