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I have a 25amp Sabertooth Motor controller that can be powered by my 12v car battery. I have big 24v wheelchair motors attached to the motor controller.

I do not know how much current that the motors consume. However, I installed 20amp fuses to make sure that my motor driver does not get damaged in case of current overflow or a motor stall.

Having that said, the fuse blew out several times when I test-ran my robot. Everything works fine, except the motors consume very high current from the battery.

Can I possibly connect a resistor in series with the motor driver to make the circuit "safer" to avoid blown fuses? Will a voltage regulator help? OR does anyone have any other suggestions? (please be specific)

Thanks

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have to agree with @Andy on this one... Resistors would be a bad way to go - huge waste of power! This is the same reason you wouldn't want to regulate motor voltage. To achieve high torque, a motor will draw a lot of current, it's that simple. If those are the parts you are using, then you will have to embrace the reduced performance. I would make sure the motor produces enough torque at the lowered current to be able to do what you want it to do (that is, hold you upright and move you around). \$\endgroup\$ – Kurt E. Clothier Mar 30 '14 at 17:24
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The motors are 24V and consume more than 20A in your robot. This is a fact and it is also a fact that the motors are likely to draw more like 30A to blow the fuses in a few tens of seconds and possibly 40A if the fuse blew in a split second.

Limiting the current to the motors can be done to prevent the fuse blowing of course but you have to decide what you want: -

  • Do you want full power available from your motors or
  • Do you want significantly less than full power due to current limiting?

Be also aware that simple current limiting with a series resistor of say 1 ohm means that when the motor is taking 10A, the power dissipated in the resistor is \$I^2 R\$ or 100 watts. That's a pretty big resistor and a lot of power wasted.

A better way is PWM control of the motor so it can't exceed a certain current level. This can be achieved with just a couple of watts dissipated but again you have to decide what you need for your robot and if, in fact, you are using the wrong sort of motors for your application OR whether your sabretooth controller is not man-enough for the job.

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