Maestro 6 power consumption


I have a maestro 6 ch and am having issues with power consumption. I have been running a different controller with 4 x D cell alkaline batteries and a servo making the servo ‘sweep’ once every 20 minutes. Off this configuration I was getting up to 3 months battery life.

I’ve switched to the maestro and what should be a much higher capacity LiFePO4 pack (6.6v 4600mAh - stable chemistry, don’t self discharge like LiPO) and am now struggling to get 12 days. Is this unit particularly thirsty, or is there anything I can do to push the time back out?

The orange light is flashing once per second, I don’t know if that has anything to do with it?

I have a lot of these units and am in real need of a solution…

Below is the code I’m using:

Sequence 0

600 0 0 0 0 0 0 frame_0…5 # Frame 0
600 4608 frame_0 # Frame 1
600 8192 frame_0 # Frame 2
600 4608 frame_0 # Frame 3
600 8192 frame_0 # Frame 4
600 4608 frame_0 # Frame 5
600 0 frame_0 # Frame 6
20 delay_minutes

sub frame_0…5
5 servo
4 servo
3 servo
2 servo
1 servo
0 servo

sub frame_0
0 servo

delay by a specified number of seconds, up to 65535 s

sub delay_seconds
begin dup while # check if the count has reached zero
1 minus 1000 delay # subtract one and delay 1s
drop return # remove the 0 from the stack and return

delay by a specified number of minutes, up to 65535 min

sub delay_minutes
begin dup while
1 minus 60 delay_seconds # subtract one and delay 1min
drop return # remove the 0 from the stack and return


With 4600mAh batteries, 12 days corresponds to a current draw of about 16 mA (16 * 12 * 24 = 4608). The Maestro is rated at 30 mA, so it is doing better than what you should expect. Also, according to Wikipedia, Alkaline D batteries have a much higher capacity than 4600 mAh.

None of this should be a mystery - you can use a multimeter to measure the current draw of the Maestro and your other servo controller, and from that you should be able to estimate how long your batteries will last. Unfortunately, I do not think there is going to be any convenient way to reduce the Maestro’s power consumption. The only thing I can think of is that you could turn the Maestro’s power on and off with an external microcontroller that does sleep, but that seems like overkill. Is it part of a larger system?

What is the other servo controller that you were using?


oh no…

The other controller was a custom built one which came with the device, unfortunately it destroys the servos as the travel is too far and the timing is a bit eratic.

The systems are stand alone. Are there any controllers which could do this and sleep, or are you aware of something which could work the power on and off?.

I’ve tested the D cells against the LiFePO4 running flat stick, and a 2300mAh pack marginally beat out the 4x D cell pack, they have a almost flat discharge curve, so this would be why.

I need to get this sorted as this will be a big problem

Thanks for your prompt response Paul.



If you have experience with microcontroller programming, you could use just about any microcontroller to control a few servos and sleep when inactive, and you would not need the Maestro at all. Otherwise, I would look around for some kind of low-power general purpose configurable timer circuit (something like this but specifying a current draw of at most a few mA), and use it to shut down your entire circuit, including the servos, during the pauses.


By the way, what do you mean by “flat stick”? If you were draining the batteries at a high current, your test might not be representative of their performance under the current draw in your application.


Yeah, by flat stick I meant running solidly with no interval. I didn’t see the 30mA rating so didn’t anticipate such a high draw. Can you get pic timer boards pre made or do they have to be built? Are there any good resources on these you are aware of?

Can anyone point me in the right direction of a suitable microcontroller for this project - Is the arduino suitable? I can’t seem to find a suitable configurable timer as paul mentioned, am i missing something here?

Sorry, I really want to learn but i’m not sure about where I should start.


Sorry that I don’t have any specific suggestions for you. Almost any microcontroller is going to be able to do what you need if you are willing to learn to program it, but many Arduinos include components in addition to the microcontroller that could consume too much current for your application. There is a lot of information out there if you search for things like “Arduino power consumption”.


Looks like i’ll try using an ATTiny85 and and arduino to program it. Fingers crossed but looks like I may have a win there.

Many thanks for your excellent support Paul.