Electronics > Open Source Hardware

OpenServoCAN (...for hobby standard size Servos)

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Hi there ladies and gents!

I am well aware that the OpenServo is an old theme not a new one, but still it´s been a very long time since I wanted to make my approach on the matter.

And that´s exactly the case! Along with some wonderful holiday time the past weeks with family and friends, I spent part of my nights developing this project.

It is meant to replace the control board in standard size servos like the HS-311 (design of the board size was base actually on the HS-311) and turn them
into a engineer´s wet dream. Or at least come as close as I can :-) !

With the current design the board offers:
Can be operated from much wider voltage range. 5V (maybe lower) to 15V (and a maximum of 18V for the brave ones).
It can survive being connected to a upto 30V power source although it will not operate.
Theoretically it can provide 8A continuous and can limit the current / power with digital control. (there is a high side current monitor).
Control over CAN-Bus through the dedicated port.
Although not recommended as there are no protections in place, USART, time pulse control, analog signal, through the programming port.
Supports the use of either potentiometer or quadrature encoder. Although it could be used, no problem, with continues rotation servos.
Over the digital connection it can provide information about load %, location, speed, input voltage, current draw, board temperature, etc.
And maybe more that will come in time and development.

The whole thing is based on the PIC18F26K83. In fact it is made possible due to the PPS of the chip. Board real estate in servos is rather limited.
The design is being done in EAGLE CAD ver. 7.1.0.

I publish the whole thing under the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share-Alike ver. 4 International.
I know some people don´t like the Non Commercial, as it not "free culture" and stuff, but I am no hippy and right now I am counting beans to make things happen.

If there is a will, if you want to put it that way, I could, with the allowance of the master-senpai of course, set up an e-begging link to help further develop the project and fill my coffee pot.
As of now I only have the electronics schematic and board design ready. I have NOT even tested the fitting inside of a HS-311 so take all the information here as is.
Plus I get the "feeling" that some passive components can be better tuned. These are all based on values that have worked before but the specifics are different here,
so you´ll need some salt, not just a grain.

I think as it is, the hardware has some interesting features, like the soft-switch and reverse polarity protection so I will on the long run be making youtube videos explaining them.
Anyhow the aim of this project is to help people learn about more advanced things in electronics and those who play around with robotics and hobbyists.

I welcome all your comments and opinions about the design!

With Best Regards,
Lefteris, Greece

Minor Update:

- Changed some values of resistors to have fewer different components on the board.
- Added Resistors between the microcontroller and the MOSFET drivers, so that the microcontroller can NOT anymore
  power the H-bridge by mistake through the protection diodes of the driver.
- I am trying to panelize the boards to have them produced by JLCPCB, more updates on that later on.

Backwards parallel connected LEDs usually do not need extra reverse voltage protection, since forward voltage is typicaly lower then max allowed blocking/reverse voltage and they can protect each other. So you can remove D6 and D7 diodes.


--- Quote from: mvs on January 11, 2019, 06:19:14 pm ---Backwards parallel connected LEDs usually do not need extra reverse voltage protection, since forward voltage is typicaly lower then max allowed blocking/reverse voltage and they can protect each other. So you can remove D6 and D7 diodes.

--- End quote ---

I know but aren´t "ultra bright" LED (the common colored white LEDs) really bad handling reverse voltages? Cause it makes sense to have them as efficient as you could,
they are only there for debugging and of course for that reason you do not need them bright. Imagine that operational range is from 5V to 15V. 15V Reverse hmmm, If I remember right
most can´t handle more than 6V reverse.

Thanks for the input,

In backwards parallel connection one LED will limit reverse voltage applied to another led to its forward voltage and vice versa. For blue and white LEDs it will be around 3.0-3.2V at nominal current, well below typicaly allowed 5V maximum.
I have made a simulation in LTspice for better understanding. Blue line is output voltage of V1 (+/- 15V), green line is resulting voltage across LEDs (+/- 3.085V).


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