We have a working flywheel that is very accurate and consistent. The problem is we have to wait an interminable amount of time between each ball before launching it. We have an external gear ratio of 25:1. It is run on four high strength motors (110 power, 80 for halfcourt shots). Is there any way we can make the recovery time faster? Can we use some kind of sensor that will help so we don’t have to change the motor power?
Members of the community have done a great job compiling a list of responses on this thread.
To summarize, increasing mass of the wheel, increasing the diameter of the wheel, or adding more motors will help reduce recovery time. However, increasing mass or diameter will also increase the time required to get the flywheel up to speed.
Adding sensors like encoders to the system allows you to use PID control, which will automatically adjust the motor speed to keep your flywheel at a set speed. When a ball is launched, the flywheel slows down, and the motors will speed up to compensate. Once the flywheel is back at the appropriate speed, the motors can slow down and maintain that speed.
To effectively use PID, the target speed must be less than the motor’s full speed. That is, if the target speed is half the motor’s max speed, then the motor can run at maximum speed to quickly bring the flywheel to the target speed, then return to half speed to maintain the target. However, if the target speed is as fast as the motor can run, then the motor will run at maximum speed regardless and will take a longer time to return to the target speed.