Do I need a motor controller to control linear actuators using Arduino?

Hello, I have watched some videos and photos. It looks like most of the time people use relays or motor controller to control linear actuators. This is probably due to the fact that Arduino boards cannot supply enough current to the motors. However, I have also seen people connecting linear actuators directly to the Arduino. Under what situation can we do that?

I want 2-4 linear actuators to be able to move to some pre-programmed positions according to user inputs. I also want to record the position of the linear actuators over time. Could you please recommend motor controller/shield? Thanks

Without details of your linear actuator it is impossible to know what is needed between it and the Arduino. AFAIK some of them have built-in motor drivers and others don't.

Post a link to the datasheet for your actuator.

...R

bbqq: I also want to record the position of the linear actuators over time.

You mean something else other than the Arduino is moving the actuators? There's very few available which can be back-driven. Most of them lock up solid when the motor power is off.

You can buy a control box that attaches to an actuator and makes it act like a big hobby servo. I have never needed to use one though. It's just a more complex form of motor drive.

MorganS: You can buy a control box that attaches to an actuator and makes it act like a big hobby servo.

Some Firgelli* actuators are controlled that way, iirc the "-R" series.

*or whatever they're called now, I think they got taken over. You will need deep pockets....

Hi, I think we need to know your application, there are many different actuators and controllers available. Knowing your application will help in making informative suggestions.

Thanks.. Tom.. :)