Movement and Motors

Table of contents

  1. Types of Motors and Actuators
    1. In your kits you’ll find two different motors:
    2. Other types of motors for your projects
  2. Find out more

Types of Neopixel Products. Credit: Adafruit

Motors allow us to add movement to our devices. By controlling the flow of power to them we can adjust how they move (the speed, direction and a bunch of other things).

There are three main types of motor and they each work a little differently.

  • DC Motors (bottom left): Spin continuously. The only component of movement that you can control is the speed. We use PWM to adjust the speed of movement and wire to a PWM pin

  • Servos (upper left): Servos motors can be positioned exactly. We can tell the servo where we want it to move to. Typically we use a Library to hide all the complexity of these operations, and the library will let you choose a range in angles to set the position of the servo. This is normally from 0 to 180 degrees

  • Steppers (upper right): Steppers are moved in increments. Fluctuations the power sends a signal to the motor to move a tiny amount. You can’t position it exactly (i.e. move to 173 degrees) but unlike servos you can continuously rotate a stepper (go around and around). Some steppers can move backwards and forwards too.

Motors come in various shapes and sizes. Some motors will require higher power but they can do more - they have more torque (or can apply more force) to lift heavy objects etc. When using motors be sure to check the power requirements.

Types of Motors and Actuators

In your kits you’ll find two different motors:

  1. A servo - small servo that works well with 3v power supplies is included. You can control the position of the servo from 0-180 degrees.

  2. A vibration motor - a small weighted motor to create vibrations. You can control the intensity.

Other types of motors for your projects

  1. A DC hobby motor - a small low power motor that spins once powered. You can control the speed of the rotation.

  2. A DC Fan - a hobby motor but with a fan attached.

  3. Blowers - an encased fan that will really move air - great for inflatables!

  4. Pumps - basically a motor that as it turns presses down on tubing to create peristalsis and move fluids quickly.

  5. A solenoid - an actuator that contains a coil and a rod. When current is applied to the coil, this creates a magnetic field that pushes the rod forwards. This creates linear motion.

… and a lot more…

Find out more

Table of contents