Snow Shield & Refurbishing Drive System

A project log for autoCut

robot lawn mower on steroids

schuhumischuhumi 12/30/2014 at 22:430 Comments

Well, it has been some time since the last update.. - but with vacation now there's stuff happening:

As you can see the casing on the back made some progress and there's a snow shield now!

I assure you it does work reasonably well, but I missed to shot a video and took it apart shortly after. The reason is that now the drive system has to do some heavy work and it revealed some issues:


this is the new mounting system for the wheels. Yes, I drilled wrong :-D No problem though.. Thanks to the screws there is no slipping no more and the axis is quite straight as well.

Another problem with the motors was that the connections between gearbox and motor itself were loose in all cases and therefore the whole assembly was rather noisy. To solve that I opened the boxes. Sadly they're not meant to be opened so you have to drill-open them (6-7mm drill, go down ~2mm in each corner). This is what you're greeted with:

Cleaned of the nasty grease (<- honestly the most work) and disassembled:

The motors are mounted with (slightly oversized) retainer rings, originally only loctite was used.

And here's the clue regarding the speed measurement:

BackEMF is going to be supported by photoelectric sensors, hence the two holes in the gear. Why not replace BackEMF completely? Well, these are the numbers of teeth of all the gears:

Therefore the number degrees per either rising or falling edge from the photoelectric sensor are:

0.5 * 9/58 * 13/67 * 360° = 5.4°

With the 14cm wheels that's a distance of :

0.5 * 9/58 * 13/67 * 2 * Pi * 70mm = 6.6mm

And I'm pretty certain that that's not enough for proper regulation on very low velocity. Now I could drill more holes into the gear, but those are so damn rock solid I ruined all my 3mm HSS-G drill bits with the 4*2 holes already - so no, won't do that..

For the sensors itself I ordered 3mm (like LEDs) phototransistors which get inserted in a 3mm hole on one side of the gear and a 3mm LED on the other.

In case you're interested the the motors: CHM-2435-1 is their model number and they're quite cheap. Got mine for 9€ each on

And here's another minor thing I added to height adjustment mechanism:

Before in case the connector of the height measurement would have become loose in theory the motor could have teared the assembly apart or made the circuit burst in smoke. Now it gets shut off by a limit switch and a diode allows it to drive down only