Friday, 24 February 2017

How To Use An S Series Micro Linear Actuator With RC

If you're familiar with our products, you may already know that we offer an entire line of linear servos that are plug and play compatible with most RC receivers. These are the PQ12-R, the L12-R and L16-R in their various different gearing ratios. These are ideal for most RC projects that require linear motion.

But what can you do when you need to push some real weight? If you're building RC construction equipment for example, you might need a force of 50lbs or more. Our P16 rod actuator and T16 track actuators are powerful, fast and inexpensive, but they only come as an S-series actuator with 2-wire control and end limit switches.

So how can you make one of them work with your RC project? It's actuall pretty simple. You need to put another component into the system: a brushed reversible DC motor controller. They are small, light, and can be bought from Robotshop for around 25 dollars.

The speed controller will have a standard RC plug that must be plugged into the receiver port that you wish to use. The speed controller will have two wires out to power your actuator and two wires for power in.

This is the tricky part - Our P16-S and T16-S actuators only come as a 12V unit. This means that the 5 or 6V that your RC battery or power supply is feeding into the receiver will not power the actuator. You will need a separate power supply at 12V for this.

You can use a battery or a 12V DC power supply to power the actuator through the brushed motor speed controller. It sounds a little complex, but the video below explains it pretty clearly.

Once you have the brushed DC reversible motor controller wired up as shown in the video, your actuator should operate the same way as an R series linear servo. One thing to note is that you might have to reverse the RC channel you're using and/or adjust the sensitivity to make the actuator operate properly.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Attention All Makers!

Actuonix Motion Devices

Are you a maker, hobbyist or DIY enthusiast?

Do you love to create? Maybe you have a great idea for a linear motion project but lacking the cash or motivation to build it. Have you used YouTube, Instructables or another such platform to feature your projects in the past?

Actuonix Motion Devices is interested in partnering with YOU. We're looking for somebody who is interested in featuring Actuonix Motion Devices in their next project. We're willing to donate the linear actuators necessary for your project and may consider a full sponsorship for the right project.
Some ideas for project builds:

  • Robot, robotic arm etc.
  • Lego projects using our Lego Actuators
  • RC vehicles
  • Home automation
  • Vehicle automation
  • Arduino projects featuring our linear actuators
  • Bonus points for projects with wireless control!
  • Whatever you can dream up, we want to hear it!

We're excited to see what people can build with our actuators. We're hoping that this opportunity will inspire you to get started on your next big project!
What are we asking in exchange

  • You be willing to complete the project within an agreed-upon time frame
  • Provide high-resolution photos as well as a build video
  • Share the project with your circle of influence


  • Must be competent with electronics/robotics
  • Have a documented history of building similar projects
  • Be willing to give us feedback on how our products performed
  • That's it!
Do you think you may be our builder? If so, send an email to marketing-at-actuonix-dot-com with some information about yourself. Include links to projects you've built in the past.

Thanks for your time, we're looking forward to working with you!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Linear Servo Projects

What are RC Linear Servos

RC linear servos are a plug and play replacement for standard rotary servos. They use the same 3-wire connector as standard rotary servos (power, ground and signal). The difference is that they offer linear motion. They are ideal for a variety of RC applications including sliding airplane canopies, retractable landing gear, air brakes, steering and various lifting functions on excavators, loaders, dozers and other scale equipment.

Why use linear servos

There are a couple of main reasons that hobbyists choose to use RC linear servos in their projects.

1. Rotary motion isn't great for all applications

Rotary servos are great, and can be used to create linear motion but it requires much more engineering to do so. 

2. Higher force

RC linear servos provide more force than can be achieved with a standard hobby servo. The L16-R for example, has an impressive max force of 45lbs depending on the gearing.

3. Simplicity

Some hobbyists just don't want to bother creating complicated linkages and mounts to make a standard servo work for their model. RC linear servos come with a hardware kit and clevises that make it easy to mount on any project.

Linear servo projects

Below are some examples of projects that have been built using Actuonix's line of RC linear servos. 

1. Sliding Plane Canopy

This 79" P40 model plane was built by Lou DiMarco. Wanting to add a realistic touch to the plane, he decided to make the canopy slide back and forth. For this, he used an L12-100-100-6-R linear servo. Lou has built an amazing model here and it's a perfect example of how putting in a little extra effort can really make your model stand out!

2. R2D2

This R2D2 model was built by Douglas Bickert. The attention to detail on this model is amazing. The R2D2 responds to voice commands by Douglas and performs various functions that are driven by Actuonix micro linear servos. This project is a great example of what's possible when you commit to building something truly unique.

3. RC Excavator

This machine is one of many custom builds by RCP57. Check out his YouTube channel for all of his amazing custom models. This Bruder Cat 320 conversion uses a continuous rotation servo to rotate the top of the machine, while four linear servos lift the boom and stick, as well as the bucket. This is a great example of an application where it just doesn't make sense to use rotary servos as high force is needed.

4. RC Quadcopter Retractable Gear

This Hoverthings VC550 was built by Ian Greig. The retractable landing gear is a custom built addition and is powered by four L12-R linear servos. The ability to retract the gear while in flight makes this model far more impressive.

The world of RC linear servos is rapidly evolving and as new models become available, talented hobbyists like the ones mentioned above find new and interesting ways to use these devices. If you are a hobbyist that needs linear motion for your next project, we offer the widest range of linear servos available.

Our 21 models range in stroke from 20mm through to 200mm and feature maximum forces from 2lbs-40lbs to cover a variety of applications.

Want more information? Check out our popular line of RC linear servos and their specifications here.