Help w/ Arduino Prototyping to Production

Hi all, :slight_smile:

I am starting my first project and I would like to prototype and design it on the Arduino first and then have a some small batches made in China.

The concept of what I am trying to do is pretty simple. I’ve attached a little diagram to this post. I want to be able to turn a dial and then have a motor or actuator pull a cable with a weight.

  • The weight will probably be around 5-8 lbs.
  • The movement will be stepping, If you turn just a little it will move just a little.
  • The motor will move not 1:1 but at some other ratio. So I can just turn a bit to get a certain distance of pull on the cable

Q1: What arduino should I buy? There are some with many features and some that seem to be really minimalist. I want to be able to do more projects in the future so from what I understand, if I want to use it for prototyping, I can buy a feature rich version and then all my code can be uploaded to a paired down chip with just the sensors/actuators needed for the final project requirements?

Q2: My final product may use a cheap, bulk rotation sensor from the factory, or may need a stronger actuator/motor to pull the cable. When I prototype is it okay to use sensors and motors provided with an Arduino kit, even if those will not be the ones used in the finished product? Will the code I use for controlling work across different sensors/actuators, or when I work with the Arduino, do I need to have the REAL components?

Is there any other advice for how to bring this project from concept to reality? What is the workflow that you guys use?

Thank you!

I ordered an Arduino kit w/ a bunch of sensors also a step motor and dc motor. I don't think these elements will work for my full purpose but I guess it's a good starting point.

Don't forget you'll need additional hardware to run your motors - a motor shield or a stepper motor driver. Also something to power them, the arduino won't be able to provide enough.

So, you might want to do a proof of concept first, using whatever parts you have, then you can try swapping out for your real devices you plan on using. Its up to you if its useful or not to run it with the sensors you have already, but if you are trying to produce this as a product, you should probably test with whatever actual devices you plan on using at some point. Any arduino will probably do for what you are trying to do, since it doesn’t sound very feature intensive, and yes, you can then translate your design to your own PCB and remove any extraneous parts afterwards.

I would also make sure to look up motor driving circuits before proceeding to make sure you have everything.

I found out that using other atmel chip such as ATtiny 2313 is really good subtitute for an Arduino.. i have build a stepper driver with one of this chip and it work well.. anyway heres some point for you to think about first. You may start with what you have as a prove of concept but at some point you need to test the real thing.. this is cause. Though your program may work well with your test setup but with the real thing? Well you will not know until you try. Second remember that later when you make this product you need ample power for both your arduino n your motor. It would be wise to make sure that the arduino get proper sheilding and so that noice generated by the motor does not get to the arduino... I tosted one cause inproper sheilding or noise get to it. To this day i dont know

mirith: So, you might want to do a proof of concept first, using whatever parts you have, then you can try swapping out for your real devices you plan on using. Its up to you if its useful or not to run it with the sensors you have already, but if you are trying to produce this as a product, you should probably test with whatever actual devices you plan on using at some point. Any arduino will probably do for what you are trying to do, since it doesn't sound very feature intensive, and yes, you can then translate your design to your own PCB and remove any extraneous parts afterwards.

I would also make sure to look up motor driving circuits before proceeding to make sure you have everything.

Thanks for the clarification.

Oh right, I had been researching motor driving circuits. You mean something like the L293D? That one seems to be quite popular when I look around. Is the reason for the driving circuit mainly to handle the increased power draw of a larger motor? It says the L293D will handle up to 36V, would this suit my purposes if I'm trying to move around 8-lbs? I saw on ebay some linear actuators that are 12V that that do 225lbs so seems like 36V would cover most motors... unless there's something besides the voltage I need to consider?

You must also consider the current requirements of the actuator. A 293 or 298 based driver may not handle the current. Look for the stall current of the actuator to get an idea of the spec to look for when choosing a driver.