I apologize if I am posting this in the wrong thread.
I am working on a large scale display model that involves controlling a number of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) wires. SMAs are a type of alloy that, when heated, revert back to a "remembered" shape. They are kind of like "programmable materials."
An easy way to actuate the SMAs is resistive heating. Running 6V DC across a 2 foot wire does the trick pretty well. The problem is that, due to the low resistance (around 1-2 ohms) of the SMA wires, this draws a lot of current from the power supply (4A is not uncommon).
When working with these wires in the past, I used a high power Solid State Relay to do the switching from the Arduino. While this was economical and convenient for a single wire, the application I am designing now involves perhaps 15 wires that need independent control from the Arduino. I would rather avoid the cost and space required of 15 Solid Sate Relays.
In order to do this, I have two questions:
1) I think that using a series of these MOSFETs: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10213
would allow me to do the switching pretty easily. However, I have never heard of a MOSFET that will turn fully on at 5V such as these, so I want to make sure I'm not confused. Am I correct in thinking that I could control the wires from the Arduino with these MOSFETs?
2) If I were to use something like these MOSFETs, how would I go about safely implementing them with the high currents? I don't need a custom PCB or anything, I just need to be able to mount the parts. Although less desirable, a breadboard would even be ok. I am just concerned that using a normal breadboard, PCB or perf board would result in melted traces. Do I need to be concerned at this level and/or are there boards that I can use safely with 4A?
I would say my knowledge of the Arduino and electronics is just above the novice level, so I apologize if my questions are less than brilliant.