Serial 8-Servo Controller

I am having awful trouble trying to get my Serial 8-servo controller to work. I was using a 6 AA battery pack. After getting no response from the servo, I flipped the polarity and fried something. The yellow light turned on when I connected servo +/- to vin/gnd (the instructions were not obvious). When I opened the port, the yellow light turned off. When I sent data using SSC-tester and the VB code, green and red lights lit very briefly but the servos did not move. Taking the reset jumper off allowed me to get jumps from the servo, but no actual movement. I suspected this was caused by lack of battery power. After a while, the red light would blink. After two tries of that, no lights lit up (battery failure?). I connected a 5V AC Adapter and no lights light up.

Similarly, I connected the MaxSonar-EZ1 ultrasonic range finder to the 5V DC and I got a puff of smoke.

Do I have horribly bad luck with electronics or am I just an idiot? Are both of my items ($50) fried in 2 hours of testing, never to get an actual use out of them?

Is there anything I can do to fix these? Is there anything you can do to ensure protection of your devices from swift destruction?

Thanks in advance,

The AC adapter was reversed polarity (I should have tested). I have fixed that and hooked it to a fairly stable board with a switch and an LED. I have hooked up a servo to the board. I pull the slider in ssc-tester forward and back, the servo moves forward and back. The servo controller works! More testing shows that the board gives a red light after a while of using the system. Also, the servo does not act right all the time. Certain times it freaks out and just twitches.

Note to amateur electronics people: a puff of electronics smoke does not always indicate a destroyed item. Test and test and test again.

Video can be found here. (1.4 MB Xvid codec)

AltSci Concepts


It’s good to hear you got things figured out. However, the puff of smoke is a bad sign, and something most likely is damaged; you just might not have tried using the part that is broken.

In general, you should also be very careful with those “wall wart” DC adapters since they often do not provide the voltage indicated. The voltage can be substantially higher if the load is not as large as the adapter expects. Also, you might see more noise on it than a system can tolerate. For instance, it’s possible that your problems are due to spikes in the power as the servo moves in response to commands.

- Jan