Rover 5 Tank Chassis (2 Motors)
This is a very simple, fairly durable hobby oriented paltform, available from DFRobotics for ~$44, requiring minimal assembly.
Assemble the motor housing, complete with motors, but leave the motor housing exposed for now. Cut the provided wire into suitable lengths for connecting the motors. You will not want to use the entire length of wiring provided, as some will be needed later. Strip a small portion at the end of each wire and connect them to the motors as shown. We have chosen to connect the motors in parallel.
We highly recommend doing a small test at this point to make sure the motors were connected properly. The wheels should spin in the same direction on both sides when given power on the same leads.
Solder each of the connections, being careful not to burn any plastic parts. While you can skip the soldering, it is highly recommended for the most durability. Now cut a length a wire for connecting the motors to a power source. We have simply soldered wires to two of the previous solder points. There is a switch built into the robot if you would like to route your power through that.
Put the cover on the motor housing, install the stand-offs for the upper deck, and install the small mounting platform. The batteries can easily be situated on the small mounting platform, and the motor controller can fit between the upper and lower decks. Connect the motors and the batteries to the motor controller and install the upper deck. We added hook and loop (velcro) fasteners on the upper deck and the bottom of the netbook.
The tank was very easy to work with. Remove the upper half of the tank by loosening the screws. The internal wiring harness can be unplugged to completely separate the two halves.
Locate the wires coming off of the battery housing that will be used to power the motors. There are two sets of wires coming off our model. One set connects to fewer batteries and thus supplies less power. We used the higher power leads, which we verified by using a multimeter with batteries installed. Trace these out to their connectors. Use solid wires to patch between the connectors and the motor controller. Do the same with the leads coming off of the motors.
We used hook and loop fasteners (velcro) to secure the netbook. After situating the netbook, use any remaining space available on the tank to secure the motor controller (the Phidgets, high voltage motor controller is shown in the figure. We set ours up to drive backwards, so the motor controller could sit nicely behind the netbook without obscuring its vision.