Arduino Forum

Forum 2005-2010 (read only) => General => Frequently-Asked Questions => Topic started by: Awesome_Applesauce on Aug 08, 2010, 07:44 am

Title: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: Awesome_Applesauce on Aug 08, 2010, 07:44 am
I'm considering a project that involves strapping my precious Arduino and some sensors to the underneath of my unicycle seat.  This has led me to start considering how much shock damage an Arduino board can take before it fails.  If I were to fall off my unicycle and faceplant, how well would my Arduino fair as my unicycle seat hurtles downward and slams into the ground with considerable force?

Is this clearly a misguided idea?  Should I consider not doing this?  Or should I try a better way of breaking my board?  Also I'm fairly new to the Arduino, so what do you think the worst think I could possibly do to it would be?  Maybe attempting to wire it while holding onto a van de graph generator?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: zoomkat on Aug 08, 2010, 07:56 am
With some shock protective packaging, the arduino will probably last longer than you.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: cr0sh on Aug 08, 2010, 08:54 am
If you're really concerned about it, then you should protect against it. Prototype your system using a standard Arduino apart from the unicycle; when you get to a point of needing to mount and test it, either purchase the parts to build a "standalone" Arduino, or look into a "Really Bare Bones" clone system.

Transfer your software to this minimal system (you will likely need a USB FTDI cable or breakout board to do this), and solder wires from the board to miniature locking couplers (much as is used in an automobile wiring harness) that connect to your peripheral sensors and other devices on the unicycle; the harness and wires should be run such that they don't impede your ability to ride the unicycle; ideally you would place them in or on the seat tube (using spiral wrap on the wires and zip ties). Doing this will reduce the possibility of breakage of the wires or connectors on the Arduino; minimizing the size of the Arduino via a compact layout/system will increase its ability to survive the shock.

Finally, consider making a shock-absorbing "enclosure" by "potting" the device in a small block of silicone molding compound; you could wrap the Arduino in a layer of plastic cling wrap to seal it, then use a small mold to encase it in the silicone (routing the connectors and such that are needed for access exiting the mold).

Once cured, you would have the Arduino encased in block of synthetic rubber; it could be easily mounted somewhere on the bike, and would likely survive much more than fall...

:)
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: zoomkat on Aug 08, 2010, 09:23 am
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Finally, consider making a shock-absorbing "enclosure" by "potting" the device in a small block of silicone molding compound; you could wrap the Arduino in a layer of plastic cling wrap to seal it, then use a small mold to encase it in the silicone (routing the connectors and such that are needed for access exiting the mold).

Once cured, you would have the Arduino encased in block of synthetic rubber; it could be easily mounted somewhere on the bike, and would likely survive much more than fall...


Actually protecting the board in the same thickness of bubble wrap or crushed newspaper may provide more protection by providing a longer deceleration distance than the rubber casing.

Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: UltraMagnus on Aug 08, 2010, 09:26 am
as long as it is protected from direct impact, it can take more force than you can.  ;D

so, you can rest safe in the knowledge that even if you end up in hospital with every bone in your body broken, your arduino will be perfectly fine.

The only thing I would be worried about is connectors coming loose.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: Funky Diver on Aug 08, 2010, 09:51 am
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The only thing I would be worried about is connectors coming loose.


I'd also refrain from showing it pictures of Paris Hilton.  That might be a bit too much and lead to a small thermonuclear meltdown, not something you'd want to be happening in your pocket.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: zageek on Aug 08, 2010, 09:51 am
Treat the Arduino as you would any other consumer grade PCB. It should be able to handle a fall better than a cellphone.  

If the impact is strong enough to smash the IC's or snap the board then it won't last.

One thing to be careful of is dry solder joints that could happen from shock and this could cause problems. The best way would be to test and see.

Are you building a self balancing unicycle becuase that looks like a cool project. I saw a project somewhere on the web a long time ago where a guy did that.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Aug 08, 2010, 10:16 am
Someone else who rides a unicycle!
Are you on the unicyclist forums? (unicyclist.com) and there is also the #unicycle IRC on freenode.

Right, regardiung the question, a direct hit on the PCB would be a bad thing, this might crack the PBC or break of components. Due to the weight of the through hole components which may stress the board, I would recommend going for a SMD version such as the arduino pro mini or nano etc. I would suggest that you want a proper bracket for it to ensure that it is securely attached to the seat (maybe off the rear seat bumber bolts or the front seat bumper bolts). With a bracket and minimising the weight of the product it should be able to withstand most forces.

I think your main issue may be the battery/other components.

I have considered this on a unicycle, a scrolling LED matrix on the back to warn drivers/shout abuse ;D but I think the weight of that would require a substantial bracket and might be prone to getting bashed anyway.I have not got round to anything anyway  ;)

Keep us updated on how it goes.

Mowcius
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: Awesome_Applesauce on Aug 08, 2010, 10:43 am
Thanks for the advice, right now I have a two axis accelerometer and a light sensor.  I was planning on figuring out how to use them propperly as input devices and creating a system that reads speed and tilt data from my unicycle.  But of course I then remembered my problem of falling down occasionally.

As for your questions, I'm not planning on making a self ballancing unicycle, but I have read that article too and would love to make one if I could ever afford the parts.  And no I'm not on the Unicyclist.com forums, but I have used them from time to time while looking up info and also to check if the city of Chicago has any beef against unicycles.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Aug 08, 2010, 11:27 am
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Thanks for the advice, right now I have a two axis accelerometer and a light sensor.  I was planning on figuring out how to use them propperly as input devices and creating a system that reads speed and tilt data from my unicycle.  But of course I then remembered my problem of falling down occasionally.

Well they seem light enough, you just need to make sure that they are securely attached and and bit of padding round just in case. I would have thought with an arduino nano or similar you will be fine with that.

Mowcius
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 17, 2011, 04:09 pm
Curious if you have added an arduino to you uni and if so, is it taking the shock OK and what was the end configuration.
 
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Jan 17, 2011, 09:52 pm
Well I haven't - if I get a nice road unicycle then I might do so but I can't see many reasons as to why I'd want an arduino on there  ;)
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 17, 2011, 10:09 pm
I'll find a reason :)
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Jan 17, 2011, 10:15 pm
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I'll find a reason

You ride a unicycle?  :)
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: retrolefty on Jan 17, 2011, 11:45 pm
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How much shock damage can an Arduino take?


An Arduino can take up to, but not at or above too much shock.

Lefty
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 18, 2011, 02:39 pm
Yes, I am a life long unicyclist - since I was 10 or so.  I also juggle .. putting them together for long is still a challenge.  

I see you ride and another poster as well.   Do you still unicycle on a regular basis?  

It would be interesting to see how many more of "us" out there in arduino land. Like microprocessors - riding a unicycle is something you have to want and try hard to be good at (still working on the microprocessor part myself).

Not on unicycle.com but will check it out as I consider unicyle enhancements.

I have a couple of 24" standard ones and a 5 footer.  I really like the feeling of riding the five footer but not the fall.  At 40 my days on the high road may be numbered.  That is one reason I am looking for new directions to push.

I love to do tricks but often smash the poor little unicycle in the process.  Why I am wondering what others may have done to help with the big bang.  

I have a desire to add LEDs along with a lit up suit to match but have so many projects, it may not make the active list for a while.  Making an electric BC style unicycle is just a pipe dream at this point.  

I realize an electric unicycle with auto-balance is old hat. A BC style unicycle with no auto-balance would be interesting to create and learn to ride, if possible :)  

Happy uni'ing.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: retrolefty on Jan 18, 2011, 06:14 pm
I have been pretty satisfied with the goals and accomplishments that I have met over my 63 years. However two goals that have I have never made much progress on are learning to juggle and to be able to ride a unicycle. Probably too late to acquire those skills now, but I'm sure they would really impress my grandchildren if I could.  ;D

Lefty
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 18, 2011, 08:52 pm
Never too late to learn to juggle I don't think.  It is not a matter of born skill either .. because I am a kluuuutz when not clowning around.  

Klutz + unicycle = unicycle scars.  Goes with skateboard scars and self built death machine scars.  Growing up, anything with wheels on it got taken apart and turned into push cart where we hit the "slopes" in an attempt to cheat death yet another time.  I even broke my arm on a pogo stick (attempting to jump off a five foot platform - whoops head first).  Electronics is fun .. I just stay away from 110v hehe.

Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Jan 18, 2011, 09:36 pm
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I see you ride and another poster as well.   Do you still unicycle on a regular basis?  

Yeah I ride most days - or at least try to. Normally this turns into most weekends though. I ride MUni and trials (learning...).

I currently have a 20" trials and 24" KH MUni - I'd like a 29" but for that I need money  ;)

I am a unicyclist though rather than a performer. A giraffe has never really appealed - I'm more into the bombing down trails getting muddy  :)
For that reason - I can't really see why I'd want an arduino on my unicycle.

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A BC style unicycle with no auto-balance would be interesting to create and learn to ride, if possible

Yeah I have a BC on my list to make. I actually have some plates I made out of some stainless  steel a year or so back but then I realised that they aren't really thick enough and I can't weld stainless  ;D It was some scrap lying around so I haven't lost anything from it!

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Probably too late to acquire those skills now, but I'm sure they would really impress my grandchildren if I could.

Nahh, I bet you could learn...

I can't juggle though although it is now on my list - had a go yesterday actually...

Quote
I just stay away from 110v hehe.

Come to the UK - We have 230v  :D

Mowcius

Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 18, 2011, 10:43 pm
Sounds like you have a nice setup.  Living in Florida .. I don't get much mountain unicycle time but it sure is good exercise to run off road (particularly with a standard 24").

A 29 or larger wheeled unicycle would be sweet - a glide of a ride.

Then again, maybe this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4YmVP6i4qw&NR=1

I'll be sure to let you know if I start an open source electric unicycle / BC project :).

Thanks for all you do in the forums.
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Jan 18, 2011, 10:49 pm
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Then again, maybe this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4YmVP6i4qw&NR=1

Yeah I saw that before  ;)

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I'll be sure to let you know if I start an open source electric unicycle / BC project

Perhaps I should make a mini monocycle (such as the one in that vid) - shouldn't be to tricky :) - servo with weight for balancing... Now that's an idea :D
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 18, 2011, 11:12 pm
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Perhaps I should make a mini monocycle (such as the one in that vid)


How mini? Small like a RC car?
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: mowcius on Jan 19, 2011, 10:34 am
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How mini? Small like a RC car?

Yeah I mean like just small enough to fit a servo and a few components in ;)

I have just seen the perfect bearing for it too... - I wonder if I can nab it :D
Title: Re: How much shock damage can an Arduino take?
Post by: marklar on Jan 19, 2011, 02:38 pm
Nab it .. I want to see a RC monocycle :)