Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pendants are coming along, and mix-and-match servos

I have five more of the LED uranium-ball ring-circuit pendants finished and ready for sale. While my eventual goal is to have a dozen or so ready for the steampunk world's faire, I am aware that I had a backlog of people wanting theirs. Contact me if you were one of those.

I've been running the robot with HS-5645MG servos lately. I'm not happy with them. While they don't have the terrible problems with ringing and overshoot that the HX-12K servos had, they do have a weak gearbox design. The second-to-last gear in the gear chain is surprisingly thin. I've lost track of how many gears I've seen break on these servos, always in the exact same spot. The HX-12K servos had a much thicker gear in that same position, and I've never seen one fail that way. HX-12K servo failures I've seen tend to be electrical board or motor failures, or structural failures in the servo case.

I am experimenting with building a composite servos using the motors, potentiometers, and drive boards from the HS-5645MG servos and the gear train from the HX-12K servos. They have nearly the same gear ratio, and appear to have the same spacing between gears and same size shafting. There are some odd clearance issues. The HX-12K gears jam when installed in the HS-5645MG cases, although the HS-5645MG gears run fine in the HX-12K cases. I have installed the motors, drive boards, and potentiometer from a HS-5645MG in a HX-12K case with the HX-12K geartrain. The potentiometer is a tight fit and doesn't turn smoothly if I tighten the case screws tightly, but other than that the arrangement works.

The weak link is still the HX-12K case. The mounting tabs break off, the case itself cracks, and I've seen a few cases of total failure of the mounting boss for the small internal shafts inside the gearbox. Making my own cases from cast aluminum is out of the question in the condo, and having cases custom-machined would be unreasonably expensive. If I had that kind of budget, I would just buy higher-quality servos in the first place. Still looking for other options.