The Power Supply
The power supply in the MARCH IV consists of a battery.
For monitoring the battery and protecting it, a battery management system is used.
Aside from being save to use, there are other requirements imposed on the battery that need to be taken into account.
The battery needs to be as small as possible and still have enough power available for a minimum run time during the competition.
It also needs to supply the right amount of voltage to properly drive the motors.
The power resulting from the battery needs to be distributed in a controlled and safe manner and its flow needs to be monitored.
The power is distributed to different parts of the exoskeleton, such as the peripherals.
These are for example the buttons, sensors and other components, as a vibrating unit in the input device.
To send information between the different parts of the exoskeleton, including the peripherals, the motor controllers and the main computer, clear communication is essential.
The communication protocol used in the MARCH IV is called EtherCAT.
For the interface between the sensors and EtherCAT, custom made embedded software is used.
All these devices in the MARCH IV need to be connected to each other with cables for both power and communication.
So, where does Eurocircuits come in and deliver their contribution?
Self-designed Printed Circuit Boards are used in the MARCH IV for the servo driver, the data communication and for the power distribution.
After we have designed our PCBs, they are manufactured by Eurocircuits.
Eurocircuits manufactures four different kind of PCBs for us. Each must fulfill different tasks and are important in their own way.