PCB that controls the power management, sensing, and safety of a robot power system
The company created a robot rover prototype that marks construction sites according to schematic drawings. The prototype was based on off-the-shelf modules. To lower the cost and improve performance, Rugged Robotics needed a custom PCB that would replace expensive modules.
The client produced a robot prototype powered by eight batteries. There were some performance issues with the power system, which prevented the device from going to market. The client wanted Softeq to rearrange the system schematic and provide additional circuitry for a power switch. The new solution would manage the robot's power supply, monitor the boards' currents and voltages, and control batteries' safety.
To maintain connector consistency across the power system, we designed a custom BMS to replace the inefficient power system.
We replaced the off-the-shelf controller with our custom-built microchip to connect/disconnect the external batteries and measure voltages and currents passing through the board.
At the component selection stage, we simulated the board's operation through specialized software and found a discrepancy between the board performance graph and the technical requirements. To remedy this issue, we changed one of the board's crucial microcircuits and after that the device began to work properly without further upgrades.
After we field-tested the robot, we fine-tuned two more features:
We developed a PCB that measures the voltage of all eight batteries (2s4p pack) separately in real time and the current consumed from each of them. If it exceeds the specified limits, the battery is disconnected from the common bus. The PCB also cuts the battery supply off once it reaches an unsafe discharge level.
The PCB provides:
The board was manufactured by one of the Softeq partners in China.
We delivered the project on time and on budget. One of the microchips we built is ⅕ the price of the client’s initial module yet performs more functions.