New to controllers

Hi all,

I’m into RC vehicles, scale trucks, to be specific. Anyway, I have this desire to create my own light controller, and figured this may be a good place to start, since this kit controls standard RC servos.

I will admit, I know little, or next to nothing regarding the firmware used herein, however, I used to write programs for PLCs using a “ladder” style PC interface. Thus, I understand the basics of logic control.

So, my question is this, is this a good starting place to create a controller that will monitor the outputs from my RC receiver (throttle, steering, and aux), and based upon the firmware I write, have the output of this kit control LED lights for brake, reverse, signels, and possibly a cound card and whatever I dare to dream up?

If so, then, I am thrilled to become a part of this community! :smiley:

If this isn’t a good starting place, then, any direction or assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading.


I recommend starting out with a simpler project until you gain some confidence with programming microcontrollers. The SparkFun Inventor’s Kit for Arduino might be a good choice to get started. I suggest starting with the simplest part of your project (the LED outputs you mentioned) and working your way up to the much more difficult task of decoding the incoming RC signals.


Thanks for the suggestion Derrill

I understand the process of starting small, and working your way up. However, I still would like to know if this controller is capable of executing the tasks I have in mind. No point going through the learning process if the final goal is beyond the unit’s capabilities.

So… are the Pololu Servo Controllers able to fulfill my desires? And if not, then, what should I be looking for?

I’m doing something similar, but not with the servo controller. I’m not sure you can with the maestro.

What I’m doing is monitoring the servo outputs of my R/C RX with a single micro controller chip, the Atmel ATTiny84. I’ve written code to measure the pulse width of the R/C channels and convert them to an integer between 900 and 2000. This value corresponds to the location of the joystick axis or the orientation of the knobs for channels 5 and 6.

I use that info to set outputs on the ATTiny84. These then control MOSFETs which in turn switch lights on my locomotive and control a DPDT relay for directional control of the locomotive. The ATTiny also talks serial to a pair of MP3 sound cards to play sounds based on the position of channel 1, which is the throttle in my application. It also monitors channel 3 for changes to sound the horn and other sfx.

I’m using the Pololu AVR programmer with Atmel Studio 6 to develop C code. Works quite well. I highly recommend it. It features an onboard serial port so you can feed a serial stream from your project into a com port on your development computer, very handy for debugging. It also comes with an app called SLOSCOPE which is a simple little oscilloscope that you can use to watch the pulse widths of the r/c rx servo outputs, this is really cool.

I would recommend that you learn C code if you don’t already know it, it’s a great universal tool for micros.



I agree with Martin, you probably would not be able to do all those things with just a Maestro. You would probably want to use a microcontroller.

  • Grant