Animator: A Mechatronics Education Board

This is the build log the Animator Board! A PCB Arduino Uno Shield intended for mechatronics education, this board includes two DRV8871 PWM driven H-bridge motor drivers, XT-30 connectors to prevent any polarity mix-ups, a bank of header pin connectors to easily accept servo motors, and two headers for plugging in either a HC-05 Bluetooth Module or an nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz Radio Transceiver!
This board displays how mechatronics is fun, easy and engaging. Plus much more planned for it.

This project is currently still a work in progress to become a fully fitted education platform for starting electronics hobbyists, or someone looking for a fun toy with the ultimate customizability of being compatible with the Arduino IDE and completely open source itself.

Currently the first revision of the board has been taped out and most systems were working perfectly fine! (most…) There were some issues with the silk screen part indicator being too small and blocked by vias in some cases and the nRF24L01+ module was being given +5V rather than the +3.3V the datasheet requires. DOH! Other systems such as Bluetooth communication, motor control and battery voltage regulation were all working just as expected. So, after cutting a trace or two and adding a blue wire I can now say that Animator V1.1 is ready to go and will be fully functional.

In the meantime, of waiting for the fixed board revision to come around, I have been CADing the chassis for the official animator vehicle. Still a work in progress but in an impatient state to get a rapid prototype out there I took the motor.control.7 bot from an earlier project and retrofitted it with the animator board and battery. Quite a butchered mess! But it drove and could be controlled over the 2.4GHz radio transceiver with help from the Dreamcast Radio and my housemate Ethan at the wheel. Check it out! Also check out my project page on how I made the Dreamcast and Playstation Radio Transmitters (That’s right you can control the animator board with a Dreamcast or Playstation 1 or 2 controller).

Article last edited: August 2021