Parallax Insider News

Arlo Power Distribution Board for the Arlo Robotic Platform System is Heading to Kitting!

  • By: Ken Gracey Published: 28 March, 2014 6 comments

In a prior post, I demonstrated how you can use our ActivityBot C code in our big Arlo platform to quickly and quietly carry loads and also apply classroom robotics for real applications. Imagine having a robot that can drive between your class and the office, one to launch fireworks at sporting events, or carry your computer and smaller robots along for you.

Until today, wiring for any of these was a bit of a time-consuming project for most of our customers. The new Arlo Power Distribution Board makes this prior chore a rewarding experience. The purpose is to simplify wiring, regulate and fuse power, and eliminate terminal strips for power distribution with the Arlo Robotic Platform System.

Some of the key features include:

  • Built-in 2.5 mm power jack for charging two 12V sealed lead acid batteries with our charge unit. 
  • Power and motor switches on an acrylic plate that plug into PCB receptacles. 
  • 5V-1A, 6.5V-2A, and 12V-10A DC power supplies routed to six screw terminal connectors.

We've also answered requests for safety. The entire power system is properly fused and protected from direct physical shorts by an acrylic top. This top also holds two power buttons that separate main and motor power so that the robot can be programmed without the fear of it running away. I'd be comfortable having my middle school robotic students wire up this system. Heck, they can solder it too.

The Arlo Power Distribution Board isn’t limited to Propellers and BASIC Stamps, either. With the voltages we’ve provided you can power Arduinos or most any other microcontroller (excluding a laptop) to control your Arlo.

Availability is planned for the first week of May. We've just ordered parts for production and need to finish the assembly documentation. The price will be less than $100 – which may seem high at first look – but the parts costs of a low-volume, American-made product like this easily exceed $65!  The convenience of this board will more than pay for itself by eliminating five hours of soldering wires and power supplies.  It’s such a wonderful solution that we're currently outfitting six Arlos with the same design for the USA Science and Engineering Festival later this month in Washington, DC. 

Be sure to browse our photos above and leave your comments here, too. This is what you asked for, right?

- Ken Gracey


Looks very nice. I will be buying one. Only nit is I would like more current @5 volts.

John Abshier

Hey clofland, we're really close. We had planned a release of this for May, but we got busy with a few "emergency" projects for customers. Now that we're almost done with those efforts MattG will finish up the documentation for this product. We have all the parts in stock - it's just been a matter of documentation. Because we don't want to skimp on quality documentation this part can often take longer than the design of the product. Check back by the end of June. If we don't have it by then I'm in trouble!

What charger do we use with this? Or will that be included in the "package"?