PARTS IS PARTS:
Product Review: FingerTech Robotics Power Switch
● by Mike Jeffries
FIGURE 1. An example of a removable
link used in a 1 lb fighting robot.
For as long as I can remember, there hasn’t been a power switch designed for the 150 g to 3 lb
combat robot classes that is readily available. Most
Insect class bots I’ve seen have used variations of a
removable link concept, where a connector is used to
split the line and the mating connector has the wires
connected; when the mating connector is plugged in,
the circuit is complete and the robot is powered.
This method works, but in practice is often slow
and awkward to use. This method also means that
there is the potential for the mating connector to get
lost before a match or get knocked loose during a
Another option that I have seen is off-the-shelf
slides, pushbuttons, and toggle switches. Once again,
these work, but they tend to be fragile; without a
mechanical lock, they are capable of being switched off
purely from sudden acceleration.
I only started building Insect class robots a few
years ago, but right from the beginning I knew I
wanted a better power switch option. I even went to
the effort of designing and building my own. However,
they were too expensive to make on a commercial
scale, so when I found out about the new switch
Finger Tech Robotics was working on, I knew I had to
take a look at it.
The design is simple, light, and compact. As far as
simplicity, there are only five distinct parts: two
mirrored housing blocks, one through-hole copper tab,
one tapped copper tab, and a screw.
As far as weight is concerned, the
switch I tested weighed in at 2. 2 g.
FIGURE 2. Photo of
the Finger Tech power
switch next to a
quarter for scale.
30 SERVO 04.2013