Let's Make Robots!

wild thumper battery and project help

I'm looking to build a internet controllable robot that uses a microsoft kinect, opencv, raspberry pi (or pandaboard), a wild thumper controller, and a wild thumper chassis. I would like to keep the raspberry pi continuously powered and have it turn on the wild thumper controller when it needs to move. I'm very new to building robots, and more comfortable with software than hardware. 

I'm looking for a battery that I can leave plugged in to the wild thumper controller. Can I do this with a nimh or li-po. Is it safe to do this? Ideally, I'd like to only re-charge the batteries every few days. 

Any information or general tips for my project are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! 

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To be honest I do not think the 12V SLA is a good choice because the voltage is too high for the Wild Thumper motors. You can use PWM to reduce it but it is still not a good choice. A 7.2V NiMh (4700 mAH or better) gives you the right voltage for the motors and your robot can self recharge using the on board battery charger. You can fit at least 2 of these battery packs in the chassis. If your robot is not going to be self recharging then use a 7.4V LiPo (5000 mAH). Once again you can fit two packs in the chassis. This option is the lightest option but you need an external battery charger.

That is going to be the safest battery you can use. From here, you will just need to do your math on capacity and how much current you intend to draw to figure total run time. It is really going to be a good guess in the end --motors will not be on all the time, different parts of the robot will be using different amounts of power at different times etc. Bottom line, as always: 7Ah is 7 amps for 1 hour or 1 amp for 7 hours. 500mA for 14 hours, etc. 

Totally understand the ambitiousness of the project, and fully expect a long road to produce the robot that i want :)

Is there a specific battery that you can recommend? I just found this one http://www.hobby-lobby.com/12_volt_7ah_sealed_battery_1035447_prd1.htm

I expect to power the wild thumper board ~45 mins a day. It'll be operated in a home, so would like the battery situation to be as safe as possible. 

Thanks again for your help, Chris! Appreciated your wild thumper review @ http://letsmakerobots.com/node/24368. 

While the wild thumper will be happy running off of a lipo, you would be unable to use the charge feature of the board. I would look more to large RC car packs (ni-cad etc) or simply a large SLA. 

I should say that if you are new to robotics (even with a software background) this project is a bit ambitious for a first time out. Good luck though.