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Topic: How much shock damage can an Arduino take? (Read 3425 times) previous topic - next topic

Awesome Applesauce

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.

zoomkat

With some shock protective packaging, the arduino will probably last longer than you.
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cr0sh

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...

:)
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

zoomkat

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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.

Google forum search: Use Google Advanced Search and use Http://forum.arduino.cc/index in the "site or domain:" box.

UltraMagnus

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.

Funky Diver

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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.

zageek

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.
South African Arduino User Group

http://arduino.za.net

mowcius

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

Awesome Applesauce

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.

mowcius

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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

marklar

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.
 

mowcius

#11
Jan 17, 2011, 09:52 pm Last Edit: Jan 17, 2011, 09:52 pm by mowcius Reason: 1
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  ;)


mowcius

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I'll find a reason

You ride a unicycle?  :)

retrolefty

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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

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