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My friend Jules asks:

The aim is to get as many servo motor controls as possible - looks like the maximum an Arduino will output is 14?

Digital I/O Pins54 (of which 14 provide PWM output)

I guess then it becomes a software issue to synchronise multiple Mega boards? - ie 14 x 14 array using 14 boards

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think when you say "servo-motor", you mean the integrated radio-control-model type of "servo"s? Generally, "servo motor" means the motor used in a PID (or similar) closed-loop servo system. From the title, I thought this question was about implementing multiple simultaneous servo-control-loops on a atmega. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Aug 16 '13 at 3:49
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I would also go for same route todbot suggested. However since I am a big fan of I2C I am using SD21 servo controller which can drive 21 servos. If you need even more there is SD84 servo controller which can drive (you guessed it) 84 servos.

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If you want to drive multiple servos, the better route might be to hook a few dedicated servo controllers to a single Arduino. There are many open source examples of servo controllers out there, but you can also buy fulling built ones. For instance, here's a Polulu 8-servo controller and a Pololu 16-servo controller. Get a few of those, hook them up to any digital pins of the Arduino and use the SoftSerial library to send commands to them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The servo controllers you are recommending are out of date. The new Maestro family of servo controllers is better in every way. pololu.com/catalog/category/12 \$\endgroup\$ – ryantm Sep 30 '10 at 15:19
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I agree with the other guys, use a dedicated servo controller.

I'm in the process of building my own for my hexapod robot, see here source code and schematics available.

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Another approach is to use "digital" servos, such as OpenServo. That way you can drive a dozen or so servos using 2 Arduino pins, and a dozen or so more servos using 2 more pins.

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I use a SSC-32 Servo Controller from Lynxmotion. It uses an ATmega8 or ATmega168 and can control up to 32 servos. You can find everything (circuit diagram, firmware) to build it on their page. I built one myself and it worked fine.

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