Through the process of integrating my RPi with the robot it is meant to control I have learned more than I really expected about power. Here are some of the problems that I have had that have tied back to "get your power sorted stupid"!
- RPi would not boot as input power was too low. Would cycle through the color splash, get to the point where power was not adequate, and crash
- Wireless connection would drop. Often occurred at a point where current draw from somewhere other than the RPi would draw down voltage and away goes wireless.
- RPi would crash when servos were activated to control the sensor pan and tilt stalk.
- Webcam would drop offline. Finally determined that this was also power related and that it was dropping when power levels to the USB hub dropped.
- The Rover 5 comes with a six AA cell battery pack that connects to the Explorer PCB where it is regulated down to a 5v and 3.3v supply. I added a second six cell battery pack and upgraded the rechargeable batteries in these two packs to high end cells (1850mAh).
- To further sanitize the power going to the RPi I added a dedicated regulator that draws directly from the battery circuit and is dedicated to the RPi
- Somewhere along the line I read the Explorer PCB manual and realized that it provides three power outputs with one dedicated for servos. Once I connected the servos to their own power source the servo induced crashes stopped.
Addendum of 1/11/2012: In the days following this post I was also able to determine that problems with my compass were ALSO power related!