Saturday, 10 December 2016

Actuating the horse

On Friday 2016-12-09, a long awaited moment was finally reached: some movement was observed from the planned power system. A three phase motor was successfully run and controller through an inverter which was in turn controller by a microcontroller.

Output of motor goes to a worm drive which reduces the speed of rotation to about 20 rounds per minute at 50 Hz. This will be further reduced by a belt and cogwheels system by factor of 3, giving the final speed of rotation of 6.7 rpm. This can be adjusted both directions by controlling the inverter's output frequency. Hardware and software for this is completed and tested, and the same goes for changing the direction of rotation.

All in all, everything seems to be ready for connecting the motive power to the mechanical parts when they are ready. It remains to be seen if the motor and gearbox generate enough torque to actually propel the horse, and if the structure can handle the resulting forces without anything breaking.
Unfortunately, but perhaps unexpectedly, the microbes cannot provide the power needed. So the system is hooked up to 230 volt supply, leaving the microbial fuel cells an auxiliary role yet to be clearly defined.

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