My last post about wiring for now is a recommendation to label all of your motors as well as the wires in their path from motor to cortex.

motor_numberingFirst, once your robot is pretty set in terms of what ports you’re plugging stuff into, take those press-on letters that REC Foundation sends you for your license plates and stick ’em on your motors where they are easily seen. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did when you need to trouble-shoot, or when you need to unplug stuff from the cortex for some reason. (Thanks to the Cheesy Poofs, Bellarmine College Prep, Team 254, for this idea. Steal from the best.)

wiring_messNext, label your wires. The photo at left is the underside of our Nothing But Net robot — really. But it works because each motor controller is labeled with blue tape to indicate it’s source/destination. We also experimented with putting labels on the wires themselves, but had pretty low success because they kept falling off. We will try other ideas next season. (Update: see my later post about wiring for a label product that sticks.)

We had an unconventional wiring philosophy during NBN. All wires on the top of the robot are neatly zip-tied and bundled; all wires then feed underneath the robot in a big mass and then up to the top-side to neatly go into the cortex. The mass of wires is held in by a plate with a hinge on one side and zip tie on the other; when we need to access the wires underneath, we cut the zip tie, open the door, fix things, and zip-tie the door again. This saved a lot of time in the iteration process because the majority of wires are not zip-tied down and hence could be modified quickly without a lot of nit-picky stuff.

Happy Wiring!