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actuator control with feedback

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New Member
I would really appreciate any and all advice on hardware, software, coding, online resources etc. I'm a total automation novice, I'm fairly mechanically inclined but I've never done any automation and haven't done coding since I was a kid in school ( a long time ago).

Here's what I'm trying to do:

I have a firgelli automations FA-Po-150-12-4 linear actuator with a built in potentiometer. I'm trying to build a machine where the following happens: There is a "car" that moves on a straight 15' track. Depending on where the car is on the track, the linear actuator needs to be extended to a specific length, and that length needs to change as the car travels.

For example, when the car is at, say, 6' from one end of the track, the actuator will be extended 2.2"; when the car is at 6.5' the actuator needs to be extended to 2.3" and so on. I would like to be able to dial in the actuator position so that I can control exactly where the actuator will be at a bunch of points of car travel (maybe every 6" determine a specified actuator position). Ideally I want the actuator to transition smoothly between these indexed points (so that for example, 1/3 of the way from point "A" to point "B," the actuator is 1/3 of the way between the "A" and "B" set distances).

The motor on the actuator is 12vdc. According to factory specs, the motor can draw a peak of a little over 3A. the built-in pot on the actuator is 0-10kΩ. The car has wheels, so maybe some sort or rotary encoder could measure car travel distance? Everything in the system can be wired and powered externally. I want the system to be stand-alone if possible (not wired into an external computer). To complicate everything the whole system will be exposed to water, but I expect I'll just figure out how to waterproof all components.

Thanks very much!!


A Rotary encoder on the wheel or a gear attached to the wheel would work quiet well. An optical encoder would be immune to water if the wiring itself was sealed, pretty easy to do with a hot glue gun. This project just screams micro controller. It would be relatively easy to read a rotary encoder on a micro controller, and the POT on the linear encoder could be read on an ADC port as well. You didn't specify what kind of signal drives the linear POT but whatever it is it shouldn't be too hard to generate a drive signal from the micro controller.


I use AVR's myself they're made my Atmel. The ATTINY series are low pin count devices with a lot of nice features for simpler stuff, and the Mega series are higher pin count devices with more sophisticated features for bigger stuff.

Many users here use PIC micro controllers, but if you decide to use PIC's I would recommend starting with the 18F series and not with any of the lower models.
AVRFreaks.net is a good website/forum for massive amounts of information on AVR's, I havent' been there in a while but some of the people here say they've become a littel vicious as the years have gone by. But either way you go programmers are relativly inexpensive devices are plentiful and as long as you're comfortable or learn to be comfortable programming it doesn't matter which one you chose. Most AVR vs PIC threads here tend to turn into fights =) Most people are pretty dedicated to their particular flavor of micro controller, but in the end it really doesn't matter, there's plenty of info out there on both.


New Member

I am a newcomer to this forum and have a question and need guidence :

I need a driver to run an on/off actuator as proportional actuator.I made some experiments and found that core of both actuators(consisting of thermal wax and spring)is the same and the difference in them is electronic driver(the on/off actuator doen't have such electronic driver,but proportional actuator has it),I need this electronic driver-its circuit or description about its performance-

Looking forward to hearing you,

Many thanks in advance,



Well-Known Member
Ali, start your ouwn thread.
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