Monday, January 21, 2008

eBox 2300 battery

As stated before, the iRobot battery is not powerful enough to power the eBox while the iRobot is operating as well. Even though our robot has the "Advanced Power Battery System" (APS), which is already more powerful than the default battery.

So it seems wise to power the eBox using a separate battery. Inspired by http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/robotics/bb403184.aspx, I ordered the following parts:
This battery will power the eBox for 1.5 (one-and-a-half) hours when it is fully charged (the eBox uses 15W according to http://www.icoptech.com/ebox-pc/files/1EBX23W_s.pdf).

The next issue is how to charge the battery. I see the following 2 options:
  • Directly from the iRobot when it does not need its power for its own operation.
    This option would require more extensive investigation and I wonder if this is useful, considering the purpose of this project. Just a wild guess: this even might turn out to be impossible. Of course, this also decreases the overall operation duration between charges (so the iRobot has to visit its Base Station more often).
  • From an external adapter that will be connected when the iRobot is charging itself.
    This approach is only challenging from a mechanical point of view: How can the battery connect itself to a separate charger when the iRobot arrives at its Base Station?

Even the second, simpler, approach will require more non-software-related effort. The mechanical/physical impact might be less if the Base Station could charge both batteries at the same time. I cannot prove this with calculations yet, but I doubt that the 30W of the Base Station is enough to do that.

I took the liberty to provide a workaround by ordering a quick-charger (http://www.conrad.nl/goto/?product=224946). This enables us to demonstrate a running iRobot for 1.5 hours by charging it 'manually', which might be a sufficient solution for the time being.

Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated!

No comments: