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Our new Mars Rover Arduino Shield

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Recently, we were asked to build a second Mars Rover for the New York Hall of Science. The idea is to have a backup for the first one, and also to have a rover that can be taken off site for demonstrations. The new robot is purposefully very similar to the first one, but we couldn’t help making a few improvements along the way. We designed our very first custom circuit board, which we call the Mars Rover Shield. The shield fits into the header pins on top of the Arduino Mega. The shield’s purpose is to encapsulate the complexity of wires, resistors, screw terminals and other elements. After completing the design using Eagle software, we uploaded it to Sunstone.com and had them make the blank board for us. When the blank board arrived, Genevieve (Genevieve) soldered all the components into place. There were 165 solder points in all, but she’s quick and accurate! She did it in a matter of minutes! To our amazement, it works perfectly. Here is the finished product. Thinking about what it’s going to do for our robot, we think it’s a thing of marvelous beauty!

The Mars Rover Shield. Designed by Beatty Robotics. Soldered with components by Genevieve.

The Mars Rover Shield. Designed by Beatty Robotics. Soldered with components by Genevieve.

 

Genevieve showing off her newly soldered Mars Rover Shield. 165 solder points!

Genevieve showing off her newly soldered Mars Rover Shield. 165 solder points!

 

Here is the Mars Rover Shield installed in the robot. Note that all the various components in the robot are wired into the screw terminals on the shield.

Here is the Mars Rover Shield installed in the robot. Note that all the various components in the robot are wired into the screw terminals on the shield.

 

Here's what our blank Mars Rover Shield looks like before it is soldered with components.

Here’s what our blank Mars Rover Shield looks like before it is soldered with components.

Here is the design for the top side of the two-sided circuit board, which we did using Eagle software. The Eagle software has a serious learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty cool and we love the results!

Here is the design for the top side of the two-sided circuit board, which we did using Eagle software. The Eagle software has a serious learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty cool and we love the results!

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