Member Since: August 1, 2010

Country: United States

  • Ah, OK. That makes sense. Thank you for the quick reply.

  • Can some one provide a snippet of Arduino code or point me to some example Arduino code for operating this RedBot buzzer? I’ve looked through the Redbot library and tutorials, but I can’t seem to find anything on how to get this to work.

  • Thanks for the update deveauzt. I’ve spoken with the designer of the board and sent him a description and pictures of what happened so that the manufacturer is aware of it. When he saw my pictures he said…“It’s pretty obvious from the second photo that battery power was shorted. That Pch FET with the crater in it is the 110A high curret switching FET that allows a normal, cheap power switch to switch the high currents the controller can handle. Looking at the first photo I would say that it’s a good chance the Switchmode regulator also got fried. In that case the 5V regulator might be trying to step 11.1V down to 5V when normally it would be reducing 6.2V to 5V. (Just a guess). That might explain the wisp of smoke since the input capacitors on the 5V regulator are only rated for 10V. That might explain the wisp of smoke since the input capacitors on the 5V regulator are only rated for 10V.”

    That may help you in your understanding of the board. In my case, I chucked the first one as a casualty of war, and got a new one. I put it on my own standoffs. It has worked perfectly ever since. I like the board. However, I do wish it had more available digital pins to add sensors to, etc. You can use the so-called servo pins as general I/O pins, but I still need more.

  • Follow-up: I hooked the T'Rex up on a basic RC transmitter/receiver. It sort of worked for a little bit on the bench. The wheels turned in response to throttle movement, etc., but the slightest bit of movement caused little bits of smoke to come up. Then it got worse. Now when I give it throttle, the whole board resets itself. When I checked the back of the T'Rex board, the large black component labeled “110P04-05” looks like it has black marks around it and it’s cracked. It clearly has suffered damage, probably overheating damage. I don’t see any other visually obvious problems on the back of the board.

    I think that my initial problems with the board touching the chassis screw might have toasted it. Not sure. I’m a little surprised it worked at all the way it did for a while. I’ve ordered a new one from Sparkfun Next Day Air so that I can continue my project ASAP. Other than my initial problem where the soldering on the back of the board shorted out on the chassis screws, is there something I might be doing wrong that could be causing this smoking/overheating/toasting problem? —Robert

  • Dear Oddbot, My daughters and I have built about 35 robots so far (, including two configurations of the Wild Thumper and the old Wild Thumper Controller. In general, I think your products are great, but we encountered an issue that you should be aware of on this new T'Rex controller. When we installed the T'Rex into the Wild Thumper Chassis using the supplied standoffs, and then powered it up on a 11.1v battery and turned it on, the board poured out clouds of furling smoke and stunk up the room. We immediately turned it off. We checked our polarity, etc., all OK, so then we removed the controller from the standoffs and tested it again. This time it came on OK. We then mounted it onto the standoffs and turned it on. Filled the room with smoke again. So we immediately turned it off. It turns out that when you mount the board on the standoffs the underside of the circuit board (which has long thick areas of solder) is resting on the chassis’s top center socket head set screws. It’s shorting out and causing a major draw in amps. Assuming we haven’t missed something (please let us know if we have), then your company should probably rethink the design a little bit. Perhaps make the standoffs a bit longer or move the center chassis screws down on a notch. We’ve encountered stuff like this before, so it didn’t take us long to figure out what was causing all the smoke, but if a beginner encountered this problem, it would probably cause some major frustration and damage to the board (we’re not sure if our board is damaged until we get further into the construction). In the short term, for Sparkfun customers, I think the problem could probably be easily avoided with some insulating tape on the screw heads. In our case, we removed the chassis screws and moved them down a notch, but because the screws are internal to the assembly, this took an alan wrench, needle nose pliers, and about 20 minutes of wrist-crunching fidgeting around. Normally that’s not too big of a deal, but in this case, we’re building the prototype robot for a robotics workshop where 30 kids at a time will be building a complete autonomous and RC robot in a 3 hour period. So, every second counts. It’s going to be hard to complete the build if all the participants have to take 10-20 minutes to move the two screws. One of the reasons we selected the Wild Thumper Chassis was because it was already mostly assembled and ready to go. We’ll explore what we can do. Perhaps we’ll employ the tape idea, or perhaps provide a different set of standoffs, or perhaps provide the participants with really good tools so that they can get down into where the screws are. Please let us know if we’re missing something or if you have any other ideas for how we can make this a streamlined, easy-to-build process. —Robert

  • In the product introduction video (which is what I saw first), RobertC indicated right up front that they saw the project in Instructables and based their design on that, so it seems like they are giving credit where credit is due.

  • I’ve tried many different types of clamps and “third hands” over the years and never been satisfied with any of them. Yours looks excellent and just the kind of thing I wanted. The flexible coolant pipes are excellent. The aluminum base looks like it will do a great job. I also love your idea of heat shrinking the clips (I always worry that my clips/clamps will damage what I’m holding). In short, great job on this! I’m ordering a set immediately. I look forward to giving it a try.

  • Pearce,

    Thanks for this posting about Macs. I have many years of experience with Windows in the corporate workplace, but I love Macs. Now that I’m out of the corporate world, I use Macs for all my electronics and robot projects (

    Besides the obvious, like the Arduino IDE, XCode, and so on, here are some of the more obscure Mac tools I have on my dock for easy access:

    LanScan Pro for looking at IP addresses, MAC Addresses, and Hostnames for all the devices connected to the network. CoolTerm for terminal/serial port work (as you mentioned). HTTPScoop for snagging HTTP for reverse engineering and hacking IP devices, web pages, etc. Network Utility (A Mac OS X utility) for pinging devices on the network. System Information (a Mac OS X utility) for looking up USB/serial ports, etc. Acorn (an easy to learn Photoshop-like app for doing quick and easy graphics). TextEdit (a Mac OS X utility) for jotting down quick notes, etc.

    Sadly, the one place I use a Windows computer in my workshop is on the SolidWorks workstation (as you mentioned) and also the Mach3 CNC software that runs my homemade CNC Mill ( (Although many people use Linux for their DIY Mills).

    –Robert Beatty

  • Thank you, Toni. That’s what I needed to know.

  • I’m hoping to use this shield on an Arduino Mega 2660 R3. The shield’s product page mentions “any digital pin on the Arduino (D2 and D3 default)”. How does one accomplish changing the default pins? In particular, how do I change it to use D16 and D17 on the Arduino Mega? Perhaps that’s not possible, since those pins are completely off the shield. Or perhaps I could run a jumper over to those pins. But I need to make sure D2 and D3 are not interfered with (they are being used by something else). I see the “3” and “2” solder pads by TX and RX, but I’m not sure how to utilize those or if those are related to my goal.

No public wish lists :(