In the process of testing a steering control mechanism of a robot I am building, I managed to break the teeth off of a gear in my gearmotor. I have since replaced the gearmotor, but I wanted to prevent this from happening again.
My testing process was all manual; my actual steering mechanism will be tracked by a potentiometer in a servo fashion (ie, the motor will be controlled by an Arduino to match the position of the servo, indicating the steering angle, to the requested angle - the angle determined by the potentiometer). During my manual testing, though, I had no such protection. The motor ended up not stalling at the end of travel, but continued to apply torque until the gear teeth snapped.
Now - I know about how you can put in series with the motor a light bulb, so that when the motor stalls, the light bulb lights us, increasing resistance, and lowering current to the motor. This should reduce the torque, right? Would it be quick enough to keep the gear teeth from snapping again?
Or - should I instead implement limit switches of some sort? I envision whatever I do to be useful not only for testing, but also to protect "end-of-travel" conditions for the steering motor when it is under control of the servo-mechanism software on the Arduino (which is still in development).
I am simply searching for a solution that is hopefully easy to implement without a large amount of effort, mainly for this manual electro-mechanical testing phase of the steering mechanism...
Thank you for any advice and ideas...