Multiple Servo without servo shield on Arduino

Quite pathetic of me to ask…

I am making a robot arm as a course project.
I will be using up to 5 servos.
So far I’ve ran one directly from the board without any troubles.

But Im reading that using many at once may over-strain the board.
I also read suggestions of powering the servos by external battery supply, as well as using “shields”.

  1. What are shields? I assume an external piece of hardware? For what purpose?
  2. Can I run multiple servos without a shield using an Arduino?
  3. If I simply wire a common ground between the servos and the Arduino, take the +wire of the servos to a +5V of a battery pack, connect the signal wires to the digital pins of the arduino, and power the board via the USB cable, would this be sufficient?

The guide book that comes with the board notes the importance of amplifiers in a scenario where a load component may draw more current than the board can handle, is this a similar situation?

Help greatly appreciated.

You will need to get an external power supply for the servos. A USB port can only supply ~500ma, and servos under load may require as much as 1,000ma each, depending on the servo.

Q 1) What are shields? I assume an external piece of hardware? For what purpose? A: Shields are small hardware modules that can be fitted onto the arduino main board. They provide additional hardware to your arduino in a compact form that is easy to add and remove. You can compare it to a computer with USB peripherals. There are many different kinds, just do a search for 'arduino shield' in your favourite search engine.

Q 2) Can I run multiple servos without a shield using an Arduino? A: Yes you can. I believe an arduino duemilanove / uno (atmega 168 or 328 chip) can handle upto 6 servo's through the servo library. More if you do the PPM manually in the sketch (which will make it a lot more difficult to do other things, will require prior experience with liniair programming). So yes, you should be able to control your five servo's without a problem. See below for some extra info regarding this.

Q 3) If I simply wire a common ground between the servos and the Arduino, take the +wire of the servos to a +5V of a battery pack, connect the signal wires to the digital pins of the arduino, and power the board via the USB cable, would this be sufficient? A: You indeed need an independant power supply for the servo's, you can't power five of them at once from the arduino. You should connect the + to all the servo's and make sure the ground from the servo's is connected to the same ground as the arduino. Then all is left is indeed to connect the control wires to the arduino.

Good luck!

Great, thank you.

well generally servo’s run on 6v o guess so youll need to regulate the powre supply it will help you more if you provide the links of you servo’s