Test Jigs, Test Sets and Prototyping

I would be interested in hearing what test jigs and test sets that you have built and used in prototyping your robots.
Both electronic and mechanical efforts are of interest.
Pictures would be great.
Thanks for any contributions.
TMT
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

I am building a motor controller for a large differential drive outdoor rover type bot. In the interest of not breaking things in case of firmware issues, I built a small vehicle with encoders on the motors that weighs a few pounds. The cpu board is an eval board from the cpu manufacturer. The drive board is another eval board for a dual H bridge. When I get the firmware finished and solid, I will do the layout for the motor controller with the CPU and full size power section. This approach spreads out expenses and time requirements pretty well.
In addition to electronic and mechanical jigging, there is a script driven tool to issue commands to the motor controller and capture responses for debugging. This jig substitutes for the main host computer that has not been developed yet.
I don't really have a good place to post pictures, sorry.
Bob
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wrote:

Thanks for the response Bob....it is what I am looking for.
Your approach sounds like a smart way to approach the prototyping phase.
Is there anything you would redo if the opportunity allowed it?
TMT
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

About the only thing I would do differently at this point is that I would have bought an RF serial data link instead of building one. Time is in pretty short supply for me and instead of just buying the link for transferring command and telemetry, I opted to build one. To borrow a line from an old song, a week went by and now it's July... and I have not gotten back to the motor controller for too long.
Bob
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wrote:

Thanks Bob...I appreciate the advice.
Hmmm....no other posts.
Guess no one else is building robots. :<)
TMT
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

When we were working on our DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle, we had a few test fixtures. One was a wooden mockup of the steering linkage, with servomotor. Another was a test fixture for the throttle linkage box, which started life as a cruise control unit. Nothing really elaborate, though.
                John Nagle
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I'm building a test stand for a motor that will eventually become the main drive motor for a robot boat. The stand hold's the motor vertically on a lazy susan (so I can measure torque), and the shaft is coupled to an agitator that (roughly) simulates the propeller load.
I'll send pictures in a day or two, if you'd like. -- Mark Moulding
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