Arduino hardware for controlling multiple steppers, actuators, possibly pnuemati

Hello and thank you for your time.

I've done a few tutorials with my board and learned how to connect individual devices up. I would like to please ask for some guidance in putting all this knowledge together.

I'm looking to create a small series of events that play in a loop that would automate some human steps in production. I wanted to find a suitable solution for controlling multiple stepper motors, dc motors, even maybe pneumatic switches.

Here's an example of how the series of events would play out. (times and sequence are still theoretical)

0:00 start of cycle stepper motor #1 turns clockwise for 10 seconds
0:10 stepper motor #2 turns clockwise for 5 seconds then goes counterclockwise for 5 seconds
0:20 DC motor #3 powers on for 15 seconds
0:30 stepper motor #4 goes clockwise for 5 seconds clockwise, 10 second pause 5 seconds counter
0:40 pneumatic switch #5 engages for 1 second, 2 second pause, 1 second engage, 2 second pause, 1 second engage
0:50 servo #6 to position x and then back to original position.

With maybe a total of 8-12 devices powered eventually so a larger board with room to grow would be best.

Would there be a way to make sure each motor is in the proper position during the step? Like if the power went out mid travel on one of the motors. Software recommendations, custom written or is there a solution out that would handle something like this?

Thank you again!


What you say should be achievable with an Arduino Mega but it is a complex project.

Because you have provided no information about your project I am not making any comment about whether the combination of stepper and DC motors is appropriate.

Knowing the position of a stepper motor is straightforward provided you know the exact point it starts from; provided you keep count of the steps; and provided it does not miss any steps.

Knowing the position of a DC motor is only possible if you attach a rotary encoder.

Knowing (remembering) the state of the system after a power failure is not straightforward. If fine precision is required it may not be possible to assume that nothing moved. For example a DC motor is unlikely to stop instantly and neither will a fast moving stepper motor and those movements will happen after the Arduino has stopped. Also, it may be impractical to record the position of every single movement in some form of non-volatile memory in case a power outage happens.

I'm not clear from your final paragraph whether you plan to learn how to do all this yourself or whether you want someone else to do it for you. If the latter you should ask in the Gigs and Collaborations section and be prepared to pay. The cost and the time required could get very large unless you have a very firm specification of all the elements of the project.

Stepper Motor Basics
Simple Stepper Code
Planning and Implementing a Program

Thanks for the response. I'm able to control one of each unit with relative ease so maybe setting up multiple boards for each action would be the easiest solution for me. I can have each activated by one of various detection signals. Whether a switch being hit as the part approaches, or crossing the path of a laser maybe.

I did see a board Mini Maestro 12-Channel USB Servo Controller that seemed like it would be a good choice for controlling a robotic arm, which I'll try to incorporate into the system. But I figured keeping the rest of the system less robotic and more mechanical would be easier. Maybe if I find success in the robotic arm for one process, I can maybe use the arm for multiple processes instead. When the 3d printer arrives and gets setup this week, I'll start prototyping out of plastic. Any Arduino I end up using I"ll definitely share on

Thanks Wojtek

Thanks for the response. I'm able to control one of each unit with relative ease so maybe setting up multiple boards for each action would be the easiest solution for me.

Using multiple Arduinos (assuming that is what you mean) will introduce additional complexities which may result in the system being no easier than doing everything on one board.

As you have still not provided details I have no idea whether multiple boards are essential. My guess is that they are not.