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Thread: What would be the best controller for 26 motors?

  1. #1

    Question What would be the best controller for 26 motors?

    What would be the best robotic controller unit for 26 independent, but in sync motors of multiple motion ? As example I have 26 motors controlling hands, finger 5 digit 2 legs and 12 spine joints , and cooling fans ........Maybe it more than 26 ... I lost count........

  2. #2

    Re: What would be the best controller for 26 motors?

    That question doesn't give anything specific to go on.

    "Controller" can mean two things:
    1) Logic controller -- a MCU or a PLA to sequence the motion of the motors.
    2) Motor controller - a circuit that, given input signals from MCU or PLA (or other system) controls the motor speed and direction.

    Also, are you using feedback with those motors? If not, how do you know where the fingers are actually bending to? And if you have feedback, what type, and how are you currently reading it?

    What kind of motors? AC or DC? Brushed or brushless? Geared or straight? What kind of power draw? Duty cycle? Power source?

    To answer the question by guessing at all of those: I would use a servo controller that uses a serial control bus; probably RS-485, and then send commands on that serial bus to the servo controllers. The controllers in turn drive the motors, and read feedback. There are many, many, motion control solutions for servo controllers -- National Instruments, Kollmorgen, Rockwell, ABB, the list goes on and on depending on what your specific requirements are.

    Or buy ready-made servos with motor + controller + sensor all in one, such as the Dynamixel servos from Robotis.

  3. #3

    Re: What would be the best controller for 26 motors?

    I need logic for 2 hands with 5 digit fingers 2 wrist segments 2 elbow 2 shoulder 2 hip 2 knee 2 ankle an 4 foot sections.
    then each is connected to pressure sensor for finger touch.... Then photo sensor for proximaity between finger segments
    Dc brush motor 12vdc or less, Logic and motor controller..power source solar , battery cobination with ac charger built in.
    I guess I have lots to controll logically and Motor wise.....

  4. #4
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    Re: What would be the best controller for 26 motors?

    What is your budget for this project? Just curious.

  5. #5

    Re: What would be the best controller for 26 motors?

    For logic, use whatever you find the easiest to program. I use a Zotac AD-11+ PC, which is about 4"x4"x1.5" in size. It talks through USB to a Atmega32u4 board which in turn talks UART to the servos that move my joints. The Zotac has plenty of processing power for logic and motion planning, and the Atmega32u4 has plenty of I/O for analog ins (12 anlog inputs) and digital ins and outs.

    I'm assuming that you already have brushed DC motor controllers (H bridges)? Are they serially controlled, or do they use individual control lines? If individual, you'll likely need multiple USB control boards (the role of the Atmega32u4 in the above system) because you'll run out of digital outputs to drive that many H-bridges.

    Also, you're not saying anything about position feedback from the joints. If you are just driving motors "blind," you *will* end up breaking your gears and joints. You need rotary encoders, or some other kind of feedback on position (at least, limit switches!) to avoid driving a joint into an "impossible" and breaking configuration.

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