Servo motors are one of the most
useful devices in any control and automation project. Unlike DC motors
they do not simply go round and round at a specified speed. Put simply,
they go “where they are told”. By that I mean you can specify to what
angle the rotor should go to with respect to the stator. It will go there
at maximum speed and it’s full torque and stay there when it gets
This makes servos very useful for positional oriented
control systems. Often they are fitted with
drives or pulleys with cords to convert
the rotational position control into a linear one.
In this guide we will be using a
MotorBee USB adaptor board to operate a
6v DC servo so that the position it goes to is interactively controlled by
a windows slider control on the PC screen.
Connecting the Servo to MotorBee
The first step is to connect the Servo to the MotorBee. This part is
surprisingly simple and uses a standard 10-way ribbon cable assembly. The
10-way IDC socket on the ribbon cable plugs into PL3. Only two cores of
the ribbon cable are needed for this connection (i.e. cores 5 and 6).
The connection arrangement is shown below
As you can see the servo uses core 5 (i.e. pin5 on PL3) for its control
signal and core 6 (pin 6 on PL3) for a ground reference. Although the
MotorBee is powered directly from its USB connection, the servo requires a
separate 6v power supply. This is connected directly to the servo (as
shown above) with the ground being common to the MotorBee.
Connecting the MotorBee to the PC
A standard USB lead is used to connect the MotorBee to a free USB port on
the PC. MotorBee does not require any special drivers for windows. These
drivers are already part of Windows (WinXP or later) and when connected for
the first time Windows will automatically configure it for use.
The servo is now ready for PC control.
Using MotorWay Software
MotorBee is supplied with MotorWay software, which is designed to do much
more than just control a servo, but for our purposes we will focus on its
servo control part. Installation of the software is very straightforward
requiring only a click of the “Next” button on a few pages to install the
software into its default directory etc..
When you run MotorWay you will be presented with a control screen as shown
Servo Slider Control
There are five vertical slider controls on this screen. Four are for DC
motor control and the fifth is for control of an attached servo. The one
on the far right is all we need to use.
Simply move this slider up and down and the servo will respond by moving
over its full range of travel.