Yes, I’d considered the 32U4 as it has more features than the shield, but I was looking for a kit as I’m experimenting with a way to not have to permanently mount the shield to the chassis so I can try out an RP2040-based robot controller as an alternative to the Arduino shield on the same chassis. I’m investigating the idea of a club robot for the New Zealand Personal Robotics Group (NZPRG), one that can be programmed in some flavour of Python rather than the Arduino’s C/C++, as I think that’d be a lower barrier to entry for some people, and Python is nowadays both a good entry into programming as well as a key job skill.
I went to bed last night after declaring victory, having figured out a way to mount the motors and route the encoder wires. The latter was trickier than I’d thought, as there’s not many places where twelve 26ga wires can exit that tiny cavity and manage to get out and up onto the shield, especially since: a. the plastic pieces and the shield fit snugly to the top of the chassis, with no room for wires between; and b. I’m planning to mount the IR sensor array, whose double-row female connector fits snug up against the front of the chassis. There was only one direction left and that was down.
I cut two small rectangular holes right below where the encoder PC boards are located, soldered the encoder wires to the PC boards, very carefully bent those wires 90 degrees (perpendicular) away from the motors, then inserted them through the holes and guiding the motors into place.
I posted photos of the results in the
#build-photos channel of the Personal Robotics server on Discord, which I started a few weeks ago. In you or anyone else at Pololu are interested, here’s an invitation to Personal Robotics:
(This URL will be good for one week, after which please contact me for a new one.)