Motor, Servo, and IO

Hi all,

It has been a long time since I had the opportunity to participate in robotics competitions and I was looking for some help. Unfortunately, during these competitions I spent most of my efforts fabricating parts and writing the software and don’t have much expertise with hardware.

What I want:
I’m looking to build a system that will be capable of controling several (5-10) DC motors (probably undera 1A, but not necessarily), several servos (5-10) and has a reasonable number of analog and digital IO ports.

The trick is, I want to avoid systems that have built in computing and would rather have a control box I can build to be run by C++ or Java from my desktop via the USB port (or serial).

I’ve noticed several parts here on the site but would appreciate help in getting this up and running.

Additionally, as a refernce, a system I liked very much was this ( ). It connected to the PC via usb and could do all of the above. Unfortunately I decided not to purchase it at the end of the competition and am now regretting it.

Thanks everyone,


We have a range of motor and servo controllers that you can chain together and control using a single serial port. For example, you could link together five of our Micro dual serial motor controllers to control ten 1A DC motors or five 2A motors. Our Micro serial servo controller would let you control up to eight servos.

If you want IO lines, you could take a look at our Orangutan robot controllers. The Baby Orangutan gives you access to most of the IO lines of an ATmega48 or ATmega168 AVR microcontroller along with the ability to drive two 1A motors. The Orangutan robot controller is like the Baby Orangutan, except it has an integrated LCD, buzzer, and user push buttons. You could use an Orangutan as the brains of your project, or you could program it to be controlled by your PC over a serial port (or via USB using a USB-to-serial adapter).

If you can provide more details about what you’re trying to do, I can try to give you more specific advice.

- Ben