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Author Topic: Good ways of controlling motors and actuators via USB?  (Read 1221 times)

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Offline DoughyTopic starter

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Good ways of controlling motors and actuators via USB?
« on: September 22, 2010, 08:44:39 PM »
Hello all,

I'm pretty new to robotics so I have a newb question for you all. I have a laptop that processes some sensor data. Some software on the laptop processes the sensor data, and if it exceeds a threshold, can fire any code that I write. I want my code to turn on some motors and blink some LEDs for a few seconds.

So, my question is what is the easiest way to interface software to the motors and LEDs? Is this kind of thing easiest done via USB? If so, where can I look for some boards to do this kind of stuff?

Thanks in advance.

Offline rbtying

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Re: Good ways of controlling motors and actuators via USB?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 08:47:32 PM »
Easiest way is probably the Arduino Duemilanove, about $30.00 these days.  It's a good starter MCU, and comes with an ATMega328, which is equivalent (quadruple the memory) to the controller used in the $50.00 robot tutorial, and has a FT232 UART to USB converter built in.  Of course, not knowing what sensors you have, or the motors, I can't really recommend much there.  Any other microcontroller you have experience with will work too.

Offline DoughyTopic starter

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Re: Good ways of controlling motors and actuators via USB?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 10:36:47 PM »
So how to the motors actually get controlled by the Arduino? How do you take the digital outputs on the Arduino and turn something on/off?

Offline Metal Slug 2

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Re: Good ways of controlling motors and actuators via USB?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 11:12:30 PM »
For motors, you can use a motor driver such as this.  Or just any other H-Bridge which meets the power requirements for your motor.

To control components like relays, high current LED's, or just turn a motor "on", you can use a simple transistor circuit. (look 2/3's down the page)

To get you started: Download the arduino software.  Look through all the examples, try them out, get familiar with stuff.  But also download Fritzing, it contains breadboard wiring diagrams, schematics and board layouts for you to reference--and comes preloaded with the wiring diagrams for nearly all the arduino examples.

Offline GearMotion

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Re: Good ways of controlling motors and actuators via USB?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 05:49:22 PM »
Hello all,

I'm pretty new to robotics so I have a newb question for you all. I have a laptop that processes some sensor data. Some software on the laptop processes the sensor data, and if it exceeds a threshold, can fire any code that I write. I want my code to turn on some motors and blink some LEDs for a few seconds.

So, my question is what is the easiest way to interface software to the motors and LEDs? Is this kind of thing easiest done via USB? If so, where can I look for some boards to do this kind of stuff?

Thanks in advance.


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