1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to remotely control 4 DC motors?

  1. Jan 3, 2013 #1
    I have to build a device which have 4 dof governed by 4 separate motors. Need to remotely control which was the motor spins and when to stop them.

    What equipment do I need? and is there any guidelines?

    Need help asap.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2013 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    How big are the motors? Do you have other equipment on the moving platform, like computers or microcontroller boards? What voltage do the motors run off of, and are there other DC regulated voltages available?

    Do you have experience with using microcontrollers? Do you have experience with any RF communication technologies (WiFi, BlueTooth, Wireless USB, etc.)?

    What is the context of the project? Is this a one-off project, or do you plan to build and market a number of them? What safety standards and other standards are you planning on qualifying this device to (like UL Standards, CE Mark Immunity Standards, EMI radiated interference standards)?

    Once we know more about the goals and constraints (and your background), we can be of more help suggesting things you could potentially use for the project.
  4. Jan 3, 2013 #3
    They're 6V motors - currently assembled with universal Tamiya gearboxes, powered using simple wiring to a 9V battery. I have not done anything which include microcontroller board or those of sort whatsoever. This includes RF stuffs too.

    It is a one off project and it does not require a 'neat' finish. Can be as rough as it could be, remote control can be a button blu-stick to a piece of wood.

    Safety standards? As long as it works without exploding, it'll be fine. :)
  5. Jan 3, 2013 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Ah, so small motors then. Not machine shop size motors for a CNC machine. Got it.

    How are you controlling the motor speeds and directions? Do you have limit switches at the ends of the travel in your 4 axes?

    There is probably a PIC or Arduino evaluation board that would let you receive RF in some mode, and would have motor control capability. Or you could use a more generic eval board, and build a seperate board with the RF module and motor control circuitry on it (PWM H-Bridge?).

    You might also look at hobby remote-control vehicle modules, to see if that works for you. I don't know if modules exist to let you control 4 channels simultaneously, but worst case, you use both hobby RF frequencies at the same time, with 2 channels being controlled by each RF channel.
  6. Jan 3, 2013 #5
    Hoping to control the speed using a wireless remote control. Do you have any good reference on where I could educate myself on this? Need basic stuffs for starters.

    I was tempted to just order something online and just try to assemble them yesterday but I read some threads that doing so will induce the risks that some parts I ordered might not be able to communicate with each other...
  7. Jan 3, 2013 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Here's an article about the basics, although it includes both IR and RF remote control:


    Have you looked at the RC car kits and their RF remote control modules? It seems like that option would involve the least risk of not getting the links to work. Like I said, you may have to use both RC hobby frequencies at the same time to get the 4 channels at once. But that just means 2 RX modules with their different antennas and 2 TX modules with their different antennas.
  8. Jan 3, 2013 #7
    Do you need to control remotely by radio control? if so, then you'll just need a 4 channel remote control unit as used with either RC planes or cars and 4 motor controllers (bi-directional if needed...something like this:
    RC unit: http://www.robotmarketplace.com/products/0-FUTK4200.html
    Motor drivers: http://www.robotmarketplace.com/products/0-SABER2X5-RC.html [Broken]

    If you can be remote from the device, but connected by cable, I have had good luck with this unit: http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1350
    Motor drivers: http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1383

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook