Author Topic: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control  (Read 1943 times)

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Offline Kerville7Topic starter

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plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« on: September 02, 2015, 02:26:43 PM »
Hi all,
I am an experienced software developer and decided to create just for fun a small robot.. The case is that I am afraid I do not have the time to get very deep with electronics so I was thinking to use an entire old PC as the brain, and for the motion 1 or two controllers of those being sold on the net that are connected to USB, and come also with relevant libraries that will help me consentrate more on coding..  Basically I will right a simple windows application that will control real time the servos and steppers..
Therefore before I start, I would really appreciate your opinion on this... I mean does this idea have any disadvantage I cannot know? Also could someone propose any USB servo / stepper real time controller that come with relevant software drivers?
Really appreciate your help..

Offline cyberjeff

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Re: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 05:44:17 PM »
I suppose if you are a windows developer everything looks like a windows solution:

https://www.pc-control.co.uk/howto_servo.htm

I wouldn't go that route though. Connecting servos to a microcontroller is no big deal, microcontrollers typically have many inputs and a variety of devices that plug right in. In the Arduino community they call them shields. Assuming you are fluent in C++, you can dive right in.

Offline Kerville7Topic starter

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Re: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 01:32:50 AM »
Thanks for your reply.

I understand your concern, and I agree.

Assuming that I follow the way you mentioned, and lets say I need 2 servos and 2 steppers in the project,

would I need 1 or 2 arduino plugged in the PC in order to controll the motors? Moreover, are these coming with relevant

windows drivers (or libraries)  that would help me integrate them with the main software application that will run the whole project?

I mean I would like to use ready software (C++ works fine)  for this..

If you could sent me some links so that I would fastly deep on this, it would help a lot.

Kind regards


Offline cyberjeff

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Re: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 04:22:38 AM »
Thanks for your reply.

I understand your concern, and I agree.

Assuming that I follow the way you mentioned, and lets say I need 2 servos and 2 steppers in the project,

would I need 1 or 2 arduino plugged in the PC in order to controll the motors? Moreover, are these coming with relevant


Just one. An Arduino UNO, by itself has 6 PWM outputs.

An Arduino Uno is a great starter board. A wide variety of stuff plugs in or runs off. Here is a stepper servo shield plugged in on the UNO:

http://www.adafruit.com/products/1438

(Servos don't actually need a shield, steppers and motors do)

and here is a UNO:

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/arduinoBoardUno

You program it through a USB cable to your PC (or Mac , or *nix) and you may wish to use Eclipse with Arduino extensions but I just use  the native IDE:

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

Windows requires a driver .inf

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage

Clones are widely available on Ebay and very cheap. Even Microcenter has UNOs for under $10.

Quote

windows drivers (or libraries)  that would help me integrate them with the main software application that will run the whole project?

I mean I would like to use ready software (C++ works fine)  for this..

If you could sent me some links so that I would fastly deep on this, it would help a lot.

Kind regards

There are other options but Arduino has a vast support network and is very easy to get started with. The learning curve is short.

Offline Kerville7Topic starter

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Re: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 01:55:19 AM »
Thank a lot cyberjeff. I really appereciate your help. I will have a look on the resourses you provided and I am sure it will work for me.

Offline Kerville7Topic starter

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Re: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 10:01:13 AM »
May I ask also how reliable (in terms of hardware) could be a solution that is based on arduino boards?

I mean does these boards fail offen?


Offline cyberjeff

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Re: plug and play usb controllers for step motors and servos control
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2015, 08:04:33 PM »
May I ask also how reliable (in terms of hardware) could be a solution that is based on arduino boards?

I mean does these boards fail offen?

Well, I've smoked one, but it was not the Arduino's fault. Things can go wrong when you are controlling AC inductive loads. But I wouldn't worry about the durability of them, and they are cheap and readily available.

The UNO is a good start.

To control motors and steppers you will need an H Bridge. An UNO can easily control 6 motors or steppers. A DUE can do 12 and there are add on boards where you could control hundreds. Servos do not need an H Bridge as it is built in.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Modules-L298N-Dual-H-Bridge-Motor-Controll/

Get an H Bridge sized for your motors, you are more likely to blow up one of  those (rather than the Arduino) if it can't handle the current and voltage. I can't tell you more than that as I have no experience with H Bridges, only servos.

 


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