From Design News:
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The AX3500 motor controller uses two channel outputs to control the motors that power and steer the robot by varying the speed and direction of the motors at each side of the chassis. The controller also has outputs for up to eight RC servos, allowing the control of simple robotic arms and other accessories. The motor controller connects to the Intel Atom motherboard via its RS232 port.
The Intel D510M motherboard was selected because of its 100 percent passive cooling, low power consumption, balanced features set, excellent performance and low cost. Measuring 17 x 17cm, the Mini-ITX form factor is ideally suited to mobile robotic designs. The motherboard runs Windows 7 booting from a SATA hard drive or solid state drive but alternate operating systems such as Linux can also be used. The PC-compatible platform enables significant computational functionality and flexible software development options.
The motherboard consumes only 800mA from the robot's 24V batteries, ensuring several hours of continuous operation depending on motor usage. A power converter ensures proper operation whether the batteries are fully charged or partially depleted.
Another important element of the design is the power supply. An adapter plugs into the ATX power slot in the motherboard, so users can feed from 6-30V dc to regulate a clean supply for the motherboard, disk drive and the RC output for driving the servos. The motherboard, adapter and controller combination provide an integrated solution from an electronics point of view.
Because the design platform has offers ample compute power, the ability to control eight motors, plus integrate vision, it provides a portable and flexible system that can be adapted for a wide range of applications.