Need help with joystick integration + stepper motor systems

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Need help with joystick integration + stepper motor systems

Postby om_tech_support_JT » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:28 am

Q: I need to use a joystick to jog my stepper motor in my medical application. I'm interested in using your high efficiency AR series with closed-loop feedback to do some precise XY positioning of a surgical tool with ballscrews. I already have my Z-axis motor. I'm in the beginning stages of my design and need to know if you recommend any particular brand of Joysticks to work with your products? I'm looking for an easy integration if possible.

A: Unfortunately, we do not provide any joysticks or joystick controllers. You basically need a converter that will convert the analog voltage output from a joystick to pulse/direction signals for a stepper driver. We used to recommend the US Digital EPOT voltage-to-quadrature or voltage-to-step/direction converter with a joystick, but the EPOT is phasing out/may be discontinued by now. Some of our customers use joystick controller + software packages from Hayden-Heim Scales. Medtronics is another brand. Some customers use Arcus Tech controller/software with a joystick from C&H Products. C&H offers a vast selection of joysticks. Many of them use a signal of 0-5VDC with 2.5VDC being the center of stroke (talking linear terms here - such as if a motor was coupled to a ballscrew or belt/pulley or rack/pinion). Some fancy joysticks even change speed according to how far the joystick is from the center, at rest position, or how much pressure the joystick senses. You'll have to set up these parameters during installation. Many of them also allow you to set a deadband so that when the joystick is at rest, it will ensure that the motor stops. If you don't set deadband, the motor may drift when the joystick is at rest. Deadband allows you to control the sensitivity of the joystick when at rest.

If you would like an easier integration between your ballscrews and our AR stepper motors, we actually offer the same Alphastep closed-loop technology (as the AR series) on our EZ LIMO linear slides and cylinders. These are preassembled ballscrews with our Alphastep stepper motors, and it comes with a dedicated integrated controller/driver. Our linear slides are designed to move a load linearly, and our linear cylinders are designed to push with a preset force. The EZS II series linear slide systems would be what I recommend for your medical/XYZ positioning application. We also provide X-Y mounting brackets for you to easily mount them together. The integrated controller/driver also provides jogging inputs (forward/reverse). The same joystick/controller that works with the AR series will work with the EZS II series if you set the integrated controller/driver to "driver mode".

If you're interested, here's the OVERVIEW section of our linear motion systems: ... index.html

PHONE: 800-468-3982
E-MAIL: [email protected]

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