In most ROS demonstrations, the robots are running through a pristine laboratory environment. Phoebe is built to roam my home, which is neither a laboratory or pristine. This became a problem when Phoebe ran across some dust bunnies and picked them up with its leading edge.
When choosing an orientation for Raspberry Pi 3 on Phoebe’s electronics tray, I chose to make the HDMI port accessible so I could connect a monitor as necessary. This resulted in that port facing forward along with the micro-USB power port and the headphone jack. All three of these ports were plugged up with debris when Phoebe explored some paths less well-traveled.
After I cleaned up the mess, all three ports appeared to work, but I was worried about Phoebe encountering some less fluffy obstacles. The audio jack was not a high priority as Raspberry Pi default audio is notoriously noisy and I haven’t needed it. The power jack could be easily bypassed by sending power via the GIPO pins (as I’m doing right now). That leaves the HDMI port, which can be quite inconvenient if damaged. If I need a screen on a Pi with damaged HDMI port, I’d need to buy or borrow a screen that goes into the alternate DSI port like the official Raspberry Pi touchscreen.
Fortunately, there are little plastic plugs that come with certain HDMI peripherals for protection during shipping. In my case, I had a small red HDMI plug that came with my MSI video card. I installed it on Phoebe’s Raspberry Pi to protect the HDMI port against future debris encounters. Now Phoebe has a red nose. If it should glow I might have to rename my robot to Rudolph the Red Nosed Robot.
But it doesn’t glow, so Phoebe won’t get a name change.
(Cross-posted to Hackaday.io)