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Author Topic: Controlling 4 motors and 2 actuators with Arduino  (Read 1349 times)
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Hey guys,

I'm pretty new to this site and Arduino's and could really use your help.

For a school project I'm building an electric wheel chair that is going to run off of 4 x 12v dc motors and 2 actuators for various purposes.

2 x http://www.alliedmotion.com/Products/Series.aspx?p=6&s=10
2x http://www.bisongear.com/specs.asp_Q_catID_E_99_A_subCatID_E_108_A_prodID_E_147_A_skuID_E_820
2x http://www.actuatorzone.com/actuator-mini-actuator-pa-14-8-150-8-inch-stroke-150-lbs-force-actuator.aspx

I plan on using 2 car batteries in parallel as a power source and an Arduino to control it all.  Also, I need 6 six motors to be able to go in both directions with variable speeds.  If anyone could help me on how to get started i would appreciate it.  Thanks
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H-bridges and PWM will probably play a big part in your project driving the motors. Good place to start your research.
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for most part i have seen the motor that you wish to use, you cannot build the type of h-bridge that are compatible with the motor needs, i suggest to you that you make use of existing DC motor controller that will give you atleaset 2x the peak current rating of your motor, this way you would give the driver a chance to not overheat. in term of control look into the various way you could control a DC motor with in its pages.
http://www.modularcircuits.com/blog/articles/old-h-bridge-secrets/part-1/
this website have teach me a lot on motor control and i hope you will find it useful too.
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thank you for the replies, but what do you guys think about running each of the 6 motors through a MOSFET? 
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thank you for the replies, but what do you guys think about running each of the 6 motors through a MOSFET? 

That would only provide for one direction of motor operation.
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From what Ive found, it looks like these 3 H-bridges would do the job.  What do you guys think?  If so, which would be the best?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/30A-H-bridge-Coreless-Motor-Driver-Forward-Reversion-Brake-Smart-Car-Arduino-/180983568079?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D3179084481228044426%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D1%26sd%3D180983568079%26

http://www.ebay.com/itm/240W-High-power-H-bridge-Motor-Driver-module-Smart-car-Driver-Board-Arduino-/221138478156?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D3179084481228044426%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D2%26sd%3D180983568079%26

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Arduino-240W-High-power-H-Bridge-Motor-Driver-Module-Smart-Car-Driver-/330817755465?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D3179084481228044426%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D3%26sd%3D180983568079%26
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Hmmm, those motors look a bit underpowered - a continuous power of 37W isn't much, so in adverse conditions they could run very hot.

Of those controllers the last two are wash-outs I think, 0.1 ohms internal resistance is too high.  The first has the current ability but
doesn't have any protection circuitry - you want at least to have an over-current cut-out to prevent burn-out of motor or controller
in stall conditions - but you do get a current signal output to monitor, allowing current control in software.

The first one claims 30A, but it won't take that, the MOSFETs are 0.005 ohm, so something like 15 to 20A will be the practical
max continuous load I think before it starts to get too hot.  fan-assisted cooling would help there perhaps.  20A per motor though
ought to be enough ??

It is nice and cheap to experiment with, and with only 12V there are various failure modes you won't have to worry about
so much (high current and high voltage together make robust H-bridges trickier to design.  I suggest getting one of this 30A one and seeing if it performs as advertised, firstly with a dummy load like some car bulbs, then one of the prospective motors/actuators.

It should be enough for at least one of your motors/actuators
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Hmmm, those motors look a bit underpowered - a continuous power of 37W isn't much, so in adverse conditions they could run very hot.

Of those controllers the last two are wash-outs I think, 0.1 ohms internal resistance is too high.  The first has the current ability but
doesn't have any protection circuitry - you want at least to have an over-current cut-out to prevent burn-out of motor or controller
in stall conditions - but you do get a current signal output to monitor, allowing current control in software.

The first one claims 30A, but it won't take that, the MOSFETs are 0.005 ohm, so something like 15 to 20A will be the practical
max continuous load I think before it starts to get too hot.  fan-assisted cooling would help there perhaps.  20A per motor though
ought to be enough ??

It is nice and cheap to experiment with, and with only 12V there are various failure modes you won't have to worry about
so much (high current and high voltage together make robust H-bridges trickier to design.  I suggest getting one of this 30A one and seeing if it performs as advertised, firstly with a dummy load like some car bulbs, then one of the prospective motors/actuators.

It should be enough for at least one of your motors/actuators

I appreciate the help!  Do you think I would be able to run 2 motors in parallel off one of these if they are only going to be run for minute-long intervals with large breaks in between?
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OP, can I ask why 6 motors for this application? Why not 2 motors for drive and one for steering?
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Those motors have a very high peak current. You might be better off using 24V motors, then the current would be halved and you would more easily find a suitable H-bridge to drive them, for example http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Double-BTS7960B-H-bridge-68A-Motor-Driver-Module-For-Smart-Car-Arduino-/121061024616?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Automation_Control_ET&hash=item1c2fcca368&_uhb=1.
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