August 15, 2019: Central power supply update

The EnsembleBot is growing bigger, and we need to address some issues with supplying power for especially the A-side components (i.e. microprocessors and communication).

The slave instruments are connected to the master circuitry via a CAN bus, while the A-side power (and sometimes the B-side power as well) is supplied directly from the central power supply. This makes it quite annoying to run cables between instruments, especially if we want to use a more flexible and ad hoc bus topology.

Inside the bottom PSU enclosure

So, we are going to run a common A-side 12V power line along the CAN bus cable to cover all A-side power needs. If a slave instrument needs A-side 5V, it must use the 12V line and step down the voltage locally.

Until now, we only had a small 12V/2A PSU for the A-side. To support a wider use of this power line, we have replaced it with a more powerful 12V/5A PSU. Fortunately, this could be done with only minor physical alterations to the central PSU enclosure, and a very minor update to the central power supply monitor firmware.

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