Arduino+Muscle Wire

Hey Everyone, I'm relatively new to arduino hardware and programming, and I am trying to get a project going using muscle wire and an arduino. I have read a great deal of the questions posed in the forum regarding SMAs and am currently making my shopping list. I intend on using thin SMA wire, from .0015-.003 mm in diameter, 2 to 3 inches in length. I realize I will need something to suppliment the current that comes from the arduino pin, one of the projects in the forum uses this kit...http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10256 paired with an external power source.I am not sure what I should use for the external power source- or how many volts it should be. If someone could make a suggestion for this, that would be great ( a link would be amazing). I also realize that I will need a resistor, I have a bunch of these so when I calculate the necessary resistance I am confident I will have something that works. Is there anything glaring that I might be missing here?

Ideally I want to hook up a small sensor to the arduino for control, but would just like to get it going first. Are there any really in depth tutorials available online, I have found this http://makingfurnitureinteractive.wordpress.com/category/course-materials/page/2/ which certainly helps, but does not quite answer all of my questions about wiring with arduino.

Thanks, CJ

Hi, Yes, you'll need a power transistor of some type for each muscle-wire you will control.

You SHOULD be able to use PWM pulse control to control the current and vary the muscle-wire action. Probably only safe to use a resistor to limit maximum current in case of a small software problem!

Warning! : Mentioning stuff from my own shop... but Sparkfun is fine too ...

You could use this Power FET board with 4 channels: http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=60

Hmmm. Do muscle wires act 'suddenly' when heated enough, or do they gradually change with increasing current?? Maybe you can make a variety of motions by controlling current with PWM?? If On-Off is all you need, relays would work too: http://goo.gl/8ZEQ8

How-To on Power with Arduino here: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/ArduinoPower

Let us know more about using muscle-wires...