Robot hand Arduino servo control

So I am working on building a robotic hand during the summer so I can practice some mechanical engineering and so I can learn computer/electrical skills. While I have the mechanical aspect down, I am having some trouble with the electrical/software part. I need to run 5 servos at this point, but eventually I am going to have to up that number to 10 servos. The arduino that I have is the Duemilanove. The questions I have are the following:

1) can the arduino handle that many servos? 2) if so, do I need to get any type of shield? 3) does anyone know a good website that can show me what I need to learn in order to code using all of these servos?

Thank for the help!

Have you looked at the below page or searched the forum for "servo"?

Hi r.g, 1. Yes, the arduino can handle many servos. I run 18 on my Arduino mega. 2. My mega came with a prototyping shield. I soldered a 3 rows of pins to plug the servos in, and wires from the output pins of the Mega to the signal pins for the servos. 3. There is such a web site. :-P Look at the reference zoomkat posted. Search here for other servo examples. Ask questions. Start small and build from there.

Let us know how you do!

Here is a thread where I have pictures of my shield and external power supply.

Thanks you guys! Always a very helpful forum. I'll definitely make sure to keep you posted (and i'm sure i will be back here in the near future with more questions!)

If you really want to handle that many servos properly, look into using a "serial servo controller"; there are many vendors/manufacturers - I am partial to Pololu's myself, but there are others.

You'll want to do this eventually anyhow, if you want to do other things with your code because of the timing requirements of servos to keep them at set positions. Otherwise you will drive yourself mad with timing issues, trying to eek out that last bit of performance just so you can print an extra word on an LCD or dump some data out the serial port.

A controller (which, BTW, you could build yourself using a dedicated ATMega/Arduino - they are nothing more than a special programmed microcontroller doing the work, of course) will alleviate that potential problem. Do it now before you get bogged down in details.


The below videos show that you can make a motion duplicating arm for study without spending too much $$$.

these are some servo controllers you may consider: