Arduino Self-Balancing Robot

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Introduction: Arduino Self-Balancing Robot

Hello, everyone!

In this instructable, I'll show you how to build a small self-balancing robot that can move around avoiding obstacles. This is a tiny robot measuring 4 inches wide and 4 inches tall and is based on the Arduino Pro Mini development board and the MPU6050 accelerometer-gyroscope module.

In the steps that follow, we will see how to interface the MPU6050 with Arduino, how to measure the angle of inclination of the robot, how to use PID to make the robot stay balanced. An ultrasonic rangefinder is also added to the robot which prevents it from banging into obstacles as it wanders around.

Parts List

I bought most of these parts from aliexpress but you can find them in any other electronics store as well.

1. Arduino Pro Mini

2. GY-521 module with MPU-6050

3. DRV8833 Pololu motor driver

4. 2, 5V boost converter

5. US-020 ultrasonic distance sensor

6. NCR18650 battery and holder

7. Pair of micro metal gear motors (N20, 6V, 200 rpm) and brackets

8. Pair of 42x19mm wheels

9. 3, Double-sided prototype PCB (4cm x 6cm)

10. 8, 25cm Nylon spacers and 4, nylon nuts

Apart from the above, you will need some cables, berg connectors and one on/off switch.

Step 1: A Bit of Theory

Let's start with some fundamentals before getting our hands dirty.

The self-balancing robot is similar to an upside down pendulum. Unlike a normal pendulum which keeps on swinging once given a nudge, this inverted pendulum cannot stay balanced on its own. It will simply fall over. Then how do we balance it? Consider balancing a broomstick on our index finger which is a classic example of balancing an inverted pendulum. We move our finger in the direction in which the stick is falling. Similar is the case with a self-balancing robot, only that the robot will fall either forward or backward. Just like how we balance a stick on our finger, we balance the robot by driving its wheels in the direction in which it is falling. What we are trying to do here is to keep the center of gravity of the robot exactly above the pivot point.

To drive the motors we need some information on the state of the robot. We need to know the direction in which the robot is falling, how much the robot has tilted and the speed with which it is falling. All these information can be deduced from the readings obtained from MPU6050. We combine all these inputs and generate a signal which drives the motors and keeps the robot balanced.

Step 2: Let's Start Building

We will first complete the circuitry and structure of the robot. The robot is built on three layers of perfboards that are spaced 25mm apart using nylon spacers. The bottom layer contains the two motors and the motor driver. The middle layer has the controller, the IMU, and the 5V boost regulator modules. The top most layer has the battery, an on/off switch and the ultrasonic distance sensor (we will install this towards the end once we get the robot to balance).

Before we begin to prototype on a perfboard we should have a clear picture about where each part should be placed. To make prototyping easy, it is always better to draw the physical layout of all the components and use this as a reference to place the components and route the jumpers on the perfboard. Once all the parts are placed and soldered, interconnect the three boards using nylon spacers.

You might have noticed that I've used two separate voltage regulator modules for driving the motors and the controller even though they both require a 5V source. This is very important. In my first design, I used a single 5V boost regulator to power up the controller as well as the motors. When I switched on the robot, the program freezes intermittently. This was due to the noise generated from the motor circuit acting upon the controller and the IMU. This was effectively eliminated by separating the voltage regulator to the controller and the motor and adding a 10uF capacitor at the motor power supply terminals.

Step 3: Measuring Angle of Inclination Using Accelerometer

The MPU6050 has a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope. The accelerometer measures acceleration along the three axes and the gyroscope measures angular rate about the three axes. To measure the angle of inclination of the robot we need acceleration values along y and z-axes. The atan2(y,z) function gives the angle in radians between the positive z-axis of a plane and the point given by the coordinates (z,y) on that plane, with positive sign for counter-clockwise angles (right half-plane, y > 0), and negative sign for clockwise angles (left half-plane, y < 0). We use this library written by Jeff Rowberg to read the data from MPU6050. Upload the code given below and see how the angle of inclination varies.

#include "Wire.h"
#include "I2Cdev.h" #include "MPU6050.h" #include "math.h"

MPU6050 mpu;

int16_t accY, accZ; float accAngle;

void setup() { mpu.initialize(); Serial.begin(9600); }

void loop() { accZ = mpu.getAccelerationZ(); accY = mpu.getAccelerationY(); accAngle = atan2(accY, accZ)*RAD_TO_DEG; if(isnan(accAngle)); else Serial.println(accAngle); }

Try moving the robot forward and backward while keeping it tilted at some fixed angle. You will observe that the angle shown in your serial monitor suddenly changes. This is due to the horizontal component of acceleration interfering with the acceleration values of y and z-axes.

Step 4: Measuring Angle of Inclination Using Gyroscope

The 3-axis gyroscope of MPU6050 measures angular rate (rotational velocity) along the three axes. For our self-balancing robot, the angular velocity along the x-axis alone is sufficient to measure the rate of fall of the robot.

In the code given below, we read the gyro value about the x-axis, convert it to degrees per second and then multiply it with the loop time to obtain the change in angle. We add this to the previous angle to obtain the current angle.

#include "Wire.h"
#include "I2Cdev.h" #include "MPU6050.h"

MPU6050 mpu;

int16_t gyroX, gyroRate; float gyroAngle=0; unsigned long currTime, prevTime=0, loopTime;

void setup() { mpu.initialize(); Serial.begin(9600); }

void loop() { currTime = millis(); loopTime = currTime - prevTime; prevTime = currTime; gyroX = mpu.getRotationX(); gyroRate = map(gyroX, -32768, 32767, -250, 250); gyroAngle = gyroAngle + (float)gyroRate*loopTime/1000; Serial.println(gyroAngle); }

The position of the MPU6050 when the program starts running is the zero inclination point. The angle of inclination will be measured with respect to this point.

Keep the robot steady at a fixed angle and you will observe that the angle will gradually increase or decrease. It won't stay steady. This is due to the drift which is inherent to the gyroscope.

In the code given above, loop time is calculated using the millis() function which is built into the Arduino IDE. In later steps, we will be using timer interrupts to create precise sampling intervals. This sampling period will also be used in generating the output using a PID controller.

Step 5: Combining the Results With a Complementary Filter

Google defines complementary as "combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another".

We have two measurements of the angle from two different sources. The measurement from accelerometer gets affected by sudden horizontal movements and the measurement from gyroscope gradually drifts away from actual value. In other words, the accelerometer reading gets affected by short duration signals and the gyroscope reading by long duration signals. These readings are, in a way, complementary to each other. Combine them both using a Complementary Filter and we get a stable, accurate measurement of the angle. The complementary filter is essentially a high pass filter acting on the gyroscope and a low pass filter acting on the accelerometer to filter out the drift and noise from the measurement.

currentAngle = 0.9934 * (previousAngle + gyroAngle) + 0.0066 * (accAngle)

0.9934 and 0.0066 are filter coefficients for a filter time constant of 0.75s. The low pass filter allows any signal longer than this duration to pass through it and the high pass filter allows any signal shorter than this duration to pass through. The response of the filter can be tweaked by picking the correct time constant. Lowering the time constant will allow more horizontal acceleration to pass through.

Eliminating accelerometer and gyroscope offset errors
Download and run the code given in this page to calibrate the MPU6050's offsets. Any error due to offset can be eliminated by defining the offset values in the setup() routine as shown below.

mpu.setYAccelOffset(1593);
mpu.setZAccelOffset(963); mpu.setXGyroOffset(40);

Step 6: PID Control for Generating Output

PID stands for Proportional, Integral, and Derivative. Each of these terms provides a unique response to our self-balancing robot.

The proportional term, as its name suggests, generates a response that is proportional to the error. For our system, the error is the angle of inclination of the robot.

The integral term generates a response based on the accumulated error. This is essentially the sum of all the errors multiplied by the sampling period. This is a response based on the behavior of the system in past.

The derivative term is proportional to the derivative of the error. This is the difference between the current error and the previous error divided by the sampling period. This acts as a predictive term that responds to how the robot might behave in the next sampling loop.

Multiplying each of these terms by their corresponding constants (i.e, Kp, Ki and Kd) and summing the result, we generate the output which is then sent as command to drive the motor.

Step 7: Tuning the PID Constants

1. Set Ki and Kd to zero and gradually increase Kp so that the robot starts to oscillate about the zero position.

2. Increase Ki so that the response of the robot is faster when it is out of balance. Ki should be large enough so that the angle of inclination does not increase. The robot should come back to zero position if it is inclined.

3. Increase Kd so as to reduce the oscillations. The overshoots should also be reduced by now.

4. Repeat the above steps by fine tuning each parameter to achieve the best result.

Step 8: Adding the Distance Sensor

The ultrasonic distance sensor that I've used is the US-020. It has four pins namely Vcc, Trig, Echo, and Gnd. It is powered by a 5V source. The trigger and echo pins are respectively connected to digital pins 9 and 8 of Arduino. We will be using the NewPing library to get the distance value from the sensor. We will read the distance once every 100 milliseconds and if the value is between 0 and 20cm, we will command the robot to perform a rotation. This should be sufficient to steer the robot away from the obstacle.

Step 9: The Complete Code

#include "Wire.h"

#include "I2Cdev.h" #include "MPU6050.h" #include "math.h" #include <NewPing.h>

#define leftMotorPWMPin 6 #define leftMotorDirPin 7 #define rightMotorPWMPin 5 #define rightMotorDirPin 4

#define TRIGGER_PIN 9 #define ECHO_PIN 8 #define MAX_DISTANCE 75

#define Kp 40 #define Kd 0.05 #define Ki 40 #define sampleTime 0.005 #define targetAngle -2.5

MPU6050 mpu; NewPing sonar(TRIGGER_PIN, ECHO_PIN, MAX_DISTANCE);

int16_t accY, accZ, gyroX; volatile int motorPower, gyroRate; volatile float accAngle, gyroAngle, currentAngle, prevAngle=0, error, prevError=0, errorSum=0; volatile byte count=0; int distanceCm;

void setMotors(int leftMotorSpeed, int rightMotorSpeed) { if(leftMotorSpeed >= 0) { analogWrite(leftMotorPWMPin, leftMotorSpeed); digitalWrite(leftMotorDirPin, LOW); } else { analogWrite(leftMotorPWMPin, 255 + leftMotorSpeed); digitalWrite(leftMotorDirPin, HIGH); } if(rightMotorSpeed >= 0) { analogWrite(rightMotorPWMPin, rightMotorSpeed); digitalWrite(rightMotorDirPin, LOW); } else { analogWrite(rightMotorPWMPin, 255 + rightMotorSpeed); digitalWrite(rightMotorDirPin, HIGH); } }

void init_PID() { // initialize Timer1 cli(); // disable global interrupts TCCR1A = 0; // set entire TCCR1A register to 0 TCCR1B = 0; // same for TCCR1B // set compare match register to set sample time 5ms OCR1A = 9999; // turn on CTC mode TCCR1B |= (1 << WGM12); // Set CS11 bit for prescaling by 8 TCCR1B |= (1 << CS11); // enable timer compare interrupt TIMSK1 |= (1 << OCIE1A); sei(); // enable global interrupts }

void setup() { // set the motor control and PWM pins to output mode pinMode(leftMotorPWMPin, OUTPUT); pinMode(leftMotorDirPin, OUTPUT); pinMode(rightMotorPWMPin, OUTPUT); pinMode(rightMotorDirPin, OUTPUT); // set the status LED to output mode pinMode(13, OUTPUT); // initialize the MPU6050 and set offset values mpu.initialize(); mpu.setYAccelOffset(1593); mpu.setZAccelOffset(963); mpu.setXGyroOffset(40); // initialize PID sampling loop init_PID(); }

void loop() { // read acceleration and gyroscope values accY = mpu.getAccelerationY(); accZ = mpu.getAccelerationZ(); gyroX = mpu.getRotationX(); // set motor power after constraining it motorPower = constrain(motorPower, -255, 255); setMotors(motorPower, motorPower); // measure distance every 100 milliseconds if((count%20) == 0){ distanceCm = sonar.ping_cm(); } if((distanceCm < 20) && (distanceCm != 0)) { setMotors(-motorPower, motorPower); } } // The ISR will be called every 5 milliseconds ISR(TIMER1_COMPA_vect) { // calculate the angle of inclination accAngle = atan2(accY, accZ)*RAD_TO_DEG; gyroRate = map(gyroX, -32768, 32767, -250, 250); gyroAngle = (float)gyroRate*sampleTime; currentAngle = 0.9934*(prevAngle + gyroAngle) + 0.0066*(accAngle); error = currentAngle - targetAngle; errorSum = errorSum + error; errorSum = constrain(errorSum, -300, 300); //calculate output from P, I and D values motorPower = Kp*(error) + Ki*(errorSum)*sampleTime - Kd*(currentAngle-prevAngle)/sampleTime; prevAngle = currentAngle; // toggle the led on pin13 every second count++; if(count == 200) { count = 0; digitalWrite(13, !digitalRead(13)); } }

Step 10: Final Thoughts

Spending a bit more time on tweaking the PID constants would give us a better result. The size of our robot also limits the level of stability we can achieve. It is easier to build a full-sized balancing robot than it is to build a small one like ours. Still, I guess, our robot does a pretty decent job in balancing on various surfaces as shown in the video.

That's it for now.

Thanks for your time. Don't forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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86 Discussions

hello friend I have armed a bigger robot I have used your code and it works very well but I have problems so that it remains quiet, I have tried to calibrate the line (targetAngle) so that it is still but only on a completely flat ground I have a question: it has a project similar but using kalman filter, your code has been the only one that worked on my robot and I am very grateful, if you have more similar projects please give the link thanks

note: sorry my bad english

i want to make this project using arduino uno and l293D . what changes do i need to make in this code?

please reply :)

Hello sir! That's great project! I love it. I'm trying to use your code for my own project. There are some changes that I made. I'm measuring the inclination angle using Y-Gyro instead of X-Gyro as your instruction. But it seems the changing of the angle not reflected when I keep my robot to tilt though the ISR always called. So the motor not moved as well. Don't be aware of the LMotorController as I use it to control my DC motor easier. My completed code as below:

#include "Wire.h"

#include "I2Cdev.h"

#include "MPU6050.h"

#include "math.h"

#include

#define MIN_ABS_SPEED 30

int16_t accX, accZ, gyroY;

volatile int motorPower, gyroRate;

volatile float accAngle, gyroAngle, currentAngle, prevAngle=0, error, prevError=0, errorSum=0;

#define Kp 60

#define Kd 0

#define Ki 0

#define sampleTime 0.005

#define targetAngle -2.5

MPU6050 mpu;

double motorSpeedFactorLeft = 0.5;

double motorSpeedFactorRight = 0.5;

//MOTOR CONTROLLER

int ENA = 3;

int IN1 = 5;

int IN2 = 4;

int IN3 = 6;

int IN4 = 7;

int ENB = 9;

LMotorController motorController(ENA, IN1, IN2, ENB, IN3, IN4, motorSpeedFactorLeft, motorSpeedFactorRight);

void setup()

{

Serial.begin(9600);

/*#if I2CDEV_IMPLEMENTATION == I2CDEV_ARDUINO_WIRE

Wire.begin();

TWBR = 24; // 400kHz I2C clock (200kHz if CPU is 8MHz)

#elif I2CDEV_IMPLEMENTATION == I2CDEV_BUILTIN_FASTWIRE

Fastwire::setup(400, true);

#endif*/

mpu.initialize();

// supply your own gyro offsets here, scaled for min sensitivity

mpu.setXAccelOffset(-871);

mpu.setZAccelOffset(768);

mpu.setYGyroOffset(-21);

// initialize Timer1

cli(); // disable global interrupts

TCCR1A = 0; // set entire TCCR1A register to 0

TCCR1B = 0; // same for TCCR1B

// set compare match register to set sample time 5ms

OCR1A = 9999;

// turn on CTC mode

TCCR1B |= (1 << WGM12);

// Set CS11 bit for prescaling by 8

TCCR1B |= (1 << CS11);

// enable timer compare interrupt

TIMSK1 |= (1 << OCIE1A);

sei(); // enable global interrupts

}

void loop()

{

// read acceleration and gyroscope values

accX = mpu.getAccelerationX();

Serial.println(accX);

accZ = mpu.getAccelerationZ();

gyroY = mpu.getRotationY();

motorPower = constrain(motorPower, -255, 255);

motorController.move(motorPower, MIN_ABS_SPEED);

}

// The ISR will be called every 5 milliseconds

ISR(TIMER1_COMPA_vect)

{

// calculate the angle of inclination

accAngle = atan2(accX, accZ)*RAD_TO_DEG;

gyroRate = map(gyroY, -32768, 32767, -250, 250);

gyroAngle = (float)gyroRate*sampleTime;

currentAngle = 0.9934*(prevAngle + gyroAngle) + 0.0066*(accAngle);

/*accX = map(accX,-32768,32767,-90,90);

accZ = map(accZ,-32768,32767,-90,90);

currentAngle = RAD_TO_DEG * (atan2(-accX, -accZ)+PI);*/

//Serial.println(currentAngle);

error = currentAngle - targetAngle;

errorSum = errorSum + error;

errorSum = constrain(errorSum, -300, 300);

//calculate output from P, I and D values

motorPower = Kp*(error) + Ki*(errorSum)*sampleTime - Kd*(currentAngle-prevAngle)/sampleTime;

prevAngle = currentAngle;

}

Hope your help :(

Thanks in advance!

2 replies

Glad to know that you love my project.

If you have made any changes, it would be better to first ensure that you are reading the angle of inclination correctly. Please see Step 4 and observe your serial monitor. Tilt your robot in both direction and check whether the angle of inclination is corrrect.

Hi sir! thanks for your reply. My change simple came from the way I mounted the sensor, I put it as horizontal along the frame of robot instead of vertical as your sensor layout . So I suppose the inclination angle is based on Y-Gyroscope. I'm not sure about this. Could you please take a look my code and give me the feedback?

Thanks

0
user
EdwarR1

Question 6 weeks ago

Thank you so much, maybe later i will to change with DRV8833 motor driver for simple my life hehe,, by the way, can i placing the mpu in vertical position, in this case i want to placing the all component in vertical position. how to measure the angle if i place them like that ?

thank you so much

0
user
Barzok

8 weeks ago

Hello,

I am currently building my version of your robot. Thanks very much for your tuto and sharing the code.

I have several questions for you :

- Why don't you read the MPU values directly in the ISR rather than in the loop ?

- Same, why don't you call SetMotors () in the ISR ?

- Finally, why do you have a target angle of -2.5 ? Is it to have the robot always run forward, or is it to compensate a bad tilt (in the video, it does not go forward much...)?

I have built mine with a L298N H bridge and some basic DC motors. The motors only start spinning with a setMotors (80,80); As my robot doesn't balance yet, maybe this is an issue, but I have seen many robots working with this config... I'll keep posted.

Thanks for your reply anyway.

1 reply

Reading MPU values and calling setMotors() is done outside the ISR because these operations involve timers and I don't want them to mess with the ISR (I'm not sure if it does).

The target angle is to compensate for a bad tilt and was arrived at after some trials.

If you find it difficult to balance, try mapping the motorPower to 80 to 255 range.

0
user
ConnorBM

Question 2 months ago

Which pins are the SDA and SCL wires from the MPU-6050 connected to?

Thanks

1 more answer

SDA and SCL pins of MPU6050 are respectively connected to A4 and A5 pins of Arduino Pro Mini. Please refer Step 2 for connection diagram.

0
user
EdwarR1

Question 7 weeks ago

hallo, could you explain this project using l293d ic ? because i want to use l293d motor driver ? and what any different code if i using l293d motor driver ?

thank you

1 more answer

You can use L293D without any change in the code. Please refer step 2 for connections.

hello, i’m edwar. i have questiona for you, can i change the motor driver using l293d IC...

thank you so much, i very intersting for your project

Hi, I love this project. If I change the sampling time constant to 0.008 how should I change the filter?

1 more answer

Glad to know that you love this project.

I suppose you want the same response from the filter but with a different sampling time. i.e., 8ms. To obtain the same filter response, you need to keep the filter time constant same. From Step5, you can calculate the values of filter coefficients for a time constant of 0.008s. The values are 0.9894 and 0.0106

can you explain what are you doing in "init_PID" function. i dont understand every line of code in it. thanks

1 more answer

init_PID() is a basic timer initialize and start function. The timer registers are set so that an Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) is called precisely every 5 milliseconds. Angle and PID calculation is done inside this ISR.

can you explain what are you doing in "init_PID" function. i dont understand every line of code in it. thanks

Hi Your explanation is probably the best I have gone through yet. Can you explain what are you doing in this line of code

gyroRate = map(gyroX, -32768, 32767, -250, 250);

1 more answer

Thank you.

The line of code converts 16-bit gyro reading to deg/sec. -250 to 250 is the default gyro setting in deg/sec.