Soldering the DonkeyCar Hat

All the cars and components

Today I attended a working day to prepare for the build workshop for the DonkeyCars.

Donkeycars

Donkeycar is an open source platform to convert small scale (remote control) cars into self-driving cars. Donkeycar written in Python and is most often used with a Raspberry Pi and PiCam controlling an RC car by manipulating both steering and throttle.

After re-joining the hackerspace this year I came across a group who are trying to get a DonkeyCar community going here in Melbourne. The first workshop these guys had run was for the Open Hardware Mini Conference in January and were now expanding to hopefully run a few more sessions on a more regular basis and other events such as race days to pit our DonkeyCars against each other! I of course jumped straight on the bandwagon and went along to the first session which was preparing for the big build day.

Today was all about preparing all the components so there wouldn’t need to be soldering on the build day. There were 10 RC chassis available for the workshop so we needed to put together the components for 10 cars.

Instead of the 3D printed mount for the pi and camera that is the standard donkeycar option - the hackerspace has a laser cutter so the guys had redesigned it to use 3mm plywood instead as the time to cut these pieces is only a couple of minutes rather than much longer on the 3D printers.

The biggest task I was part of on the day was soldering the headers onto the DonkeyCar hat which has the motor drivers and power breakout that was designed for the January OHMC.

Parts to be soldered

Some of the other guys were tapping the power cables on the chassis to also power the Raspberry Pi and to use the motor driver ciruit on the hat.

Car with power changed

Everything is all ready for the build day coming up in a few weeks!