Simple Linear Actuator Control

Hey everyone,

I’m new to Arduino and electronics wiring in general and was wondering about hardware and wiring requirements for an Arduino Mega2560 with the following actuator:

Unfortunately, this is the only actuator we have to use and it will be used in an application with moderate vibrations, but I have some good news.

No position sensing is required. All I want to do is full extension and full retraction (and as you can see from the link there are limit switches built into it). I’m sure my inquiry is rather trivial and my apologies for sounding so newbish, but I just wanted to make sure I have everything right before I start ordering parts.

Thank you all so much in advance!

You will need an H-bridge driver for this. Looking at the data sheet I see it uses 12V at 5A peak current so something like this would drive it with no problem: The link shows all the wiring details. You can find expample sketches for H-bridge control on the Playground.

retrolefty: As you require no variable speed the cheapest solution would be to use two relays, a DPDT to control direction of travel and a second one to control on and off. Even the on/off relay could be optional as the positioner seems to contain built in limit switches, removing power once travel to one end has completed.


Thanks Yankee! There's also the possibility that two of these would have to function from the same controller. Would this be appropriate to use in that case?

You’re absolutely right, Lefty. Keep it simple!

Yes, that would work but it's over-rated for your actuator. This one is a bit smaller and less expesive: But really, unless you need to control the speed Lefty's approach makes the most sense.

Relay for linear actuators.

Thanks for the cost saving options and the useful link. I'll definitely consider going that route. You all have been so helpful!

The only other issue I now have is controlling a high-power stepper motor (it will control a steering column).

I'll figure out the software stuff on my own, but wasn't sure about hardware considerations. Trust me, this is my last question. :)

Wow! That's one hefty stepper. Are you sure you need one that strong? For something like that I would recommend something like this: or this: The Gecko site has some good information about sizing stepper motors also.

I am doing a project using this same actuator and a similar set up where I do not need know position and I am powering it with a 12V battery. Instead of using the two relays, is it possible to just use a DPST relay like this one:

If this is not possible can someone explain to me how to wire the DPDT relay for this application?

and last question: What do relay data sheets mean by “Turn On Voltage (Max)”? If this is over 5V and I am controlling the relay with a signal from a pin on the arduino, does that mean I am going to need to use an op amp to open the relay if it is a normally closed relay?

Thanks in advance for the help.


Dredging up an old topic, but wanted to make sure people running across this thread had a good solid way to control a DC motor (linear actuator) with relay board/shield, there's a very easy way to do this.

Here's a step by step to control linear actuators with Arduino and relays.

Yuzzum321: The only other issue I now have is controlling a high-power stepper motor (it will control a steering column).

Streuth that's total overkill, just how fast are you wanting to turn the steering - 2000rpm? You ideally use a geared motor for steering, then you can use a far smaller motor (of whatever sort). Motor torque is proportional to volume/weight of motor, so reduction gears allow a much smaller and lighter mechanism.

A 10A industrial stepper driver is going to cost a bit... That stepper isn't cheap...