Power Component

This is the first of a series of posts giving a brief intro to each type of primary component in a mech. components_powerToday we look at power.

A thorough review of humanoid robot platforms shows the vast majority are aiming for electric power for driving servos. However, there are a few notable exceptions, (not the least of which are DARPA related) but I’ll just mention Kuratas from my last post.  He used a turbo diesel power plant to fuel the hydraulics.
With a wide variety of power options, what’s a guy to do in choosing a power approach?
First lets take a look the power-to-weight ratio. We want the biggest bang for our buck, but also want to tap into existing technologies that are supported by local industry. So I’m not planning to use fuel cells or nuclear fusion.  Otherwise, that wiki page doesn’t necessarily help us choose a winner, but does help us avoid some of the lower power options.

Most smaller projects deal with lots of limitations around weight, especially those running on batteries. My goal is to leapfrog that problem by overpowering the project while also keeping weight at a reasonable level.  Reasonable is now defined as.. The most powerful that I can afford, as long as it can lift itself as well as other components.

It would be an added bonus if it could carry lots if its own fuel as well – something that becomes quite costly for batteries (you need more and more of them instead of just a bigger tank).

In the end I’m guessing we’ll also be running some sort of turbo diesel, possibly from a retired excavator. As I’m also expecting to use hydraulics (a topic for another day) a power source with a built in hydraulic pump will be ideal and they are common enough in our industry town. More to come on this topic after introducing the other primary components this week.


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