Problem Controlling Linear Actuator with Actobotics Motor Controller

Disclaimer: First time posting here and new to Arduino. If there are ways I can improve this post please let me know.

I am trying to control a linear actuator using mode 4 (Position Control Mode) on an Actobotics Duel Motor Controller. I am using some very simple code to test.

#include <Servo.h> 
Servo myservo;

void setup() 
{ 
  Serial.begin(9600);
  myservo.attach(2);
} 

void loop() {
  myservo.writeMicroseconds(1500); // set servo to mid-point

  delay(500);
}

The actuator I’m using is a Progressive Automations Feedback actuator with a Pot. It is wired up like the image below except that I have an Arduino attached where there is an RC receiver.

Using Mode 4 on the motor controller it should move the actuator until the voltage from the Pot matches the PWM signal being received from the Arduino.

The part that is working correctly
When I enter 1000 microseconds into the code the actuator fully extends and when I enter 2000 microseconds the actuator fully retracts.

The part not working correctly
No other numbers between 1000 and 2000 work to move the actuator. I should be able to enter 1500 microseconds and the actuator would move to the center

Troubleshooting Step 1
I plugged the pot on the actuator directly into the Arduino to see what voltages I was receiving using analogRead. I was expecting the get 0-1023, but instead I was getting 177-806 (roughly). The explanation I received from the manufacturer was that longer stroke versions of the actuator will use up the entire pot range, but since mine has a shorter (6") stroke it’s only using part of it.

Even though the readings I’m getting from the pot are different than what I was expecting I still don’t understand why this would not allow me to enter microsecond values between 1000 and 2000 to move the actuator somewhere in the middle of it’s stroke range.

Troubleshooting Step 2
Instead of plugging the pot from the actuator into the motor controller I plugged in a joystick with a Pot that I know goes from 0 - 1023. I entered 1500 microseconds into the code and when the joystick was in the middle the actuator wouldn’t move at all. As soon as I moved the joystick however then the actuator would move in the correct direction. This is exactly what I would expect.

I think this shows that for some reason the Pot in the actuator is not being read correctly by the motor controller, but I can’t figure out why. Shouldn’t I still be able to control it with a smaller range of microseconds that correspond to the readings being received from the pot?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Did you notice your device does NOT use servo motors?

Motor Type: Brushed DC Motor

Perhaps that is the root of your problem.

Paul

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