Theoretically, there are two types of robot platforms for outdoor applications: the best and the cheapest. The good ones have a strong chassis, powerful DC motors, a lot of room for batteries and electronics, big wheels with off-road tires and easy to assemble. The cheap ones do not.
Let’s take these features step-by-step for Nomad 4WD Off-Road Chassis.
Strong chassis: aluminum channels, plus an ABS plastic body… yes, it works as long as you do not use the platform to carry stones. It should be strong enough for some adventure in the park or in the backyard. The ABS material is strong enough to resist at shocks and forces that come from outdoor activities.
Powerful DC motors: the platform is driven by 4 DC motors with 313 RPM able to provide a top speed of 5MPH at 12 Volts. But that’s all I know from the description. I hate when I have to pay a lot of money on a kit and forced to search anywhere on the Internet for additional product information. The manufacturer can write them in the product description to make me and other customers happy.
Now I have to guess that these are the DC motors.
These DC motors work between 6V and 12V. The stall current is 20A (WOW), so I need to use two Sabertooth’s 2X25 to control the DC motors. Normally, the final price of this robot will be huge for my current budget. The platform is about $280 on Amazon, plus a Sabertooth 2X25 that costs around $130, the total is over $400. And this is because I already have a Sabertooth 2X25, tons of Arduino’s, and other stuff.
A lot of room for batteries and electronics: the manufacturer doesn’t provide any data about the available space inside the ABS body. But looking at the assembly video, I guess that it has room for two 6V batteries and electronics. Otherwise, I’m again unhappy because I don’t have all the details needed to determine if it’s worth buying it or not.
Big wheels with off-road tires: the chassis is equipped with four 5.4″ diameter by 2.25″ wide heavy duty tires. These wheels should run easily on a fresh-cutted grass.
Easy to assemble: seems easy from this video, so I suppose it would be also for me.
To conclusionate this, the outdoor platform is expensive, but it has a strong body, large wheels, and some impressive DC motors.