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Joystick control of stepper(s), noob in over head

  1. Dec 10, 2008 #1
    So I know I am getting in over my head here, which is why I haven't started anything. I have never done any advanced electronics work, but I know what resistors, capacitors, ICs, and the like are. I can't design a circuit aside from a switch and an LED, but I can build them. Ok, enough of that.
    What I'm trying to do is control the direction and speed of 2 servos with a two axis joystick (most likely from a game controller, as joysticks are hard to find otherwise.) I have found designs for servo controllers that use a computer, but that won't work for me. The application will be a remote control camera head, and being tethered to a computer makes it too awkward to use.
    I've looked through the forum, and this issue has been covered before, but nothing with any definitive answers. What I gather is that I need a joystick, a servo controller, and a way to have the joystick talk to the controller. I really don't know where to start, but am not opposed to learning stuff. Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2008 #2
    Do you already have these servo motors in your posession? If you are just trying to pan and tilt a camera I would look for some linear motors and when you find something that mechanically suits you get back to us. Summarized, what will happen is you will use some relays to reverse the polarity to the linear motors to change direction. The relays will be controlled by your joystick.
  4. Dec 10, 2008 #3
    I was originally thinking stepper motors, but would servos work better? Linear motors sound like an interesting idea, but I'm having a hard time visualizing how they would work...
  5. Dec 11, 2008 #4
    I think you may need to look up a few definitions. A stepper motor can be a servo motor. A servo motor is defined as such by its application. Depending on how far you need to pan and tilt your camera a linear motor may or may not work. It could be configured as a rack and pinion type of thing or if you don't need to pan and tilt that far just a couple of levers. Also, look into gear motors.
  6. Dec 11, 2008 #5
    So a servo just has a feedback circuit for exact positioning, right? I don't need exact positioning like a servo would give me, I just need to be able to control the speed of the motor without losing torque. By my understanding that's what steppers allow you to do. Also, servos only rotate so far, so I would have to open it up and remove the potentiometer. Wouldn't that just give me a regular old motor?
    Gear motors I've read have a problem with slow speeds and not being able to move the same load that they can at higher speeds.
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