I am planning on using a maestro controller to power 2 motors (through a speed controller) and 3 servos. However, I may also need to control some lighting using the same control system (potentially 3 digital output channels), and possibly an extra servo, so I need to expand from just using the maestro. Is chaning 2 maestros together the best option for this, or is it better to have a different servo control board as my second board?
I plan to use the maestro software on a PC initially to control the servos, whilst I am developing a c# program to control the robot (I want the servos to respond to keyboard commands). How does chaining extra control boards affect the way you interact with the servos using the software? Do 6 more channels “appear” in the GUI? (sorry - I appreciate that this is probably a very basic question but I’m new to this!)
Also, how does the way you send signals to servos change depending on whether they are connected to the maestro or to another chained controller?
Cheers in advance for your help,
Make sure to read the complete description of chaining in the user’s guide here. You can only control the slave Maestro(s) using serial commands, by writing your own program to send data to the COM port. The master Maestro is connected via USB, so it will still show up in the Control Center, but the Control Center will not be able to control slave Maestros. Since you are using a PC, have you considered using two USB connections to two separate Maestros? Then you could use two copies of the Control Center to control both of them.
For your motors, have you considered our serial motor controllers at all? Controlling an ESC from the Maestro is a bit redundant, and you could potentially get more features (like current feedback) using a real serial motor controller, if we have one with the specs that you need. The TReX in particular has an extra motor output that could possibly be usable as one of your digital outputs, getting to 9 when chained with a single Maestro. All of our motor controllers can be a slave device chained to a Maestro.
You could also sneak an extra digital output channel out of the Maestro by soldering a wire carefully to the resistor leading to the Maestro’s red LED, which is controllable from a Maestro script that could be launched from a serial command, allowing you to use a single Maestro with a dual motor controller to get all 9 channels. That lighting channel would then gain extra functionality as an error indicator!