I am new to this board so thanks for any help in advance. I have no experience with Arduino, but have been researching and reading tutorials and message boards for a while now. I have a project where I need to control possibly 2 or 3 motors, solenoid, force sensor, and motion sensor (or proximity sensor). It will also have to have two switches. Is this to much for the Arduino or can I make it work?
With your limited amount of info, it doesn't sound like the Arduino would lack for I/O pins in order to use those parts; but you need to supply more information about what you are trying to do (ie, do the motors need to rotate both ways? Do they need speed control? Does the Arduino need to keep track of their position? Etc - among other possible questions)...
Thanks for the quick reply. I am working on a project where we are sorting different materials. The first switch would be needed to start everything (on switch). Then a motor would need to be activated to drive a belt that would feed these materials to the next stage. Once the 1st material leaves the belt, a sensor would detect that and stop the motor. If the motor could back up for a sec after that, it would be good, but can be done without. In the next step, the material will fall into two, separated metal plates. If the material is metal, it will close a circuit between these two plates (2nd switch). The solenoid will then allow one of the plates to pivot, dropping the material into the 3rd step. Here a force sensor (edited into the first post) would measure the weight. The value is not important here, just a comparison between 2 different types of material. After this is done, based on the information collected from the circuit switch and the weight, the material will be sorted into a specific container, by the 2nd motor. The last motor will have to be able to be controlled.
An Arduino with a motor shield will take care of all your needs, if the motors are DC motors. The motor shield handles the forward and backwards motion and speed of the motors, requiring only 4 pins.
That leaves at least 7 digital pins and 6 analog pins for the switches and sensors, and 3rd motor, if needed.