breadboard basics

Hello,
I am getting started with microcontrollers and have a presumably very simple problem.
I have a constant current of 5V coming from my microcontroller*
and want to program the microcontroller to control a dc motor. Since the current for my motor is constant, I need to use a different microcontroller output to trigger the motor. How can I accomplish this? I am a professional programmer, so the coding of this is not the challenge.
Thank You for reading.
*I am using the Arduino Microcontroller, which has several digital and analog output pins.
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M P wrote:

If you don't want to cause confusion and irritation, you really need to be careful to use the correct terminology.
You have a *voltage* of 5v coming coming from one pin on your microcontroller. It isn't constant, because you can switch that voltage on and off, under software control. By varying the ratio of the time it is on to the time it is off, the average value can be varied over a very wide range. The motor speed will be determined by the average value (plus a load of other factors we need not go into now).
One way to do this in software is to set up a loop:
loop output to high delay (x) output to low delay (frame_width -x) end loop
By varying x from 0 to the value of the frame_width constant, the motor speed can be varied over a very wide range.
You can have fun setting the value of the frame_width constant - calculating the optimum value is quite complex. A good place to start for your small motor is a few mSec.
However, in general the output from a microcontroller is only capable of producing, or absorbing, a tiny amount of power - no where near enough to power a motor. However, you can buy little electronic modules, meant for use by radio control model enthusiasts, that will take your microcontrol output and drive a motor from it. That will constrain your choice of frame_width constant to that used by these units though.
You might want to consider joining a local radio control model club - they may be able to benefit from your programming skills and knowledge - you will certainly benefit from their knowledge of the practicalities of motor speed control. Including the challenges of reversing the direction of motion of the motor... If you don't join a club, the local radio control model shop may still be a very valuable resource.
--
Sue






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wrote:

Look at "buffers". The easiest is just a NPN transistor with the load in the emitter, signal to the base +5v to the collector. Plus 5 on the input gives you ~4.3v on the output. That works for most things like lights and little DC motors. Use doide protection with inductive loads. More complicated stuff, up to 240v 45a loads can be driven directly from CMOS logic with a fairly cheap Solid State Relay.
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M P wrote:

I'm wondering how much looking you did before deciding to post a microcontroller question to this group. http://groups.google.com/groups/search?q=Arduino+-ingroup:it+-ingroup:fr+-Victoria+-S-Arduino+-John-Arduino+-John-D-Arduino+-de-Arduino+-medieval+-Kegerator+-para&num 0 http://groups.google.com/groups/search?q=Arduino+Microcontroller+OR+Microcontrollers+OR+Embedded+-paraffin&num 0
I was surprized to see that http://groups.google.com/group/comp.arch.embedded/topics didn't turn up in the hits.
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JeffM wrote:

Sometimes it seems anything that works on electricity gets a post in this group. Some students in non-english speaking countries don't know many other technical words other than electricity to begin their search, and their country localized version of google doesn't have many pages.
--
Adrian C

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