Robot Tutorials power regulation

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

The most important schematic to know, one that is almost always required for every robot whether you`re a beginner or advanced, is a circuit to control your robots` power source. You cannot just hook up a battery directly to everything and expect it to work. Instead, there are three things that your power regulation circuit must do - regulate at a

Robot Tutorials power regulation
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set voltage, supply a minimum required amount of required power at all times, and allow for additional special features/requirements of your application: For efficiency, optimally it would be best to use a power source closest (yet slightly above) the desired voltage input required. However this is rarely easy or even feasible. For a start, different electronics require different voltages. A microcontroller will require 5V, your motors perhaps 12V, a voltage amplifier perhaps both 20V and -20V. Batteries are never at a constant voltage. A 6V battery will be at around 7V when fully charged, and can drop to 3-4V when drained. This below image shows how a typical battery voltage changes over time. Microcontrollers (and especially sensors) are sensitive to the input voltage. Change the voltage, and funny (bad) things happen. To correct for this, you need to use an IC called a voltage regulator. What a voltage regulator does is take any input voltage and outputs a regulated voltage. So if your battery is at 7V, then a 5V regulator will output 5V and a lot of heat to dissipate the unused energy. Since microcontrollers and sensors typically do not consume that much current, the wasted energy isnt that much. But for motors, this can be a huge problem. You do not want to over voltage them, but to regulate the voltage is a huge waste of energy. To correct for this, what you instead use is a switching regulator. They act just like a...

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