Linear Actuator Control Board Suggestions?

Hi,

I'm in need of a motor control board that will work with my 5 wire linear actuator. I'd like the controller to be able to have the function of controlling the linear actuator with an RC signal just like a servo motor.

The linear actuator I am using is:
https://www.servocity.com/html/115_lbs__thrust__linear_actuat.html#.VngfyfkrLRY

As a comparison for functionality, the Firgelli Linear Actuator Control board is perfect for me needs. The only issue is it's rated at 4 amps and my linear actuator can pull much more than that.

Ideally, I need a board just like this Firgelli LAC board, but is rated for at least 10 Amps (15 Amps is ideal).

Here is the Firgelli LAC Board:
http://www.firgelli.com/Uploads/LAC_Datasheet.pdf

Thanks,
Mike

You could replicate this with an h-bridge, and Arduino Uno, and some code. The potentiometer would be connected to the Arduino via an analog input, and the h-bridge switched/controlled by the Arduino. There are plenty of low-cost mosfet h-bridges out there that could handle your requirements.

The tricky part, though, would be the code. You’d need to read the servo ppm signal from the receiver (or whatever), then measure it to determine “position” (you could start out by using the PulseIn() command - but it is a blocking command, so not recommended except for testing/playing). Then you’d have to implement code (window comparator or PID) to read the potentiometer, and then smoothly ramp the acceleration and direction to the motor via the h-bridge.

Not extremely complicated - but not super-easy, either - especially if you have never tried it.

Alternatively (big “maybe” here) - you might be able to use that Firgelli driver board to drive a larger h-bridge; look into how to build a DIY “monster servo” - where the output of the servo motor (which is a low-current h-bridge) drives a larger h-bridge to drive the larger motor.

cr0sh:
You could replicate this with an h-bridge, and Arduino Uno, and some code. The potentiometer would be connected to the Arduino via an analog input, and the h-bridge switched/controlled by the Arduino. There are plenty of low-cost mosfet h-bridges out there that could handle your requirements.

The tricky part, though, would be the code. You'd need to read the servo ppm signal from the receiver (or whatever), then measure it to determine "position" (you could start out by using the PulseIn() command - but it is a blocking command, so not recommended except for testing/playing). Then you'd have to implement code (window comparator or PID) to read the potentiometer, and then smoothly ramp the acceleration and direction to the motor via the h-bridge.

Not extremely complicated - but not super-easy, either - especially if you have never tried it.

Alternatively (big "maybe" here) - you might be able to use that Firgelli driver board to drive a larger h-bridge; look into how to build a DIY "monster servo" - where the output of the servo motor (which is a low-current h-bridge) drives a larger h-bridge to drive the larger motor.

Thank you for your input.
I'm just really looking to purchase an existing motor controller and not build anything on my own at this point. The cost isn't much of an issue.

I've found this motor controller here:

Would this be able to control a linear actuator using servo.writeMicroseconds();?

Currently, with the firgelli board I can control my linear actuator just like a servo using that instruction.

All I'm looking for is to control the position of the motor.
Thanks.

Some big DIY servos. I think most use standard servo internals to drive the large h-bridge and read the pot.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wiper+servo

Thank you for your tips. Can anybody provide some information directly on what I'm asking for though?

MikeC93:
I've found this motor controller here:
Pololu Simple High-Power Motor Controller 18v15 (Fully Assembled)

Would this be able to control a linear actuator using servo.writeMicroseconds();?

Currently, with the firgelli board I can control my linear actuator just like a servo using that instruction.

All I'm looking for is to control the position of the motor.

That pololu motor controller doesn't have the ability to accept a feedback signal (ie - the potentiometer in your actuator), so it knows when to stop. The only thing it can do is drive a motor clockwise or counter-clockwise, at varying speed (in either direction), based on the PPM signal from the RC receiver.

What you need is a controller that will accept a potentiometer feedback signal.

This pololu controller should do what you need (I think):

So pick any motor control shield which can handle the 15A stall current of that actuator. My personal favourite is the Sparkfun Monster Moto.

Then put the feedback pot wire into any Arduino analog input. You may look at using the PID library to do the proportional control of the output.

MorganS:
So pick any motor control shield which can handle the 15A stall current of that actuator. My personal favourite is the Sparkfun Monster Moto.

Then put the feedback pot wire into any Arduino analog input. You may look at using the PID library to do the proportional control of the output.

OP already noted that they didn't want to do any coding or other hacking for this solution (reply #2); I already noted what you posted (build/buy an h-bridge, then code the Arduino with PID or window comparator) in my first reply...

Obviously, it's what we would do - but OP said cost was no problem, so the final solution I gave him for a workable motor controller should solve it.

Found this solution as well - currently on sale, too:

https://www.vantec.com/acatalog/servocat.html

Might be easier to work with than the Pololu board...