How do you hook up a linear actuator to be controlled with PWM / R/C? Answered
I'm working on a robotics project requiring strong linear actuators(LAs). For the most part I see that using LAs is the same as using DC motors. The red and black cables of the LA would connect to the motor +/- terminals of a motor controller. The main power source would connect to the battery +/- terminals of the motor controllers, and the motor controllers input could then come from a microcontroller or single board computer (SBC) using PWM / R/C control. This should allow me to control the direction and the speed of extension.
However, for my application I and going to need multiple LAs the need to extend exactly in sync. The best way I can think to do that is to sense their individual extensions and program the LAs so that they stay in sync with each other. From what I've seen what I'm looking for are LAs with built-in limit switches and potentiometers.
What I don't know is how to hook these up to their motor controllers and microcontroller/SBC. An example I'm looking at is this one from Firgelli Automations: http://www.firgelliauto.com/product_info.php?cPath=94&products_id=159. Unlike hobby servos this LA has 5 wires. Two are the positive and negative power wires and the other three relate to the potentiometer. I know you can control the extension this way but so far I've only found youtube videos and couldn't see how they hooked everything up.
This datasheet for different LA (http://www.firgelli.com/Uploads/L12_datasheet.pdf) helped me understand what the potentiometer wires do, but not how to use them with a PWM microcontroller. Does anybody have experience with this?
Thanks for reading