USB to RC pulse controller
March 8, 2009
Hi, new to these forums and hoping someone can help me out!
I'm building a robot submarine (ROV) for fun on a pretty tight budget. The robot will have an on-board PC (in the form of a micro-ATX or nano-ATX motherboard) and will be controlled down a tether wire.
I intend to use DC brushless motors and motor controllers sourced from the Radio Control (RC) world (for price reasons). I'm a bit stuck when it comes to controlling them though. I have a couple of USB control boards, but they output analogue and PWM signals, when I really need an RC type pulse signal (such as would be generated by an RC receiver). As I see it I have two options:
1) A direct USB to RC pulse generator. Does anyone know of a board or chip solution that plugs into USB and generates RC signal pulses? I need to control at least 5 motors - up to 8 might be desireable. I've seen USB to RC servo controllers, but none designed to control an RC motor controller.
2) An analogue or PWM to RC pulse convertor that I can control from my existing USB boards. This is a less desireable solution (because it will take up more space) but right now I'll take any solution I can find!
I would also consider an alternative to the RC motor/controller route - is there any other brushless motor / controller combos that can be USB controlled and are fairly cheap to buy?
I'm not willing to consider brushed motors at the moment - they are hard to marinise (I don't want to be mucking around with shaft seals) and the brushes generate signal noise which interfers with sensors, cameras etc.
Any suggestions greatfully accepted!