Immortals main electronics for the Robocup Soccer Small-Size League
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Immortals Main Electronics

The main electronics of Immortals SSL robots, used to receive commands from the main computer through wireless link, drive the robots’ motors, apply a control loop on the motors, do some local sensing and send some feedback data to the main computer.


The main features are:

  • A Xilinx Spartan 3 FPGA containing 400K logic gates as the main processor.
  • 2.4 GHz full duplex wireless communication, with a total bandwidth of 2Mbps. It uses our own software layer, which allows 12-bit addressing (much more than the requirements for our purpose), delivery acknowledgment and auto re-transmitting when required, auto detection of the working channel, signal strength detection and much more.
  • An alternative 915 MHz RF communication, with much lower bandwidth (38 Kbps), to use when the ISM band traffic is too high, or a higher range is needed.
  • TSK3000A, a 32-bit RISC soft-processor, implemented inside the FPGA. It has 5 pipelines, and a theoretical value of 1.2 MIPS per MHz. We use this processor at the frequency of 40 MHz. It’s the main processing unit of the board.
  • 9-Axis IMU, used to determine a local transformation of the robot. This local data are used when:
    • There are lost packets
    • The vision could not determine the global state
    • Removing the global vision latency by predicting the vision data (for about 150 mS)
  • BLDC motor drivers, capable of driving 5 BLDC motors at a very high frequency, using hall-sensor commutation. The commutation logic is implemented inside the FPGA.
  • A flash memory, to save the firmware, its parameters’ values and debugging data. The firmware allows the downloading of a newer version, changing the parameters, and error reading via the wireless link.

From an electrical point of view, the PCB is designed in a multi-layer fashion (4-layer). This is because of the FPGA requirements, and the very high current drawn by the BLDC motors (230 amperes!). PCB

There are 6 voltage rails needed by the components, including: 1.2V, 2.5V, 3.3V, 5.0V, 7.5V and 14V. The main battery voltage is 14.8V. The PSU includes a switching regulator that converts the battery voltage to 5.0V. Then 3 LDO regulators are used for providing lower voltages.

One of the four layers of the PCB is used solely for feeding all the the VCCs into the components, and one is just the holy GND!