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.

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