Inspired by John Arne's post, I got a Redcat Rockslide, which is totally cool and a great robotics platform. As you can see, it's really easy to add a mounting platform for electronics (that's APM with GPS and Xbee mounted above) and there's LOADS of room. You could even have it carry a laptop if you wanted. BTW, that's the 1/8 size Redcat shown above, which is $236. I think the 1/10 size Redcat would probably be just as good for most uses, and it's just $159. [Update: the 1:10 isn't big enough. See this comparison]

I've registered the ArduRover name, and am now just looking for the best starting point to modify the APM code for ground rovers. Since James Goppert is part of the APM dev team, we'll probably start with his rover code, which you can see at work here. But if others have code or sensor additions to the basic APM set that would be good to add to a rover, this is the place to discuss and share.

 

Ideally, we'll get this done in time for the Sparkfun AVC contest, on the hope that APM can have a decent chance of placing in all of the categories--ground, plane and quad. Which would be awesome.

 

 

 

 

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Comment by Scott Plunkett on October 19, 2011 at 2:05pm

How does a wireless charging solution sound???  The Qi power consortium is in the final approval stages for higher wattage power solutions and I am working with Texas Instruments (who makes the BQTesla series of chips) on a wireless charging solution for R/C Hobby batteries.  I am even making it all OpenSource and am working on a Kickstarter project.  The website is http://www.OpenQi.com (really just a placeholder at this point)  You could build a charging base and just have the rover drive right over the top.

Comment by Mark on October 20, 2011 at 12:04am

I'll definitely track your progress - and am likely to kick in when you've got a little more detail up!

Been following the whole, capacaitive and inductive wireless power stories with interest for some time, but don't know anyone using them yet.   Some mats are up to 100 watts now (which would seem enough) - with 90% efficiency = but there is some question of proximity between the coils and the mat. 

http://www.engadget.com/tag/Qi/

 

Comment by Mark on October 20, 2011 at 9:15am

Another noobie question:

I got my new uBlox GPS (my first GPS), and it has a black plastic shield that fits over the antenna that is loose (it just falls off).   I was looking to see if it screws on, or attaches in some way - and don't see that it does.   Easy enough for me to superglue it in place - but was wondering if this is normal for this uBlox?

Anyone else have one that can clue me in?

Comment by Mark on October 20, 2011 at 4:43pm

The ArduRover picture at the top of this page shows a base plate made of what appears to be some sort of metal.   I made mine out of plastic - and got to wondering about the advantages/disadvantages of plastic vs. metal.

There was another forum discussion about ground stations, where someone had referred to using an ungrounded piece of metal as backing behind a 900 MHz transmitter, as if it were a good thing (wish I could find the link to refer you to it).   Can a metal backing plate act as a crude antenna pad?   Is there a downside?

I have plenty of spare 16 gauge aluminum around from another project, so now is a good time to switch from plastic to aluminum - if there is a convincing argument to do so. 

Any thoughts/opinions?

 

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