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In this article I will try to explain a few key parameters which you need to take into consideration when choosing the motors for your robot. To make it as clear as possible I will do it on an example. It will be quite simple so we can avoid complicated calculations. Your project may be much more complex but I wanted to focus mostly on motor characteristics it this one. Some less significant physical effects are omitted in this article.

The example robot is a mini-forklift. Two identical motors will drive the front wheels and one stronger motor will lift the fork. There is a ball caster (it could also be a swivel wheel) on the rear of the robot therefore it can turn left or right by controlling the front traction motors. …

In the previous article I described the most popular battery types that are commonly used in robots — Li-Ion, Li-Poly and NiMH batteries. I also explained how to choose the right battery model for different robotic applications. So the only remaining question is how to charge them effectively. A convenient method of charging can be the determining factor during the battery selection process.

The word “consumer” is used in relation to foolproof batteries and chargers that are commonly used by average, often non-technical, users. The Li-Ion batteries are not available in “AA” form factor to avoid confusion (single Li-Ion cell works under 3.7V instead of 1.5V in regular AAs), but you can find them in 18650 and other cylindrical forms. …

In the following article I would like to share some practical advice about supplying mobile robots with power. Let’s jump right into it.

Types of batteries used in robotics

There are many different types of batteries available on the market however to keep things simple we’ll divide them into two groups.

Batteries that are great for robots:

  • Li-Ion — lithium-ion battery
  • Li-Poly — lithium polymer batteries
  • NiMH — nickel–metal hydride battery

And batteries that are not that great….meaning, don’t use them:

  • Lead-acid battery — all types (including VRLA, SLA, gel or AGM) don’t like charging-discharging cycles and works much better as a backup power supply for stationary applications. …


Radek Jarema

Electronics & hardware developer. CTO in

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