Micro Sawppy Beta 3 USB Access Port

When my little rover Micro Sawppy Beta 3 (MSB3) is running about, its brain built from an ESP32 dev module will be running from battery power. But when I’m updating its software via USB, I have to disconnect the power line to ensure it stays separate from my computer’s USB power line. I originally intended this disconnect to be done by removing a jumper. But after the jumper proved to be too buried to be easily removed, I made a quick hack to change it into a wire. Next step: make the USB port itself easier to access, because it is very much buried in there and hard to access.

I built MSB3’s body before knowing exactly what this circuit board will look like. My original intent is to make the bottom of the tray removable, held only by a few clips. Once those clips were removed I could drop the tray and access the USB port.

Unfortunately, this meant the circuit board is dangling by all the wheel motor and steering servo connections, which meant I’m constantly running the risk of accidentally pulling some wires. Either partially, resulting in an annoying intermittent connection. Or completely, resulting in a loss of functionality or possibly worse with power flowing where it isn’t supposed to. I didn’t like that risk before, and I’m certainly not happy about it now. What I want is a way to access the micro USB port without risking any unplanned wire removal, and that port is sitting behind this unbroken plastic face.

Since this is merely a prototype, there’s no reason why that plastic face must remain unbroken. So I pulled out my drill and started drilling. Starting with a small hole to create a pilot and verify I have the correct location, and gradually working my way towards larger diameter drill bits.

One of the larger drill bits caught and split the case along a printed layer line, but I could still keep things together with my clips so there is no functional problem with the new cracks. It is merely a bit of cosmetic embarrassment, which I can tolerate for the benefit of easy access to my ESP32 dev kit’s micro USB port. There are more things I would like to have in a micro Sawppy rover control board, but this is enough for me to continue working.

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