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I am looking into building a self-docking robot that can charge itself when needed. To accelerate the prototyping phase, I am considering AlphaBot2 with Raspberry Pi 3 B+ as a development platform. I have two main concerns:

1) AlphaBot2 docs have very little information on power consumption and providing an alternative battery source. I am worried about the tightly designed PCB not providing a way to charge the battery pack or add an alternative power source. Does anybody have experience with this kit?

2) Would an inductive charging set like this one be able to charge a 3.7V Li-Po or Li-Ion battery through the PowerBoost 500 charger? I don't care about charge-time being too long, as long as it's possible since I am more interested in the software challenge of finding the dock and aligning with it.

I appreciate any guidance and information you can provide. Thank you!

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closed as off-topic by Chuck Sep 10 '18 at 17:28

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Usually, stackexchange sites don't handle asking for opinions well. And 1 question per post is preferred as the goal is to build a list of good questions and answers people can then search through. $\endgroup$ – st2000 Sep 9 '18 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Robotics Taylan Pince, but I'm afraid that questions which can only be answered by the pre-sales or technical support team for a specific manufacturer or supplier aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. Practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face are always welcome here though, so if you edit your question to fit our community guidelines we can reopen it for you. Please take a look at How to Ask and tour for more information on how stack exchange works. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sep 10 '18 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ It looks like the AlphaBot2 is designed to take two 14500 batteries. That style battery is rated at 3.7 V. The AlphaBot2 also states it features a 5 V regulator, and the datasheet for that regulator states it's a step down regulator. If you use a device like the PowerBoost 500 to provide 5 volts instead of the ~7.4 V the board was designed to receive then you could create some voltage regulation issues, depending on how the board is laid out. It might be possible to bypass the regulator but, as you mentioned, it's not clear if there are ports or test points designed for that purpose. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sep 10 '18 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Since the questions you have are specific to one manufacturer's product, and the answers require knowledge of the design and design intent, I would again suggest you contact the manufacturer for tech support and ask your questions to them directly. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sep 10 '18 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Chuck, I appreciate the insights, both on community rules as well as the board specs. $\endgroup$ – Taylan Pince Sep 11 '18 at 18:18
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Answering you direct question:

AlphaBot2 docs have very little information on power consumption

A RaspberryPi is a full blown computer. As such you can expect a fraction of the battery time if you run something like OpenCV compared with sitting idle. So, the power consumption is very dependent on the application. Adding more features such as keeping the robot in motion and running the WiFi radio adds to the power consumption.

Would an inductive charging set like this one be able to charge a 3.7V Li-Po or Li-Ion battery through the PowerBoost 500 charger?

USB 2.0 only supports up to 500mA. The inductive link you pointed to appears to provide up to 500mA under ideal conditions.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, I appreciate the info. I guess my main question was whether one could easily take out the battery holder on AlphaBot2 and replace it with a Li-Po battery with its own charging unit. I don't see why this wouldn't be possible, but it's hard to guess without having the kit at hand. I have now ordered the kit and will be testing it out next week. $\endgroup$ – Taylan Pince Sep 10 '18 at 15:05

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