I'm set on using a single Li-Po for a whole 10-servo robot, splicing the power with those Wago connectors into three step-down converters:

  1. 5V for Arduino Uno & PWM driver with 7 servos (6V would be acceptable as well for both, I believe),
  2. 6V for 2 servos for that precious torque,
  3. 7.4V for a higher range (6-8V) servo.

Setup idea

I can't quite imagine though, if the current distribution will be so convenient to just feed everything with what's needed. Cases of voltage drops and interference with Arduino seem to be mentioned frequently. I don't have the whole setup yet to see how it behaves, but even at this stage I could use some guidance on what would be the measures against potential problems. Also, how would one go about adding possible capacitors or forming the often-recommended star ground when the current could be above the capacity of a good ol' stripboard?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I would probably run EVERYTHING (not just power, signals too) to the stripboard and split it from there. Cleaner and smaller current loops. Right now you have a rat nest.Add caps between power and gnd close as possible to the loads. Current setup has no grounds between MCU and servo to minimize loop area of PWM Signals. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ The DC-DC converters on your drawing look quite similar to the usual cheap counterfeit "LM2596" modules that don't work so well at high current... can you give more info? \$\endgroup\$
    – bobflux
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @peufeu : No specific modules decided yet, but yeah, that's pretty much where I'm at with the voltage regulation. Rather mysterious products keep appearing everywhere. As I have zero experience with those, if something promises enough voltage and current, I may be easily sold. \$\endgroup\$
    – Q. Harskey
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen : That's swanky and all but whenever I'm reading about stripboards' capabilities, it doesn't seem realistic to pass serious current through those. \$\endgroup\$
    – Q. Harskey
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Q.Harskey You aren't running complex wiring on the stripboard though so you can always augment the current with larger wires on the stripboard itself. The point is to have a consolidated place for all your wiring so you can reduce loop areas rather than a bunch of dangling rat nest connections. I would also try to get a 2S battery if you can so you can omit the 7.4V regulator altogether. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


It seems like your power usage adds up. But ve aware that motors usually adds a lot of harmonics into supply lines, with that in mind some tips to keep everything running:

  • Decouple, decouple and decouple. Place a 100~200nF ceramic (smallest casing that you can) between VDD and GND as close as possible to every element on your circuit (arduino, motors, breadboard). Those will help clean fluctuations from the supply that could lead to erradic behaviour;
  • Don't shy on those power cables, they are carrying a lot of current. So use a wire gauge calculator for the amperage you gonna need and, if possible, go one tier up. That will prevent overheating and voltage drops along the lines;
  • Dc-DC converters are usually tunned for a specific current, so check the IC on the converters and the inductor they use. Go through the datasheet of the converter to check for efficiency with the current you gonna need. That is relevant because if the inductor/amperage efficiency table of the DC-DC converter points to, for example, to 80% 6V/5A gonna pull 3.125A from a 12V battery;
  • On the note above remember that batteries voltage drops along the charge state (12V li+ batteries run between 12.6V and 9V). So check if the DC-DC converter can operate in the full scale of the battery range. Check the power necessary on the worst case and adapt if necessary;
  • Place a large capacitor (can be electrolytic) close to the arduino decouple capacitor (mentioned in the first note), around 1~10uF/9V. That will work as a energy storage that can hold arduino's boot up current surge without stressing the circuit;
  • FUSE IT UP. short circuit in a battery is gonna turn your robot in a walking ball of flame. Rate a fast blow fuse or resettable one and connect it between battery and circuit.

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