Robot Wiring Techniques

December 8, 2010 email from Jerry Morrison to the team after looking at pictures of the Poof's wiring that were emailed out to the team list.

Some advantages of this wiring approach:

  • reduced chance of electrical problems (which could easily lose a match, also sink time debugging instead of improving the robot or practicing driving) thanks to well tied down wires and solid connectors
  • easier to trace the wiring and to program the right port for each device
  • wires don't get entangled in moving parts or tools
  • wires are accessible for quick repairs, adding devices, and faster inspections
  • low resistance, high capacity, short wires for high current circuits which reduces power loss and wire overheating
  • connectors to enable disconnecting the upper part of the robot

Some disadvantages of this wiring approach:

  • takes advance planning for electrical part placement, which means deciding on the components early but it reduces surprises
  • harder to incrementally add to the robot as you learn how it works out and how much time is left for optional parts

Click images for full size.

Notice how the wires are neatly cut to length and tied down together.
Notice how the crimps on the speed controllers all have heat shrink tubing to protect against shorts. They fan wires are cut short and color coded. The PWM cables (white showing from red/black/white three conductor cables) have a service loop for easy removal and strain relief (nothing pulling them out of their socket). The Victor speed controllers are located a little further back in the image than the two CIM motors.