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64Servo | PCB Design

64Servo
Version 2 - Last update: Nov 2, 2015

The 64Servo board project purpose is to allow an MCU or CPU to control 64 hobby servos or servo-style motors ("free-running servos" or "continuous rotation servos") via a simple serial (SPI) protocol, freeing pins and processing power for other uses. The project uses four hardware PWM modules and an Atmega328 microcontroller with 23LC1024/25LC1024 128kByte Serial SRAM/EEPROM from Microchip, in SPI mode on the Atmega328's USART to allow for stored moves, synchronous moves, and other patterns. Six analog pins (four can be digital) are available for sensors. Four of the six mounting holes should match a standard Arduino footprint so an Arduino can be mounted to the board using standoffs.

Current Version is 1.0alpha. The boards have arrived, and look beautiful! Now I have the rest of fab to organize/construct, then populate the board, then software and testing! Due to the board cost being tied to board area, and this board area being mandated by the headers, some of the board plans below are becoming VERY attractive. I'm even pondering the possible addition of an ARM based processor.

Parts to populate the board are ordered and on the way!

Moving forward with re-arranging to allow for board space for higher-power MCU, or headers or other stuff. Switched to 4 layer board for added flexibility.

Future Board plans:

  • Expand "Analog" header to add the remaining Digital I/O Lines on the Atmega328 for sensors or limit switches
  • Explore making the board an Arduino Shield
  • Explore making the board a Raspberry Pi "Crust" on the GPIO header
  • Explore simply making the board directly Arduino compatible with a second MCU
  • Explore expanding to full-blown robot controller/brain: adding onboard sensors, lipo charging/monitoring, hi-efficiency voltage regulation, wireless module socket/footprint, microSD, Parallax Propeller MCU.

Software:

  • Design Modes, Commands, Storage, and Playback systems
  • Design Sensor Reading commands
  • Build Foundation Gaits for 2dof and 3dof Hexapod and Octopod systems
  • Build a simple scripting system that can read sensors and timers and adjust positions based on that input without Master Board input.

Other:

  • Construct a website for 64Servo based bot software and hardware construction plans, patterns, and downloads.

Comments welcome! Tweet @alderin (until I get that website thing built. :-) )

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