What is a Servo Motor?

Servo Motor, AC Motor, Encoder

A Servo motor is a device with a take-off shaft. The shaft can be placed to special angled positions when sending the servo motor a codified signal. The servo will keep the angled position of the shaft until the codified signal occurs on the input line.

If the codified signal changes, the angled position of the shaft will change too. Practically, servos are typically used in radio guided airplanes in order to position control surfaces such as steering controls and the elevators. Servos are also applied in radio controlled robots, cars and puppets.
 
They are irreplaceable in robot technology. All motors are small, as seen from the picture above, they have built in control  scheme and they are very high-powered despite their size. The Futaba S-148, a standard servo, has 42 inches/ounces of torque, which is rather strong for its size. The servo also transfers power, that is equal to the mechanical load. Thus, a lightly loaded servo does not consume much energy. In the picture below you can see the guts of a servo motor, the control scheme, a set of gears, the motor and the cover. Here are also shown 3 wires that are connected to the outer world; one is for power (+5volts), ground, and the one, which is white, is the wire of control.
 
So what is the working principle of a servo motor? The servo has a variable resistor and control circuits. A potentiometer is connected to the take-off shaft. The pot can be viewed on the right side of the circuit board, in the picture above. This pot helps the control scheme to display the current angle of the motor. So, the motor shuts off, when the shaft is at the correct angle; but in case the circuit reveals that the angle isn’t correct, then it will turn the servo motor the correct direction until the angle is correct. The take-off shaft of the servo motor is able to travel somewhere about 180 degrees. Typically, it is somewhere around 210 degrees, however, it may vary by manufacturer. A standard servo generally controls an angled motion from 0 to 180 degrees. A standard servo cannot turn farther because of a mechanical stop built on to the output gear.
 
The power of the motor is equal to the needed distance. At this rate, if the shaft has to travel a large distance, the motor will run at the limit speed and quite the opposite if the shaft travels a small distance, the motor will run at a slower speed. This process is called proportional control.

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